The Indianapolis Colts have made a major move, as team owner Jim Irsay announced Monday that they had fired head coach Frank Reich. The Colts sit in second place in the AFC South with a 3-5-1 record. The final nail in the coffin for Reich was Sunday's 26-3 loss to the New England Patriots, as Irsay had apparently seen enough.
Reich went 40-33-1 as Colts head coach in his four and a half seasons. He finished second in the division three times, and went 1-2 in the postseason. The Colts tried nearly everything to spark the team this season. They benched quarterback Matt Ryan for Sam Ehlinger and fired offensive coordinator Marcus Brady less than a week ago. Still, the team struggled.
In an unexpected move, the Colts announced that they had hired former center Jeff Saturday as interim head coach. A franchise legend, Saturday played 13 seasons in Indy, and was a six-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro. He was also a member of the Super Bowl XLI team. After retiring following the 2012 season, Saturday joined ESPN as an analyst.
The Colts have the sixth-worst offense in the league (315.1 yards of total offense per game), and the third-worst rushing offense (86.7 rushing yards per game) despite finishing last season with the second-best rushing offense. Indianapolis also averages the fewest points per game in the NFL this season with 14.7.
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In Sunday's loss to the Patriots, the Colts went an astounding 0 of 14 on third downs, and 0 of 2 on fourth downs. Only three teams had gone 0 of 14 on third downs in a single game since 1991. Ehlinger threw for just 103 yards and a pick six, while the Colts rushed for just 78 yards.
Just over a week ago, Irsay said that he was giving no thought to firing Reich or Colts general manager Chris Ballard.
"I'm in a great spot with Chris and Frank," Irsay said, via ESPN. "We're all re-energized with the move to Sam Ehlinger. Nothing is easy but feel really good."
Reich, 60, a former NFL quarterback, was the Philadelphia Eagles' offensive coordinator during the team's Super Bowl run and took over as the Colts' head coach for Chuck Pagano. But Andrew Luck's shocking retirement in August 2019 created a revolving door at quarterback ever since.
Reich was hired to be the Colts' head coach on Feb. 11, 2018 -- just five days after Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels left the team at the altar. The Colts had announced McDaniels as their new coach, but hours later he changed his mind and decided to stay in New England. Interestingly enough, the Colts are scheduled to play McDaniels' Las Vegas Raiders this week, the first time they'll face him as a head coach since the fiasco.
Reich is the second NFL head coach to be fired this season. Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule was relieved of his duties last month.