Sunday, September 15, 2013

Four Point Stance: Dolphins at Colts


This week, the Miami Dolphins travel to Indianapolis to take on quarterback Andrew Luck and the Colts in the second of two consecutive road games to open the season. Miami won handily in Cleveland last week, while the Colts needed some fourth quarter heroics from their quarterback to defeat the lowly Oakland Raiders in their season opener. (photo: Mark Susina, Flickr)

The main storyline of this one is the showdown of the two second-year signal-callers. Luck is already considered an upper-echelon quarterback, while Dolphins field general Ryan Tannehill is looking to prove he belongs in the conversation with the rest of the 2012 draft class. The pair already faced off once last season, with Luck throwing for 433 yards and almost single-handedly carrying Indianapolis to a narrow three-point victory. This year, Miami brings with it a bevy of new offensive talent and an improved defense to Lucas Oil Stadium for an attempt at retribution.


Contain Luck. One of the most understated aspects of Luck's game is his ability to break the pocket when there's pressure and make a play. The Dolphins' pass rushers not only must get to him quickly to limit his chances to get the ball downfield, but must also be mindful of their contain responsibilities. Succeeding in this will take away a lot of what makes the Colts' offense so dangerous.

Ground improvement. There is no kind way to put it, the Dolphins were awful running the football in Week 1, gaining just 20 yards on 23 carries. Fortunately, Indianapolis fields a much weaker defensive front than Cleveland, so Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas should have more space to operate. It's imperative that Miami can be two-dimensional in this game, and control the clock by rushing the football consistently.

Discipline. The Dolphins were penalized uncharacteristically often against the Browns. Miami was the third least-penalized team in 2012 with an average of 4.8 flags per game but had 10 in the season opener. In the much louder and more frenzied dome that is Lucas Oil Stadium, communication and staying disciplined will be a major factor, especially on defense.

Seven, not three. With a high-powered offense on the other side, the Dolphins must get seven points when they reach the scoring zone. Settling for field goals with either allow the Colts to stay within striking distance, or pull further ahead if they get the lead. Improvement from the running game and the continued use of receiver Brandon Gibson in the middle of the field will be keys for Miami in the redzone.
A week in Dolphins posts at

Week 2 AFC East game picks: Fins at Colts

Injury report: Dolphins still short at cornerback

Web-wide AFC East power rankings: Week 2

Fins seek 'balance' after poor rushing display

Dolphins look to change Colts' Luck at home

Wallace doesn't 'get overly excited' about wins

One-catch Wallace: 'It's not my game plan'

Despite win, Dolphins' O-line a major concern

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