The days leading up to the Dolphins-Colts game were hyped as a showdown between two young prodigies, and deservedly so.
The Ryan Tannehill vs. Andrew Luck battle was the game within the game, and not only did it meet expectations, it exceeded them.
With his head coach in attendance, Luck (30-of-48 for 433 yards with two TDs and zero interceptions) was masterful en route to a record-setting performance, especially on third down.
Entering today’s matchup, Miami was the No. 1 defense on third down, allowing offenses to convert a league-low 26 percent (via Ben Volin), but you could not tell watching today’s game.
Luck’s was surgical on the money down, completing 13 of 17 passes for 206 yards and one TD.
His record-breaking 433 passing yards was assisted by a quick start—an astonishing 273 yards in the first half that made him the second player to throw for over 270 yards before halftime this season (via ESPN stats and info).
Not to be outdone, Tannehill (22-of-38 for 290 yards with one TD and zero interceptions) proved he was worthy of the No. 8 pick, but was unable to lead the Dolphins on a potential game-tying drive in the fourth quarter.
Hampered by a quadriceps and knee injury, Tannehill was limited in practice all week, but still looked like the polished QB the Dolphins faithful have been searching for.
Hints of Dan Marino and Johnny Unitas permeated Lucas Oil Stadium with every pass he completed.
Tannehill was assisted by some remnants of a running game. Reggie Bush (10 rushes for 41 yards and one TD) had the highlight moment of the day, and his 18-yard start-and-stop touchdown run in the second quarter can only be duplicated in a game of Madden '13.
Unfortunately, the Dolphins defense was utterly disappointing on the road today, with no other Dolphin coming up shorter than cornerback Sean Smith.
His inability to find the ball on Indianapolis’ second TD—a 36-yard jump ball brought down by rookie T.Y. Hilton—was not the most costly gaffe by the former Utah Ute.
On a 3rd-and-6 late in the game, Smith was unable to hold on to an interception that would have put the Dolphins in FG range. The dropped prove to be costly, and Miami suffered its third three-point loss of the season.
The 23 points the Dolphins defense surrendered were the most it has given up since Week 4. It was unable to get off the field on third down and allowed its first first-half TD since Week 2, breaking a streak of 35 consecutive possessions without doing so.
At 4-4, Miami was unable to separate itself from the rest of the AFC playoff contenders. It is still in control of one of the coveted Wild Card spots and will look to climb above .500 next week vs. the Titans.