Five Keys To The Colts Game

Posted Sep 14, 2013

Miami's ability to win the turnover battle and create balance in the offense are just a couple of the things to look for on Sunday.

The Miami Dolphins are coming off a hard earned 23-10 victory at Cleveland and must take their execution to another level to win again on the road against the Indianapolis Colts.

This Colts team presents more problems for the Miami defense because of the wealth of talent at wide receiver, tight end and one of the most talented young quarterbacks in the league in Andrew Luck. Luck set an NFL rookie passing record last year against the Dolphins, throwing for 433 yards and two touchdowns leading to a three-point victory. Overall, the Dolphins must clean up the mistakes from last Sunday if there going to notch their second win in as many weeks, and here some of the things that I'll be looking for that just might lead to victory number two!

1) Limit Luck's Legs - We all know how good quarterback Andrew Luck is when operating within a clean pocket, but what sometimes gets overlooked is his ability to extend plays and create positive plays using his mobility when his protection breaks down. It's demoralizing to a defense when they do everything in their power to disrupt a quarterback's timing in the pass offense, only to see him turn a negative play into a positive play for his offense. On Luck's 19 yard game-winning touchdown run last week against Oakland, he relied on his natural instincts, strength and athletic ability to make something happen with his legs. The Dolphins defense must limit his ability to create and when they get the chance, tackle him to the ground on Sunday.

2) Creating Balance In The Offense - It's not a secret that the Miami ground game must get on track Sunday if the Dolphins plan on keeping Andrew Luck and company on the sidelines. You can win games in the NFL by strictly relying on your passing game, but that's not the remedy for this offense to consistently win in 2013. The Dolphins offensive line was frustrated last week by the scheme of the Cleveland defense, staying in their base look for the majority of the game against whatever offensive set Miami gave them. It worked in the short term, but failed in the final result. Miami will again face a 3-4 defense in Indy and the offensive line must win more battles at the line of scrimmage to get running backs Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas going on the ground.

3) Get Wallace Involved - One reception for 15 yards shouldn't be the norm for wide receiver Mike Wallace, and it was clearly frustrating for him personally on Sunday. His speed and ability to effect coverage clearly opened things up for Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson, but look for the Dolphins to create different looks for Wallace underneath to apply pressure to the Colts defense. I see offensive coordinator Mike Sherman to create more short routes for Wallace and run after catch chances this week.

4) Turnover Battle - Both teams finished week one plus two in the turnover margin and this trend needs to continue for Miami to win on the road against the Colts. It will be imperative that the Dolphins keep the Colts offense on a long field, and that means zero turnovers in Miami territory, and to score six points inside the red zone, not settling for field goal chances when given the opportunities. Defensively, the Dolphins must continue to find a way to take the football away on defense and on special teams.

5) Win A One Possession Game - Last year's game was a heartbreaking 23-20 loss and it came down to making plays in the fourth quarter. That usually is the difference between winning on the road or letting a victory slip away. If this game is close late in the game, it is imperative that Miami find ways to get off of the field or create a play defensively, or convert third down chances into scoring drive that close out a chance at victory. Seven of the Colts' 11 wins a year ago were by a margin of four points or less.
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