Frank Reich’s inability to find the right quarterback led to his downfall with Colts

Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich became the second NFL head coach fired this season. The Colts made the decision on Monday morning, per multiple reports. Reich was in his fifth season as the Colts’ head coach, compiling a 40-33-1 regular-season record, and 1-2 in the postseason.

On Sunday, the Colts lost 26-3 to the New England Patriots. New England’s defense demolished Indy’s sub-par offensive line for nine sacks, quarterback Sam Ehlinger completed 15 of 29 passes for 103 yards and an interception, and the Colts amassed just 78 yards on 22 carries. That put the Colts’ record at 3-5-1 on the season.

That Ehlinger, s second-year developmental quarterback, was starting this game in the first place strikes at the heart of what was so problematic for Reich in his time with the Colts — the inability to get the right franchise quarterback in the wake of Andrew Luck’s bombshell retirement after the 2018 season. Reich and his staff were left with Jacoby Brissett as an emergency option in 2019, and nobody could have blamed Reich for that, but none of his quarterback preferences worked out from there.

The Colts tried to work with Philip Rivers about three years too late in 2020. Then, the misshapen reunion with Carson Wentz, who worked with Reich in Philadelphia. Then, the decision to trade for Matt Ryan in 2022 — as it turned out, Ryan was on the Rivers three-years-too-late plan, and Ryan was recently benched in favor of Ehlinger.

It’s a common and correct axiom in the NFL that if you can’t hit on the right quarterback for your franchise, little else matters. This was true in the case of the Colts, and Reich found that out the hard way on Monday.

Story originally appeared on Touchdown Wire