INDIANAPOLIS – When the Indianapolis Colts take on the Miami Dolphins Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium, they will do so without the services of Jacoby Brissett.
The team announced Saturday afternoon that their starting quarterback had been downgraded from questionable to out due to a sprained MCL (left knee) he suffered early in the second quarter of last week’s 26-24 loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In his stead, backup Brian Hoyer will start his first game as a member of the Colts, and for the first time since 2017. In a corresponding move, the Colts also promoted quarterback Chad Kelly from the practice squad. He will serve as Hoyer’s backup on Sunday against the 1-7 Dolphins.
Coach Frank Reich and the Colts had expressed optimism all week that Brissett would be able to take the field Sunday. He was a limited participant during all three days of practice this week and appeared on track to take his place under center.
On Friday, however, Reich began to hedge against the optimism. He said that if Brissett did play Sunday, it would definitely not be at full strength.
“Ultimately, we’ve got to take the long view, but at the same time we realize this is a critically important game as well,” Reich said. “At the end of the day, we’ve got to make the right decision for him and for the team. I’m encouraged at some of the progress that he’s made. Will he be 100 percent? I don’t think there’s any way he’s 100 percent by Sunday.”
Hoyer played well in a pinch last week in Pittsburgh, throwing for 168 yards and three touchdowns along with an interception in the better part of three quarters during the Colts’ mistake-laden loss.
Hoyer’s last start came in 2017 as a member of the San Francisco 49ers. Coincidentally, the game came against Indianapolis in a 26-24 Colts victory. In that game, Hoyer threw for 353 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.
With Brissett ruled out, Kelly was promoted from the practice squad to serve as Hoyer’s backup. Kelly served as a backup quarterback for the Denver Broncos last season but has never thrown a pass during a regular-season NFL game.
Follow IndyStar Colts Insider Jim Ayello on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram: @jimayello.