Fourth Quarter — B-
Miami’s defense would start off their first drive of the game with Indianapolis backed up at their own six-yard line. This drive would get off to a better start, with Indianapolis having problems penetrating the Dolphins line with their running game.
But the Colts would again get out of it thanks to a short pass that turned into a 20-yard gain. This despite the fact that Miami’s defensive line got plenty of push with Luck dropped back into the end zone.
Luck’s dink-and-dunk passes have killed Miami’s defense all game long, and with the way Miami has tackled, it’s a miracle that they haven’t broken out for a big gain with those passes. This hasn’t been such a great day for the linebackers, who have been torn apart all afternoon.
Luck’s mobility has also been a problem for the Dolphins defense, as at times he’s gotten off throws that he has no business getting. Even when he’s been in the grasp of a Dolphins defender, he’s still gotten the pass off, and completed.
Thankfully, Miami would hold Indianapolis to a field goal on the drive, but it did look dicey the entire way through.
Miami’s next defensive drive would turn out to be the most important drive of the game. They have to either force a three-and-out or a turnover, and certainly can’t afford more of Andrew Luck’s witchcraft.
The first two plays were run plays from the Colts, and the Dolphins managed to give up six yards combined on those plays. But with a crucial third-down, Miami finally got enough pressure on Luck for him to make a poor decision. Smith had the interception, but then dropped the pass while trying to get off the ground (which he didn’t have to do).
Good defense, but poor decision making on Smith’s part.
Third Quarter — D
Miami’s defense once again is able to bend and not break on the first Colts’ drive of the game. Despite Andrew Luck tearing the secondary apart and getting away from Miami’s pressure, Cameron Wake was able to save the drive for Miami with a strip and sack of Andrew Luck that backed Indianapolis up from the Miami 38-yard line to the 50.
Two plays later Indianapolis would be forced to punt the ball away, but the drive did look scary at the start.
The next drive would see more of the same. This Dolphins defense has done a great job of forcing the Colts’ into third down, but stopping them on third down has been an issue. The pressure has increased, but Luck has been as tough to catch on third downs as a greased-up cat.
Luck is doing this with short-passes, but Miami lucked out on third-and-six with a penalty on Dwayne Allen. The Colts still converted the third-and-sixteen with another underneath pass. The way the Colts are wearing down the Dolphins defense is troubling going into the fourth quarter, and it’s starting to show in the Colts running game, which is starting to get a jolt after a slow start.
The drive would end with a 46-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Luck to T.Y. Hilton, which Hilton managed to grab despite double-coverage from Sean Smith and Nolan Carroll. That was just great ball-placement by Luck along with Smith getting faked out a bit by Hilton on the route.
Second Quarter — B-
The first defensive play for the Dolphins of the second quarter could be best summed up by calling it fail. It started with a neutral-zone infraction on Jared Odrick, followed by a 48-yard pass from Luck to Donnie Avery on the free play after the flag was thrown.
But despite the hot start to Indianapolis’ drive, Miami forced Indy to attempt a field goal once they got into the red zone. Despite the lack of a touchdown on that call, Andrew Luck’s perfect stats on third down are a concern for a defense that has prided itself on stopping teams on third down.
The next drive would see Andrew Luck continue to carve up the Dolphins’ defense, but Miami’s defense is still able to contain the Colts’ running game, which means Luck has to beat the Dolphins on his own. The scary thing is he can, despite whatever blitzes the Dolphins defense manage to throw at him.
But on third-and-12 on the Miami 36, Luck couldn’t find a receiver, ending his third-down streak. This was followed by Miami blocking another field goal, and again it was Olivier Vernon.
The Colts would have one more drive, which again would see the Colts get into field goal range. But due to Indianapolis penalties and dropped passes, the Colts would have to settle for a field goal attempt from Adam Vinatieri, which he would wind up making.
First Quarter — B-
Andrew Luck is no Mark Sanchez, which is something someone ought to tell the Dolphins defense.
Luck carved the Miami defense apart on the opening drive, going four-of-four for 57 yards. But despite Luck’s success on the opening drive, the rest of the Colts’ offense had problems in every other facet of the game, not being able to gain any yardage rushing, including a stop on third-and-one at the Dolphins’ 25. This stop, along with a delay-of-game penalty on the first field goal try on Indianapolis would lead to the Colts walking away with no points for the drive.
Miami’s next drive would see better pass coverage, and by that I mean Luck wasn’t perfect like he was on his first drive. The Dolphins were more aggressive rushing the passer, but had rare problems on third down (especially on third-and-long).
The very next play, Luck was able to draw a pass interference on Koa Misi (who actually covered Dwayne Allen well on the play but made a mistake by not looking back at least once), which put Indianapolis in the red zone and set up a Luck touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne.
The way it’s looking right now, Andrew Luck is the best quarterback that the Dolphins have faced all season, and it shows.