By Abraham Gutierrez
The nomadic start to the 2013 NFL season continues for the Miami Dolphins, as the Fins travel to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, to take on Andrew Luck and the ever-improving Colts in Week 2.
Opening kickoff for this battle of unbeaten teams is slated for Sunday at 1:05 p.m. ET live on CBS-4 (Miami).
Not A Perfect Start
Although both teams come into this early season meeting unscathed, their debuts were anything but perfect.
In Week 1, Miami went into Cleveland and defeated the Browns, 23-10, while Indy held off Terrelle Pryor and the Raiders, 21-17, in its home opener.
The two things that should immediately stand out from those results are the words “Raiders” and “Browns.”
Not only are they – in most NFL experts’ 2013 projections – two of the worst teams in the league, but playing down to the level of the competition is a characteristic that both coaches will pay close attention to as the season wears on.
For the Colts, last year’s success has risen the level of expectations in the “Crossroads of America.” Thus, Chuck Pagano and his staff will have their work cut out as they prepare for the challenges the Dolphins will bring to the table Sunday afternoon.
Colts on Offense
In spite of Pep Hamilton’s efforts to segregate, rename and/or distance his offensive philosophy, he essentially brings a “West Coast” offensive scheme to Indianapolis.
While some have referred to it as a “No Coast” and others have categorized it as a “Run-First,” the truth is everyone can agree on one thing: Hamilton’s offense needs plenty of work.
The former Stanford OC comes in with big shoes to fill, as he replaces NFL Coach of the Year, Bruce Arians (Arizona Cardinals’ HC). However, his 2013 debut didn’t go the way he envisioned it coming out of training camp.
Despite being reunited with Luck, the Colts offense appeared stagnant and was simply ineffective at times (274 yards of total offense).
The run-first approach translated to just 89 yards from the HBs – Vick Ballard 63 yards on 13 carries, Ahmad Bradshaw 26 yards on 7 carries – despite going up against one of the worst run defenses from a year ago.
In fact, if it weren’t for the late-game heroics of the former Cardinal quarterback, Indianapolis could’ve easily gotten off to a 0-1 start. Luck completed 18-of-23 passes for 178 yards and two scores, and was one of the few bright spots offensively.
Colts on Defense
If Hamilton’s offense had a rough day, Colts DC Greg Manusky and his staff might want to think about updating their resumes with another showing like the one against Oakland.
Not only did Pryor expose this defensive line and its lack of conditioning, but breakdowns and missed assignments in the secondary should have cost them the game.
Manusky, who employs a hybrid form of the 3-4, couldn’t contain the Raiders version of the read-option and it showed.
Making only his fourth career start, Pryor rushed for 112 yards on 13 carries and had the Colts “D” gasping for oxygen all afternoon.
In the end, the difference in the game came down to turnovers, as Indy managed to win the crucial TO battle, 2-0.
Fifth-year cornerback, Greg Toler registered his first INT in a Colts uniform, while veteran free safety, Antoine Bethea shut the door on Oakland’s hopes of a fourth-quarter comeback with a late pick near Indy’s end zone.
Dolphins vs. Colts Head-to-Head
The Fins come in with a commanding 44-25 lead in the all-time series, which is a bit surprising considering Peyton Manning’s glory years as the Colts signal caller.
The last time these franchises met dates back to November 4 of last year, in what became an entertaining shootout between two young QBs.
While the Colts would prevail (23-20) on the strength of Luck’s performance (30-for-48, 433 yards, 2 TDs), Ryan Tannehill (22-for-38, 290 YDS, 1 TD) was sensational in a losing effort.
Colts Key Offensive Players:
- (QB) Andrew Luck: 18-23, 178 yards, 2 TDs, 127.9 QBR – 6 rushes, 38 yards, TD
- (WR) Reggie Wayne: 8 catches, 96 yards, 25 long, TD
- (WR) Dwayne Allen: 1 catch, 20 yards, TD
- (WR) Darrius Heyward-Bey: 3 catches, 33 yards, 16 long
- (RB) Vick Ballard: 13 carries, 63 yards, 12 long
Colts Key Defensive Players:
- (FS) LaRon Landry: 15 tackles
- (FS) Antoine Bethea: 11 tackles, INT
- (OLB) Robert Mathis: 5 tackles, 1 sack
- (CB) Greg Toler: 3 tackles, INT
- (ILB) Jerrell Freeman: 10 tackles
Colts Key Special Teams Players:
- (PR/WR) T.Y. Hilton: 1 punt-return, 23 yards
For more Dolphins news and updates, visit Dolphins Central.
“Abe is a Criminal Justice Admin whose love for sports led him to become a writer, webmaster and editor. His expertise making him a valued addition to Examiner.com and the CBS-Sports family. Whether he’s discussing NFL or any the other subject matter, Abe delivers professional content with a unique perspective.” His work can be found on Examiner.com. .