Indianapolis Colts Playmakers Who Must Shine Against Miami Dolphins

Tyler Brooke@TylerDBrookeSenior Analyst IISeptember 11, 2013

The Indianapolis Colts were able to start the season with a win, but there are a few key players that are going to need to step up in Week 2 against the Miami Dolphins.

It certainly wasn't the best-looking win ever, but 16 teams would certainly trade places with the Colts this week.  The Colts were able to pull out yet another game-winning drive behind Andrew Luck, winning 21-17 and sealing the victory with a key interception by Antoine Bethea.

Next week, however, the Colts can't solely depend on Luck to carry the team to another win.  The Dolphins are a more talented team overall, especially on defense.  There are several players that are going to need to turn it around this Sunday in order to help the Colts start the season off strong with a 2-0 record.


T.Y. Hilton

Hilton didn't make a major impact on the game against the Raiders, but not all of that was his fault.

The sophomore receiver out of Florida International was criminally underused against the Raiders.  In the 57 plays ran by the offense, Hilton was only in on 26 of them, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

When he was in, Hilton didn't make much of an impact.  He was targeted five times and caught three passes for 20 yards.  With how quick and versatile Hilton is, you'd expect the offense to involve him a bit more.  

The Dolphins pass defense looked strong in their opening game, even if it was against the Cleveland Browns.  They forced Brandon Weeden to throw three interceptions and complete only 49.1 percent of his passes.

What Hilton brings is a mismatch for the Dolphins secondary.  He can play in the slot, as a flanker or on the outside.  Meanwhile, the Dolphins will also have to deal with Reggie Wayne, Darrius Heyward-Bey and even Dwayne Allen.

The Dolphins secondary looked good, but they were helped quite a bit by the strong pass rush, which brings me to our next player.


Anthony Castonzo

It seems unfair to call out an injured player, but something needs to change quickly before the Colts actually play a legitimate pass rush in the Dolphins.

The knee seemed to bother Castonzo, particularly when pass-blocking.  At times he looked slow, and at other times it felt like there was communication problems.

Perhaps a bit of both can be showcased on this play during the Colts' two-minute drill at the end of the second quarter.  Luck dropped back to pass, and there were a couple of things to take note of.

It appears at first that Castonzo will be getting help from Vick Ballard in blocking Lamarr Houston, but Ballard will soon be going out for a pass.  Along with this, Castonzo appears to be standing almost straight up, which is certainly something you don't want to see from your offensive tackle.

Ballard then leaves to go out for the pass, while Castonzo is now one-on-one with Houston.  Castonzo, then, clearly doesn't have control of Houston, and the defender forces his way inside, spelling trouble for Luck.

Keep in mind that this was against a team that had just 25 sacks last season, the second fewest in the league.  When the Colts play Miami, things will be much different.  

The Dolphins' defense is going to be a huge mismatch for Castonzo, even if he's healthy.  Cameron Wake finished with 2.5 sacks against the Browns, and the Dolphins as a whole finished with six.  Even if Wake won't be lining up against Castonzo, there's still a big mismatch for the Colts at left tackle.


Vontae Davis

He may not have had the worst game against the Raiders, but Davis can certainly do better.

Davis didn't do much in the way of pass coverage, failing to use his physicality at the line of scrimmage.  The secondary as a whole tended to play off of the receivers, but Davis tends to shine as a press cornerback.

Davis was thrown at five times, and receivers caught four balls for 39 yards.  Those aren't the worst numbers, but they need to improve when the Dolphins come to town.

The Dolphins have two solid receivers in Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline, and both have the potential to rip defenses apart.  Hartline had a huge game against the Browns, grabbing nine catches for 114 yards and a score.  Meanwhile, Mike Wallace struggled against Joe Haden.  He caught just one ball for 15 yards and was shut down for the rest of the day.

The Colts will need to do much of the same with Davis and Greg Toler in order to keep these two in check.  Fortunately, Ryan Tannehill isn't the dual-threat quarterback that Terrelle Pryor is, but he's certainly a better passer in the pocket.

Davis may have struggled, but he brought up the key point in his press conference after, according to Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star.

Davis will need to make sure that they can keep that going in Week 2.

We all saw how much Davis struggled in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears last year, but we also saw him turn it around as the season moved on.  Hopefully that's the case again this year for the talented cornerback.


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