I thought that this game would be a very critical one come playoff time in determining who earns the wild card spot. Because of that, I felt that it would be a good idea for me to watch this one. I was not disappointed by what I saw from either rookie quarterback. As a matter of a fact, there were times in this game where I could have sworn that Tannehill and Luck were not rookies. Andrew Luck played a brilliant game while setting a rookie record for passing yards in a game (433). This was a very entertaining game, and if anybody reading this is subscribed to NFL Game Rewind, I highly recommend this one. There was a lot of impressive quarterbacking in this one.
In place of a simple summary of the game, I want to highlight a couple of important things from this game. First and foremost, the Miami Dolphin’s pass defense needs some major tweaking. Andrew Luck was picking their secondary apart with ease, and I saw a couple of big mistakes out of Sean Smith, a corner for Miami. I really hate to pick on one guy because it is a team sport, but he missed a couple of key tackles in this one. The one play I would like to dissect is the 36 yard TD pass to T.Y. Hilton in the third quarter. This was one of the few “mistakes” that Andrew Luck made in this game. He heaved the ball high in the air and was hoping that his receiver could make a play in double coverage. Luckily for Luck *pun intended* Hilton was able to, but had Smith been able to whip his head around, he would have intercepted the pass and ended the drive.
I thought that both offensive lines struggled a little bit in this one. Miami’s did do a nice job run blocking though. Indy’s o-line collapsed a few times but the ‘Phins had a tough time getting to Luck because he did an amazing job at climbing the pocket or sliding to his right (and left) and delivering perfect passes to his guys. I did not take notes during the game, so I don’t remember the exact numbers, but I do remember seeing that Luck had completed something like 13-15 of his passes on third down. Let’s just say he was spectacular on third down in this one. The Colts were able to dominate the time of possession (despite an ineffective run game for the most of the way) because of their efficiency on third down. Dwayne Allen came up huge in this game on third down, as did Reggie Wayne; but really this was a collective effort for Indianapolis. Luck was able to spread the ball around very well, as four of his guys had five or more receptions. I like what I saw from Indy in this game, and I think all of America will get a chance to see how good this team is in January because I think they are headed for the playoffs.
Miami had a great mix of runs and passes in this game, which was something that Indianapolis was not afforded. Tannehill did some good things with the ball as well, throwing for nearly 300 yards himself. Reggie Bush had a sick 18-yard TD run in the second quarter where he made at least three guys miss. The guys in the booth (Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots) said it best- the Dolphins were able to lean on a run game and Andrew Luck basically had to do it all on his own… that is until Vick Ballard closed the game out for the Colts when he ran downhill for 19-yards picking up 27th and final first down for his team. Indianapolis was then able to milk the remaining 35+ seconds off the clock for their fifth win.
Andrew Luck looked amazing in this game. Ryan Tannehill played well again and neither team turned the ball over. All is not lost for Miami, they still have a realistic shot at a Wild Card spot. The only teams that I can think of that might be able to challenge them for the spot would be Oakland (who they beat) and Cincinnati (who they also beat). As far as seeding goes, Indy now has a big advantage for the #5 seed. I think these are two good teams who all of America will be able to enjoy for many years to come.