Early on, the Miami Dolphins appeared to have figured something out during their bye week.
In Ryan Tannehill’s first game since week 5 in Cincinnati, the Dolphins scored 3 touchdowns and seemed to change their fortunes with an opening drive score for a touchdown pass to Kenyan Drake.
In fact, by the Dolphins starting the game on a tear offensively, the Dolphins overall seemed they could do no wrong today.
Passes to Drake early (33 yard screen pass) and a 74 yard heave to Leonte Carroo for a TD-set the tone to grab the lead 14-7.
However, when one record (30 straight drives without an opening TD) was broken, another reared it’s ugly head-getting a road win in the Adam Gase era.
If one looks back at the last win on the road, it was at the Met Life Stadium and it was a 20-12 win over a rookie quarterback in Sam Darnold of the Jets.
Looking way back, wasn’t it the win versus the Falcons late in the game and sealed by a Reshad Jones INT?
However, today, the air was different inside the often air-conditioned Lucas Oil Stadium and with the home crowd roaring, the Colts came to play.
The game had a fever pitch of a playoff game, being billed as two playoff contenders with identical records, but only one with team with a record of actually winning in the playoffs Andrew Luck.
Despite of all of Tannehill’s heroics, his balky knee showed up late in the game as he worked to get out of the pocket and make plays. Early on, he looked comfortable behind a patch work interior line and two tackles that could probably be considered for a Pro Bowl on another team.
Tannehill dazzled early going 12 for 15 with two touchdown passes and seemed to manage the game getting the Colts to jump offsides twice.
The second half however tied 14 to 14 seemed to be a tale of two quarters.
Tannehill’s final scoring drives: 10 points.
On the opposing sideline: Captain Andrew Luck, much like his moniker and persona on Twitter, swam with the Dolphin-men and managed to keep charging getting first down after first down.
It’s clear that GM Ballard of the Colts invested in trusty wideouts and played the short game with the Dolphins defense surrendering a 5 yard cushion, the Colts countered with speedy T.Y. Hilton.
Hilton may not have scored a bunch of touchdowns, but it’s in between the 20s where he did the most damage in yards after the catch and taking his 7 catches for 125 and turning upfield.
Good teams also have outlets-tight end Eric Ebron became the fantasy football darling two weeks ago and followed up that performance with another one: 5 catches for 45 yards and two red zone touchdowns.
The difference in the game was coaching and clock management.
On the coaching side, burning a timeout early in the third quarter on a drive that resulted in a field goal was just ugly. It’s also inexcusable. In hindsight, maybe the Colts make a FG with 34 seconds leaving the Dolphins time to come back. Maybe not.
In addition, another coaching mistake boils right down to the double block on the Dolphins kick return inside the 5 yard line.
With the penalty by Xavien Howard who arrived late and ended up knocking out Ebron after securing the catch, that was seemingly a ticky-tack call.
Nevertheless, the better team won.
The Colts won because they played the short game and executed when it mattered.
For Adam Gase and his task of leading the Miami Dolphins, questions will be asked, fingers will be pointed because you just can’t lose football games. Period.
QB: Ryan Tannehill: 17/25, 205 yards passing, 2 TD
Frank Gore: 14 carries for 67 yards, 4.8 yards per carry
Kenyan Drake: 5 receptions, 64 yards, 1 TD rushing (14 yards) 1 TD receiving (33 yards).
T.J. McDonald: 11 total tackles