Week 8 was a huge one for Indianapolis Colts quarterback Sam Ehlinger. The 2021 sixth-round pick out of Texas was making his first career start in place of veteran Matt Ryan, who injured his shoulder in the team’s Week 7 game against the Tennessee Titans but was going to be removed from the lineup in favor of Ehlinger anyway.
Ehlinger was excellent in the preseason this year and the Colts were hoping that some of that success would carry over into the regular season. He possesses some dual-threat ability and was facing off with the Washington Commanders in his first game.
This was a game some people had circled on their calendars coming into the season as it would have been former Colts’ starter Carson Wentz facing off against his old team. However, like Ryan, Wentz was not in the lineup because of an injury.
That left Ehlinger matched up with Taylor Heinicke and he did everything to put the Colts in a position to win the game. Indianapolis was winning 16-10 with 2:47 before Heinicke led the Commanders down the field for a game-winning touchdown drive.
It was a solid enough debut for Ehlinger, who completed 17-of-23 passes for 203 yards, taking two sacks and losing one fumble. While he had the Colts in a position to win, he was disappointed in the outcome because he knows a win was there for the taking in his debut.
“I thought as an offense we had a lot of opportunities,” Ehlinger said, via the team’s website. “We just shot ourselves in the foot. We got down on the other side of the 50 multiple times and didn’t come away with points — two turnovers. We came down to the inch-yard line and came away with three points. That’s not good enough in this league.”
The Colts’ inability to secure the ball once they were closing in on scoring territory or punch the ball in when they got into the red zone came back to bite them in the one-point loss. Despite that, there were certainly some positives to take away from Sam Ehlinger’s first career start.
There is something for Indianapolis to build off of after this game, but the entire team is certainly disappointed knowing they let a victory slip through their fingers.