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Keys to the game for the Dolphins vs. Colts

Indianapolis -- The forecast here tonight is for temperatures in the 40s. Awesome, right?

This Florida boy is loving the escape from the heat. But the weather won't matter because the Lucas Oil Stadium has a retractable roof and it will be 77 on Sunday afternoon. So weather is not a key to this game.

What are the keys to this game?


When the Dolphins pass the football: Mike Wallace must get the ball early and often otherwise the Dolphins risk losing their alpha receiver for the second consecutive week. Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman talked to Wallace about getting him the ball more often so that should happen. It remains clear, however, that quarterback Ryan Tannehill feels a tighter kinship with Brian Hartline and so it’s doubtful the QB will simply disconnect from Hartline to feed Wallace. The Colts secondary seems susceptible to the pass because left cornerback Greg Toler is merely mediocre while free safety LaRon Landry is excellent in supporting the run but his lateral movement against the pass is sometimes a step slow. ADVANTAGE: Dolphins.

When the Dolphins run the football: Nothing happens. Well, at least that was the story last week against the Browns. The Dolphins left that game last in the NFL rushing the football. Miami offensive linemen and running backs have promised improvement this week. Makes sense. How can there not be improvement from terrible? Running back Lamar Miller said the Colts are similar to the Browns except faster. Yes, they might be faster but they’re not nearly as stout up front. This week is a much better match up for the Dolphins than a week ago. ADVANTAGE: Even.

When the Colts run the football: This team passes to set up the run instead of the other way around. that doesn't mean it wasn't a little shocking when starting running back Vick Ballard, a solid, workmanlike runner who is in his second season and gained 814 yards last season, injured his knee and was lost for the season in practice on Thursday. The Colts now have to overcome that loss by asking Donald Brown and Ahmad Bradshaw to play more and do more. Bradshaw is still coming back from foot surgery but seems the most likely next man up.The Miami front seven was so effective last week, the Browns basically quit running the football in the second half despite being ahead at halftime. The Colts offensive line is a zone-blocking unit that includes Dolphins castoffs Samson Satele at center and Donald Thomas at left guard. Each is on his third team. That doesn’t suggest they are dominant. ADVANTAGE: Dolphins.

When the Colts pass the football: This is a not a good match up for the Dolphins defense, particularly with starting cornerback Dimitri Patterson slowed by a groin injury. Even with Patterson healthy the Colts receivers corps that includes Reggie Wayne, T.Y Hilton and Darrius Heyward-Bey is a combination of speed and experience that might be the best the Dolphins face this year. A hobbled Patterson against the speedy Hilton in the slot is not a good match up for Miami. Andrew Luck has directed eight fourth-quarter come from behind victories which is a ton considering he’s only started 17 NFL games. That means he’s dangerous with the football late in a game that has yet to be decided. The Dolphins must avoid this situation at all costs. ADVANTAGE: Colts.

Special teams: Adam Vinatieri continues to be among the best clutch kickers in the league. He has kicked 24 game-winning field goals inside the final minute of a game during his career. T.Y. Hilton is a major weapon on returns. The Dolphins have the second-rated punter in the NFL because Brandon Fields is second in both net and gross average. And rookie Caleb Sturgis has shown no sign of struggle. The Dolphins are looking to improve their kick and punt coverage this week. ADVANTAGE: Even.

Coaching: Chuck Pagano is healthy now, which is great news, but the emotion and motivation of rallying behind his fight against cancer last year – a palpable advantage for the Colts as it happened – may have faded. Pagano also lost offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who got the head coach job in Arizona. That is a loss. Dolphins’ coaches need to make sure they avoid the drama suffered after last week’s victory. They need to find a way to keep Mike Wallace happy, keep Randy Starks playing well while also overcoming a talented Colts team. ADVANTAGE: Colts.

Intangibles: The Colts know how to win games late. They’ve done it before behind Andrew Luck – including last week. The Dolphins haven’t done it nearly as much behind Ryan Tannehill. The home crowd in Indianapolis is also rabid when their team is in a game. OVERALL ADVANTAGE: Colts.



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Today's game plan should expose the the colts secondary and mismatch on the
Colts LB. we all know
That if old fart Sherman doesn't explore that with Wallace Hartline he has to go with Philbin the clown and Jl Ross lap dog! That's bull c r a p that Wallace double team he is a decoy! Last year we only had Hartline and he had a great year, look at all the new addition at the wr. In the league boldin kaper. Carson Fitzgerald Stafford bush just to name a few, so its about coaching bottom line.

No run game leads to a predictive offense and defenses will just nickel & dime us, so to speak. This is what happened during the Marino years, yes Dan was so good that you knew he was always going to throw and he would still beat you. Problem is that defensive schemes have evolved and you can't play like that anymore, you HAVE to have some type of run game, specially in the Red Zone.

I remember an interview with Shula and he stated that one of his biggest disappointments during his coaching of the FINS was not having a solid running game, he said he tried (Sammie Smith, etc.) but it was hard to take the ball out of the hands of one of the best passers he ever saw. He said if they had a running game, he felt they would have been more successful.

I'm sure Philbin/Sherman already know this and will be looking to focus on the run game & OL in the off season, that's also part of why Ireland is smart enough to not blow the CAP.

This game clearly falls on the OL, if they play poorly it's going to be a long day. If they come out strong, it may turn out into a shoot out with Luck unless our DL gets to him early, fast and takes control.

We also have to score in the Red Zone TD's, everytime we score a FG I get visions of Sporano's fist pump and my stomach turns.

Woodshed, not one elected official in Washington gives a flying fffffk what any of us support. War is all about business. Business is all about money. All your elected officials are our enemy.

Okay peeps...we need to win today!!!!

Go D.....Go Tanny...Go Fins!!!!

Let's be real guys Sherman was a loser in Texas and you guys think he will be good in the pros? Let me answer that NOOOOOOOOOO! at least him which reminds me of Dan old fart Henning, The man runs old formations doesn't get his best players on mismatches and players don't like him and
Philbin of course not forgetting Jl Ross lap dog, remember even Parsells said negative things about Ross Lap Dog.

Ross conned the sucker fans into thinking he spent more money when he actually has the 2nd lowest payroll in the league!! WTF?

Woodshed, not one elected official in Washington gives a flying fffffk what any of us support. War is all about business. Business is all about money. All your elected officials are our enemy.

Posted by: Person | September 15, 2013 at 11:57 AM

I don't disagree with that statement. I can only say what I know to be true from firsthand knowledge, not what the news shows and tells us. The Middle East is a messy region and we aren't going to make it any better. FIRE ROSS seems to believe that our military has something to do with the decisions we make.
If I had my way while I was in, I would've stayed in Australia and Hong Kong for my entire deployment!

Philbin lacks the people skills to be a good coach.

This game in this era its about young creative mines! Young coaches that played the game not retread coaches, watch what I mean in Mike Shan. Andy Reed last years coaches that got fired I mean this game has change and we need younger coaches on this team. IMO. let's GO PHINS. WIN THIS ONE FOR US FANS!!

Woodshed Gang,

You are of the belief that I am in debt to you. That you served for my interests and you are owed my praise.

This is how most armed forces slobs feel.

Even the ones who served during peace time.

That's why they're constantly asking for approval, wearing their service on their sleeves.

I will always take exception to this...simply because I know better...I'm not brainwashed.

Dolphins lose by twenty today.

You are of the belief that I am in debt to you. That you served for my interests and you are owed my praise.

Posted by: FIRE ROSS | September 15, 2013 at 12:24 PM

I never said I was a hero. I never said anyone was in debt to me, except the government which took away years I will never get back. They reimbursed me with free education on more opportunities so I'd say we are even ( the government and I).

With that said, I'll be honest. I served MY interest when I went in the military. I wanted to see more of the world and live a better quality of life. I did and I have. I'm not the type of person that talks about my experiences. What bothers me is how you disrespect the legacy of people who have fought and died so we can raise our flag over this country.

Like it or not, if we didn't have a military we would all likely be speaking French, Russian or Mandarin right now and not English.

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