Who is Sam Ehlinger? Meet the Colts' new starting QB


The quarterback carousel continues to spin in Indianapolis.

After stumbling out to a 3-3-1 start, the Colts made a stunning quarterback change ahead of Week 8.

Indy sent 2016 NFL MVP Matt Ryan to the bench, just seven games after surrendering a Day 2 draft pick to acquire him from the Atlanta Falcons. And taking the reins from the quarterback who's seventh on the all-time passing yards list is a second-year pro with almost no NFL experience in Sam Ehlinger.

So before the Ehlinger era begins against the Washington Commanders on Sunday, here's what to know about Indy's new starting quarterback.

Why did the Colts bench Matt Ryan?

The QB switch came on the heels of Indianapolis' 19-10 loss to the division rival Tennessee Titans in Week 7. Ryan was 33 of 44 passing for 243 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in the road defeat. The performance brought the QB's season stats to 2,008 yards passing with nine touchdowns and a 68.4 completion percentage.

The glaring numbers, though, are Ryan's nine interceptions (most in the NFL), his 24 sacks taken (second-most in the NFL) and Indianapolis' 16.1 points per game average (third-worst in the NFL). While Indy's offensive struggles obviously aren't all Ryan's fault -- the Colts also rank 30th in rushing yards per game -- the team felt it was time for a change.

So Colts head coach Frank Reich announced on Oct. 24 that Ehlinger would take over full-time for Ryan, who's dealing with a separated shoulder. Reich said he would have made the move regardless of Ryan's health status.

"Right now the move is for Sam to be the starter for the rest of the season," Reich said.

Where did Sam Ehlinger go to college?

A native of Austin, Texas, Ehlinger stayed home to play for the Longhorns in college.

The 6-foot-3 signal caller made 43 starts and 46 total appearances during his four seasons at the University of Texas. Ehlinger racked up 1,476 yards and 94 touchdowns through the air with a completion percentage of 62.5. He was also a threat on the ground, rushing 554 times for 1,903 yards and 33 touchdowns.

With Ehlinger under center, the Longhorns made it to the 2018 Big 12 Championship Game and won four bowl games.

When was Sam Ehlinger drafted?

The Colts selected Ehlinger in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Ehlinger was the 10th and final signal caller drafted in 2021 behind Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, Justin Fields, Mac Jones, Kyle Trask, Kellen Mond, Davis Mills and Ian Book.

What are Sam Ehlinger's NFL stats?

Not only will Ehlinger be making his first NFL start Sunday, but he'll also be attempting the first passes of his pro career. Across his three prior NFL appearances, all of which came last season, Ehlinger tallied three rushes for nine yards without throwing a single pass.

In three 2022 preseason games, Ehlinger was an efficient 24 of 29 passing for 289 yards and four touchdowns. He ran the ball six times for 71 yards and a touchdown, including a 45-yard dash to the end zone versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

How old is Sam Ehlinger?

Ehlinger's first NFL start will come exactly one month after he turned 24 years old.

What is Sam Ehlinger's contract?

Ehlinger has a base salary of $825K this season, according to Spotrac. He's under contract with the Colts for two more seasons beyond this one.

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