Entering the Week 6 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, it was understood that Gardner Minshew would be the starting quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts for a while. With Anthony Richardson currently on IR, Minshew is expected to start for at least four games; it’s also possible that Richardson could be sidelined for the remainder of the season.
While no one wants that, there was a sense of comfort knowing that Minshew would be the quarterback stepping in. Minshew had been great all year, and is considered one of the better backups quarterbacks in the league. Unfortunately, that comfort evaporated after Minshew’s poor performance on Sunday.
The Colts suffered an embarrassing 37-20 loss to the Jaguars, and Minshew struggled mightily in the game. He completed 33-of-55 passes for one touchdown and three interceptions. Minshew was also sacked three times and lost a fumble.
During the game, ESPN’s Stephen Holder highlighted something interesting: in both games that Minshew entered the game week as the starter, he struggled.
Gardner Minshew has struggled as a starter for Colts
Minshew has played in all but one game this season. Of those five games, Minshew started two, and came in after Richardson was injured in the other three. In Week 1, Minshew played just three snaps, but they came at the end of the game once the outcome was already determined. Let’s take a look at his other outings.
In Week 2, after coming in for Richardson in the second quarter, Minshew completed 19-of-23 passes for 171 yards and one touchdown, and the Colts won. In Week 5, against the Tennessee Titans, Minshew was called on again mid game. He completed 11-of-14 passes for 155 yards, and Indy won 23-16.
Now let’s look at the games Minshew started. In Week 3, against the Baltimore Ravens, Minshew completed 27-of-44 passes for 227 yards and one touchdown. It was an ugly game, but the Colts won, thanks to the leg of Matt Gay. The other start was on Sunday, against Jacksonville, and we already talked about how poorly things went.
Could this be a trend or just a coincidence that really has more to do with opponents? There is a lot of talk in sports about actually being able to prepare for an opponent, and Indy’s offense is much different with Minshew at QB than when Richardson is taking the snaps. It’s very possible that opposing defenses are able to implement the necessary game plan to stop a Gardner Minshew-led offense.
If this is the case, the Colts and Shane Steichen will need to figure something out fast, or this season will quickly slip away.