FOXBOROUGH – Few NFL head coaches have terrorized young quarterbacks over the past two and a half decades moreso than the Patriots’ Bill Belichick. He’s 25-6 overall — including a perfect 14-0 inside Gillette Stadium — against rookie quarterbacks.
The Colts’ Sam Ehlinger, to be fair, is not a rookie, but will make just his second NFL start Sunday afternoon in Foxborough. He enters the matchup well aware that those who have gone before him have not fared so well.
“You want to get your first win,” says Ehlinger, “and I’m really looking forward to playing against coach Belichick and the Patriots. There’s no one who’s done it better. They always present a challenge defensively.”
The specific challenge the Pats present — the one that seems to throw off so many young QBs — is that what they game plan for one week may be completely absent from what they show the next.
“They have a good scheme,” explains Colts head coach Frank Reich. “They’re very game-week oriented. They’re going to have a certain way that they’re going to do things and we go in with a plan, but always against a Belichick team, you have to be ready to adapt.”
You can say plenty about the 3-4-1 Colts this year, but you can not say they are afraid to adapt. With trading running back Nyheim Hines, firing offensive coordinator Marcus Brady, and benching quarterback Matt Ryan in favor of Ehlinger all in the past 14 days, we’ll see if that change produces dividends Sunday afternoon.
The Colts have lost six in a row in New England, their last win coming in 2006. Overall, the Horseshoes are 5-24 on the road against the Pats since the franchise moved to Indianapolis in 1984.