Reporting Tim Kephart
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DAVIE (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins have plenty to play for when the team travels to Indianapolis to play the Colts. The Fins will be looking for revenge from last year’s loss, looking to get to 2-0 ahead of a very tough stretch of games, and to keep pace with the New England Patriots in the win-loss column.
“This one game is important,” said Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin. “They are a very good football team. We’ve talked about the challenges. They’ve player very, very well at home. Our guys are excited about this.”
The Fins will be facing off against second-year Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and hope for a much different outcome. Last year, Luck lit up the Dolphins secondary throwing 30 of 48 for 433 yards and two touchdowns.
However, this time around the Dolphins have an even stouter defensive line and a top cover corner in Brent Grimes. Plus, the Colts will be without top running back Vick Ballard, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in practice this week.
“We know he is a very good player,” Philbin said. “We have to be disciplined in our pass rush. We know this player can extend plays and throw the ball on the move well and find people on the move well. Not only can he run and gain yardage, but he can escape and throw the ball well down the field. It’s an absolute must.”
Part of keeping Luck from getting a chance to air it out against the Dolphins will be Miami getting the running game going. After running 23 times for just 20 yards in Game 1, the Fins know that if they want to win on a consistent basis in the NFL; they’ve got to run the football.
“As with anything else, offensive football, defensive football or special teams, it is a unit issue,” Philbin said. “Sometimes it was perimeter blocking. Sometimes it was the read of the (running) back. Sometimes it was penetration caused by the line. The tight ends, that I mentioned earlier, need to do a better job. It is my experience in football to usually never isolate the one individual, especially when you have a day like we had.”
Still, the Dolphins need to get something out of running back Lamar Miller who was virtually unseen during Game 1. Miller rushed 10 times for just three yards, or 0.3 yards per carry and caught just one pass for seven yards.
Playing the Colts might just be the perfect medicine for the Dolphins running game ills. Last week, the Colts defense gave up 171 rushing yards on 33 carries. Most of the rushing yards given up by the Colts last week went to quarterback Terrelle Pryor on scrambles.
The Fins won’t use Ryan Tannehill in the same manner that Oakland uses Pryor, but it would appear the Colts may be vulnerable to running the football. Philbin said his expectation this weekend running the football was more production, less penetration, and less negative plays.
The Dolphins and Colts kick off at 1 p.m. on Sunday and the game can be seen exclusively on CBS4.