The Indianapolis Colts entered their Week 12 matchup with the Miami Dolphins heavily in the throes of the AFC Wild Card battle. While the Colts were looked upon as relatively comfortable favorites in this one, the game went right down to the wire.
We saw one of the most interesting endings to the first half anyone can remember, in which Andrew Luck tossed 2 interceptions to the same player within seconds of each other, and we also saw Luck look exactly like he has over the past several games for long stretches as well. He finished 30-of-37, 343 yards and 3 touchdowns, 2 interceptions and continues carries that 3-touchdown streak into Week 13.
The Colts came back from a 10-point deficit to tie up the game late in the fourth quarter, and were able to rattle off 13-straight points to finish off the Dolphins to push the Colts to 6-5 on the season. Here are 3 takeaways from the Colts big win tonight.
Colts defense gave them chances to finish off the Dolphins
We often talk about the Colts defense being an opportunistic bunch, and sometimes that’s about all. Of course we discuss the young talent that the Colts will have to build upon over the next couple years, but today they gave the Colts a lot of chances to do something when they did have the ball.
After allowing a touchdown on the Dolphins first drive, the defense forced four-straight punts and a fumble in the first half. Additionally, in the fourth quarter, the defense forced a critical punt giving the offense the ball back down 7 points, with less than 8 minutes left in the game. This, of course, set up the game-tying touchdown pass from Luck to Ebron.
They did allow a couple big plays by the Dolphins, but also held Ryan Tannehill to a fairly remedial day production-wise, the Miami rushing attack to just over 100 yards on the ground, and was able to get several hits on Tannehill as well as several tackles for loss on the day.
With the offense being pretty average for large parts of the day, all things considered, you have to love that the defense was there to do their part on the day.
Hilton back to getting big production
Last week we saw T.Y. Hilton get back into the mix in a very big way with 155 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. This week, his production came with a steady flow of targets and a more methodical approach to his game than it was with the big splash plays from a week ago.
Today Hilton was targeted 10 times, and hauled in 7 receptions for 125 yards on the day. It’s not so much that Hilton gave everyone something to scream about — even though he did have a big 36-yard catch-and-run late in the game — but he absolutely did remain a consistent part of the gameplan all day long.
We’ve seen Hilton disappear a couple times this year, or just fail to have real productive performances. However, if you’re a Colts’ fan, seeing him heavily targeted throughout all four quarters of the game is a very good sign for big things to happen.
Too many miscues took points off the board
Look, we’re not talking about a kick return for touchdown, or a field goal attempt being blocked and returned for points, but today the Colts had too many issues going on in this game.
First, we start with the craziness at the end of the first half. Luck threw two interceptions in just a a few game-seconds apart. Now, looking back, the first one wasn’t nearly as big of a deal being as the Dolphins fumbled on the very next play from scrimmage and the Colts got the ball back in plus-territory.
But, Luck’s second one was an opportunity spoiled. The Colts could have at least ended the half with a field goal to take the lead into halftime, but Luck’s poorly thrown ball towards Eric Ebron took that off the table.
Early in the game — the Colts second possession — we also had a fumble from Jordan Wilkins just as the Colts were beginning to move down the field. That didn’t turn into points for Miami, but the Colts certainly missed out on some after a hot start to the game.
On the first possession of the second half for the Colts, they were forced off the field in just three plays — which is bad enough — and that was compounded by Rigoberto Sanchez taking a half hour to get his punt off. It was blocked and the Dolphins got the ball at the Colts 42-yard line as a result.
Once again, the Colts put together a sustained drive that ends up being cut short by a strip-sack on Luck, however, they were still well within field goal range for Adam Vinatieri. Vinny completely botched this attempt, though, and the Colts left the field without points yet again.
This simply cannot continue going forward. The Colts had been the ones forcing mistakes from their opponents, but today they shot themselves in the foot far too often. The Colts came out on top, but the mistakes have to be controlled because good teams won’t allow them to comeback the way they did today.