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Five Things Learned

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5 Things Learned, Colts vs. Giants Week 17

The Colts lost to the New York Giants, 38-10, to fall to 4-11-1 on the season. Here are five things we learned Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium. 

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1. Nick Foles left the game with a rib injury, and will not play in Week 18.

Foles sustained a rib injury in the second quarter when Giants rookie defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux sacked him on a third down. The injury will keep Foles out for the Colts' season finale against the Houston Texans, and Sam Ehlinger will start with Matt Ryan backing him up on Sunday, interim head coach Jeff Saturday said.

In two starts this season, Foles completed 25 of 42 passes for 224 yards with no touchdowns and four interceptions.

2. Sam Ehlinger impressed his teammates after tagging in for Foles.

Ehlinger completed nine of 14 passes for 60 yards and threw his first career touchdown after replacing the injured Foles at halftime. He also scrambled once for 12 yards, and impressed his coaches and teammates with the poise he had after entering the game.

"I thought he did a great job coming in there just being poised," center Ryan Kelly said. "It's such a tough role to come in there off the sideline being cold like that, I thought he did a great job."

Ehlinger will make his third start of the 2022 season on Sunday against the Texans, and will look to build on a season in which he's completed 41 of 66 passes for 364 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also has 12 rushes for 66 yards.

"Sam can extend plays — we've seen him on the read option out there just being able to get yards with his legs," wide receiver Parris Campbell said. "But one thing about him is he's smart as well, so being able to step in there and not have to change our game plan — he studied the game plan as if he were starting. So him being locked in and focused, he's a true professional."

The Colts take on the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.

3. Parris Campbell's 49-yard catch was a highlight.

Facing a third and eight at his own 37-yard line, Foles heaved a deep ball toward Campbell, who boxed out and elevated over two Giants defenders to come down with the pass for a gain of 49 yards.

That 49-yard gain is the longest pass play for the Colts in 2022, and is the second-longest play of the season behind running back Jonathan Taylor's 66-yard touchdown in Week 10 against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Campbell now has 55 catches for 581 yards; just as important as his production has been his durability. Campbell's played in all 16 of the Colts' games this season and has played more than 75 percent of the team's offensive snaps in 15 of 16 games this season.

"(The deep ball's) a credit to Nick, him giving me an opportunity to go make plays," Campbell said. "He knows and believes and trusts in me, obviously he just launched that one up there. And once I saw that in the air, it was all about the want-to — want to make a play for the team, want to make a play for myself and just give us a spark."

4. There were a couple of other individual performances to highlight on Sunday, too.

On offense: Rookie left tackle Bernhard Raimann earned his highest Pro Football Focus pass block grade (86.8) of his debut season, and allowed just one pressure on 31 pass-blocking snaps, per PFF. His steady growth against some of the NFL's best, most experienced, most talented pass rushers has been impressive, and he'll look to finish the season strong against the Texans this weekend.

On defense: Linebacker Bobby Okereke racked up 17 tackles and forced a fumble. He had two tackles for a loss, too, and one of them was impressive – he diagnosed a screen to running back Saquon Barkley and speedily shot into the backfield to blow up the play for a loss of three yards. Those 17 tackles are the most a Colts player has had in a game since Anthony Walker hit that mark in Week 17 of the 2019 season.

5. Sunday's game was emotional for Zaire Franklin.

Franklin was a junior at Syracuse when the Orange faced Notre Dame at MetLife Stadium in 2016. He picked off Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer and had a sack in that game; when he took the field for pre-game warmups on Sunday, he reflected on the journey that brought him there again.

"That was really the first time I thought to myself, 'maybe I could be here,'" Franklin said. "Just fast forward, all the decisions that I've made and all the sacrifices I made just to be back here in a seminal moment, playing in an NFL game, possibly able to break a franchise record on the line. It was just overwhelming. I felt extremely blessed, extremely thankful to be here. It always ties back into why we play the game because we put so much into it and it's the love of the game."

Franklin said he started crying on the field – and crying so hard he lost a contact (he put in a replacement after warm-ups). While the result of Sunday's game, and the results of the 2022 season, are not what Franklin and the Colts hoped they'd be, the fifth-year linebacker has had a remarkable year. He had 10 tackles against the Giants, bringing his season total to 160 – four shy of setting a new franchise record for most tackles in a season.

"As much as the team's success hurts, and that's what really what matters at the end of the day, you gotta take that step back and celebrate yourself, because if you don't nobody else will," Franklin said. "I'm gonna still smell my flowers and be thankful for myself, because that's the only way I'm going to be able to build on it. If you constantly ignore your accomplishments, you'll never end up achieving nothing because you'll always feel downtrodden. You'll always feel like oh, I'm not doing anything. That's something I learned last year is giving yourself grace. You gotta give yourself grace, give the situation grace and have something to build on."

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