Indianapolis Colts team owner Jim Irsay was looking to do something to spark his losing team. He made a quarterback switch, fired offensive coordinator Marcus Brady and fired head coach Frank Reich. Irsay then made his boldest move in hiring former center Jeff Saturday to serve as interim head coach. The decision worked out -- at least for this week -- as the Colts defeated the Las Vegas Raiders, 25-20.
The Colts put Matt Ryan back in the starting lineup this week and benched Sam Ehlinger. The veteran completed 21 of 28 passes for 222 yards and one touchdown. Colts star running back Jonathan Taylor had one of his best performances of the season, as he rushed 22 times for 147 yards and one touchdown. The Colts and Raiders traded touchdowns all game, but Indy's defense came up with a goal-line stand with under a minute left in the final quarter, as Stephon Gilmore broke up a Derek Carr pass intended for Davante Adams.
The former DPOY @BumpNrunGilm0re makes the play on 4th down! #INDvsLV pic.twitter.com/iqEloFaSHD— NFL (@NFL) November 14, 2022
Saturday was the first head coach hired without any coaching experience in the NFL, CFL or college football since Norm Van Brocklin was hired by the Minnesota Vikings in 1961. Minnesota was an expansion team, and Van Brocklin had won MVP with the Philadelphia Eagles the previous season. Like Saturday, Van Brocklin also won his first NFL game.
The Saturday hire was obviously a decision that raised eyebrows from virtually everyone, with Hall of Fame coach Bill Cowher calling the move "a disgrace to the coaching profession." Saturday had never coached above the high school level. Previously, the six-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro served as a high school head coach for Hebron Christian Academy (Dacula, GA) for three seasons from 2017-19.
Saturday wants to coach in the big leagues, and even said that the remainder of this regular season will serve as his audition tape -- not only to the Colts --but also to the other 31 NFL teams as well. It still remains to be seen if this experiment will work out, but Saturday was successful in his first action as lead man.