Yesterday, the 1-0 Indianapolis Colts hosted the 1-0 Miami Dolphins in which both teams had high post season aspirations. This is the 2nd time in as many years that the Colts and Dolphins had squared off with the Colts winning their first matchup. This time around however, Miami came into town with a far superior team than their 2012 incarnation due to them making a splash in free agency picking up players such as Mike Wallace, Brent Grimes, and Danelle Ellerbe. The Colts would wind up losing a closely contested game against a team that is very well on the rise in the Miami Dolphins. Andrew Luck again attempted to rally the troops for his 9th comeback victory of his career but fell short.
- Indianapolis’ running game didn’t miss a beat even though Vick Ballard went on IR due to tearing his ACL. The Colts ran for 133 yards on 26 carries. The Colts leading rusher was Ahmad Bradshaw who showed signs of his former New York Giants self with 15 carries for 65 yards and a score. He showed no signs of injury to his foot and still has that short burst of speed to make small gains into considerable ones. It’s a step in the right direction for the Colts running game to be putting up these numbers against a team that was known as a run stopper.
- T.Y Hilton made some incredible plays throughout the game especially when he was defended by Pro Bowler Brent Grimes. His 124 yards on 6 catches were a career best as the Dolphins had no answer for Hilton.
- Coby Fleener had the best game of his young career. I had said that Coby Fleener was due for a breakout game with Dwayne Allen being injured with a hip injury. It’s good to see Fleener have this big of a game as his career up to this point had been anything but great. If Fleener continues to improve, Andrew Luck will then have two reliable options in the tight end position.
- The Colts sacked Ryan Tannehill four times and forced a fumble in the process. It was a breath of fresh air to see the Colts get to the quarterback for a change versus what we saw last week against Oakland. However, stat padding was only a smokescreen because….
- … Other than those four sacks, the Colts could not get a consistent pass rush on Ryan Tannehill as he stayed in the pocket and picked the Colts apart. It’s very difficult to win a football game when the opposing quarterback goes 23/34 for 319 and a TD. Other than Tannehill’s fumble, he made passes with precision and poise on a consistent level throughout the game.
- The offensive line allowed three sacks, which was better than last week’s four, but gave up two sacks during the potential comeback drive late in the first quarter. In the 4th quarter, there were numerous times the pocket collapsed in which Luck had to scramble for some yardage. However, the bad outweighed the good as on 4th down, Luck was sacked on the Miami 23. This is the first time I could think of that Luck got sacked during a potential 4th quarter comeback drive.
- There was no answer to Mike Wallace as he had his best game as a Miami Dolphin with 9 receptions for 115 yards and a TD. Greg Toler was matched up with him most of the game but couldn’t stop him.
- Andrew Luck wasn’t at the top of his game yesterday. Several passes he made were very likely to be intercepted but the Dolphins defensive players were unable to catch them. Luck also threw a late game interception in the endzone to Brent Grimes which was intended for Reggie Wayne. It seemed more of a desperation attempt as Brent Grimes was all over Reggie and picked the ball off with ease.
- Donald Thomas left the game in the first quarter due to a quadriceps injury which turned out to be a torn quad. He will be out for the season and 2nd round pick Hugh Thornton will take over left guard duties.
- Darrius Heyward-Bey suffered injuries to his ribs and should be undergoing an MRI sometime this week.
- After Ryan Tannehill’s fumble in the beginning of the third quarter. The Colts drove down the field throwing two passes to TE Dominique Jones. After the second catch, Luck ran it into the endzone on a QB sneak. However, the Dolphins challenged the second catch and it was rules that it was in fact, not a catch. The Colts on the next play would score a TD via a pass from Luck to Fleener but was again called back due to an illegal shift from the Colts offense. The Colts would settle for a field goal and wouldn’t score again for the remainder of the game. This could have very well ruined the tempo of the offense as they were rolling in the first half after coming back from a 14-3 deficit.
Losses are always difficult to swallow in the NFL, especially losses in close games like this one. Remember, this team is still growing before our very eyes and cannot win every close game that falls onto Andrew Luck’s lap. Sometimes, like today, the magic was just not there. With the talent that Luck has, the magic will be there more times than not.
Things don’t get easier for the Colts because next week, they travel to Candlestick Park to take on the defending NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers. This game should be the game of the week as it is slated to be an afternoon game in which the storyline will be Andrew Luck taking on his former college coach at Stanford, Jim Harbaugh.