Week 9: Miami Dolphins At Indianapolis Colts
- QuarterbacksThe Dolphins had to turn to backup quarterback Matt Moore when rookie Ryan Tannehill went out with a left knee injury against the Jets. Tannehill expects to return to the lineup against the Colts, but head coach Joe Philbin may take a cautious approach and go with Moore. The backup quarterback lacks big-play characteristics but he is an accurate passer.The Colts know that Andrew Luck will be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in the future, but he is certainly going through growing pains that nearly all rookies face. Luck grew quite a bit in Week Eight when he led the Colts to an overtime victory on the road against the Titans. Luck has tremendous physical talent, but his guts and intelligence may help him even more.
- OffenseThe Dolphins want to make sure Reggie Bush gets his touches every week since he is the most talented player on the offensive side of the ball. Bush has 493 rushing yards and is averaging 4.4 yards per carry. Wide receiver Brian Hartline has caught 33 passes for 555 yards, but has only found the endzone once.The Colts have a balanced offense, ranking ninth overall and getting the complementary running game needed to take pressure off of Luck. Donald Brown is the team’s primary ball carrier, but it was Vick Ballard who scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime with his spectacular effort in Week Nine. Reggie Wayne is still one of the best go-to receivers and Donnie Avery is a solid complementary player.
- DefenseThe Dolphins’ defense continues to play well. They didn’t give up a touchdown to the Jets until the game was well in hand. The Dolphins are led by linebacker Karlos Dansby and defensive end Cameron Wake. Both players are solid and they make sure the Dolphins defense is well-positioned.The Colts defense has been somewhat soft this season, but they were solid in the second half against the Titans in Week Eight, limiting them to three points in the second half. Linebacker Jerrell Freeman took charge against Tennessee, registering 14 tackles and ranging sideline to sideline to make plays.
- Special TeamsThe Dolphins are not getting much help from their special teams. Dan Carpenter has made 10-of-14 FG attempts this season and is 0-for-2 on attempts of 50 yards or more. Punter Brandon Fields is averaging 51.4 yards per punt. Marcus Thigpen has already returned one punt for a touchdown.Adam Vinatieri had a field goal attempt blocked against the Titans and he has not been quite the sure thing he was in the past. He has missed four FG attempts this season. Pat McAfee has dropped nine of his 31 punts inside the 20.
The Dolphins appeared to be one of the worst teams in football at the start of the season, but rookie head coach Joe Philbin’s calm and reasoned approach is having a solid impact with this team. The Colts are an emotional team that is looking to Luck for leadership. He is coming off a strong overtime win on the road and should get unquestioned support from Colts fans.