NFL

Colts fire HC Frank Reich, bring in former center Jeff Saturday as interim

Nov 7, 2022, 11:50 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Frank Reich kept trying to fix the Indianapolis Colts’ sputtering offense.

When nothing worked, it cost him his job.

Less than one day after one of the worst offensive performances in franchise history, the Colts announced Monday they fired Reich after 4 1/2 seasons. Team officials are expected to address the decision later Monday.

It’s the third consecutive week, Indy (3-5-1) has made a major move.

Two weeks ago, Reich benched longtime NFL veteran and 2016 league MVP Matt Ryan in favor of second-year quarterback Sam Ehlinger.

Last week, Reich fired offensive coordinator Marcus Brady and general manager Chris Ballard dealt running back Nyheim Hines to Buffalo.

Still, Reich continued calling the plays and team owner Jim Irsay decided to pull the plug following an ugly 26-3 loss at New England on Sunday. The Colts finished with 121 total yards and 43 net passing yards, the lowest totals by any Colts team since 1997 against Seattle.

They went 0 for 14 on third downs, just the second time on record their conversion rate was 0.0%. They allowed nine sacks, the highest single-game total since October 2017, and only the second time they allowed that many since 1981.

But it wasn’t just one game, either.

Indy has zero points on its opening possession this season and is the league’s only team to enter the fourth quarter trailing in every game in 2022. The result is a league-low 14.1 points per game. And with three straight losses, the Colts playoff hopes are dwindling, too.

The growing pressure was evident on Reich’s face in recent weeks and in his shorter and quieter answers as the woes continued. Even in the locker room, where Reich was respected and well liked, players seemed uneasy with the rapid midseason changes.

Still, the players continued to express trust in Reich and Ballard making the right calls.

Reich was hired in 2018 after serving as offensive coordinator for the Super Bowl-winning Philadelphia Eagles — and after Josh McDaniels backed out of an agreement to coach Indy. Strangely, the Colts will face McDaniels in Las Vegas on Sunday.

Reich took the Colts to the playoffs in two of his first four seasons and had them on the cusp of making it last season. But two inexplicable losses to close the season behind quarterback Carson Wentz, whom Reich lobbed to acquire in a trade, kept Indy out of the postseason.

Indy traded Wentz to Washington in March then acquired Ryan in a subsequent trade with Atlanta.

Reich also coached previously with the Arizona Cardinals and the then-San Diego Chargers after starting his coaching career working for the Colts and with Peyton Manning.

The longtime backup quarterback with the Buffalo Bills finished his first head coaching job with a 40-33-1 record. Reich is the second coach to be fired this season, joining Matt Ruhle of Carolina.

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