The Indianapolis Colts today kept their very slim playoff hopes alive with an 18-12 victory on the road over the Miami Dolphins. Behind the running of Frank Gore they took an early first half lead and the team kept it the rest of the way.
It came down to the end, as the Dolphins had a chance to score and win the game but were stopped on four straight plays inside the red zone to lose. On fourth down, the Dolphins' badly botched the play and the Colts notched their sixth sack of the day to preserve the victory.
Frank Gore notched scoring runs of 37 and 11 yards in the first half to put up his best display in a Colts uniform yet. He fell short of 100 yards thanks to his runs later in the game being swarmed by Dolphins defenders. With that said, however, Gore broke several tackles and showed playmaking ability. On the day, he rushed for 85 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, averaging 5.7 yards per carry despite having no room to run in the second half whatsoever. He also caught two passes for 10 yards.
The Colts also added a safety for their first score of the game, as T.Y. McGill came around unblocked on the edge and took down Ryan Tannehill in the end zone for his first career sack. The Colts' pass rush had a good showing on Sunday, as T.Y. McGill, Kendall Langford, and Robert Mathis both notched two sacks each to give the Colts six sacks total, a tremendous showing for a struggling pass rush.
The Colts had to play over half of the game with Charlie Whitehurst at quarterback after Matt Hasselbeck went out with a shoulder injury in the second quarter. Hasselbeck was seen in a sling during the second half on the sidelines with the quarterbacks, but Whitehurst actually did a pretty good job in the second half, meaning that we may have seen the last of the incredibly beat-up Hasselbeck. We will again face a week of quarterback questions, as it's uncertain whether Andrew Luck will be able to return or whether Hasselbeck will be able to play if not. Whitehurst was also shaken up late in the game and was a bit gimpy, so the Colts are hurting quite a bit at quarterback.
The defense did a pretty good job on the day, holding the Dolphins to just 12 points, getting some pressure, doing a good job against the run game, and making some timely plays in the passing game - like Vontae Davis' interception when the Dolphins had a goal-to-go situation. Even Greg Toler picked off a two-point conversion pass attempt by Miami. And then, of course, the final goal-line stand included a tremendous pass breakup by Darius Butler on third down and a sack on fourth down.
The Colts improved to 7-8 on the season as they maintain slightly alive in the playoff race. The Texans won big over the Titans today, meaning that they still could clinch the AFC South today if they win the strength of victory tiebreaker (if the Bengals win and then either the Saints, Jets, or Panthers win; or if the Saints, Jets, and Panthers all win). The Colts will return home to host the Tennessee Titans in the regular season finale next Sunday as they look to get to .500 on the season.