Sunday Sam? Ehlinger in line to start for Colts after Wentz goes on COVID-19 list

NFL

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Sam Ehlinger (4) laterals the ball to running back Benny LeMay (42) after being tackled by Detroit Lions defensive tackle Jashon Cornell during the second half of a preseason NFL football game, Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — It could be Sam’s time to shine Sunday.

With Colts starting quarterback Carson Wentz going on the NFL’s COVID-19/reserve list Tuesday, that paves the way for former Texas Longhorns quarterback Sam Ehlinger to not only make his first NFL start but try to keep the team on track for a playoff berth.

It’s not a guarantee that Ehlinger starts Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders — he’s just the next man on the depth chart. Ehlinger has played in three games this season but hasn’t thrown a pass. He’s carried the ball three times for nine yards total in games against the Texans, Bills and Jets.

Theoretically, the Colts could sign another veteran free-agent quarterback to help fill in (think recently retired Philip Rivers), or just let Ehlinger go but place the bulk of the offense on the NFL’s leading rusher, Jonathan Taylor. Quarterbacks Brett Hundley and James Morgan are on the Colts’ practice squad.

The Colts are currently 9-6 and in second place in the AFC South, a game behind the Titans for the division lead. If the season ended right now they’d make the playoffs as a wild card team seeded No. 5, a Week 17 loss to the Raiders would complicate the road to the playoffs.

The Colts beat one of the best teams in the league, Arizona, 22-16 last week.

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