Andrew Luck’s record-setting rookie performance on Sunday kept the Miami Dolphins from staying in the driver’s seat of the AFC wild card race. The Colts received an inspiring speech from their Head Coach Chuck Pagano after the game, to go along with the inspiring showing that Luck delivered on the field.
Luck threw for 433 yards (rookie record), 2 touchdowns, and avoided the costly mistake against the Dolphins top 5-ranked defense. To put Luck’s and the Colts' offensive performance in perspective, the Dolphins had only given over 20 points in regulation once this year in 7 games. (Texans in week 1.)
All year long, the Dolphins have had one of the top ranked 3rd down defenses in the league, yet on Sunday they allowed Luck and the Colts to go 13 for 19 on 3rd down. According to Miami coach Joe Philbin after the game, "When you have the No. 1 defense on third down, and when a team converts 69 percent of the time on third down, it's a different feel". They just couldn’t get the Colts offense off the field. This caused the Colts to dominate the time of possession (35 minutes to 25 minutes) and keep the Dolphins offense on the sidelines.
Now, while Luck was superb, a lot of the credit also goes to the Colts offensive line as well, who were able to keep Luck upright (only 1 sack) against a team that had been averaging just over 3 sacks a game. In the end, it was a disappointing performance for the Dolphins defense, which just couldn’t create enough pressure, force any bad decisions, or get off the field on 3rd down.
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With that being said, the Dolphins offense was just as disappointing as their defense, who only managed 3 points in the second half against the Colts defense which has been one of the worst defenses in the league to this point. Rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill was solid (290 yards and no turnovers), despite his nagging knee injury, but the offense came up one-yard short on a 4th and 15 with just over a minute remaining in regulation.
While this loss will certainly sting for the Dolphins, they do get to go home and face a struggling Titans team to try and get back on track. When they do so, they will be looking to get their disrupting defense back on track and will be hoping for a little more luck, or maybe I should say a little less “Luck”.