NOTEBOOK: Solid Offensive Output Falls Short For Miami; Other Notes

Posted Nov 4, 2012

Entertaining shootout produces some milestones.

INDIANAPOLIS – As advertised, Miami Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill and Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts waged an epic battle between rookie quarterbacks. Luck narrowly came out on top by a 23-20 score.

Here are some notes and observations from the shootout at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Statistical Milestones

Ryan Tannehill’s first-half passer rating of 132.4 was a new career-high, surpassing his 115.4 against St. Louis on October 14th. … Tannehill’s 151 passing yards in the first half were the second most for the rookie behind his 219 at Arizona on September 30th. He finished the day completing 22-of-38 passes for 290 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. … Wide receiver Brian Hartline eclipsed his previous career-high for receiving yards in the first quarter with 58 yards on three catches, including a 35-yarder. He caught two passes for 52 yards in the first quarter last Christmas Eve (December 24th, 2011) at New England. … By game’s end, Hartline had eight catches for 107 yards, the third 100-yard outing of his career, all this season. … Charles Clay’s 31-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter was the fourth of his two-year career and his longest catch for a score. His previous long was a 12-yarder on November 20th, 2011 against the Buffalo Bills. … Rookie defensive end Olivier Vernon deflected a field goal attempt for the second straight week, this one coming on a 54-yard attempt by the Colts’ Adam Vinatieri just before the two-minute warning to preserve Miami’s lead.

Eye In The Sky

Center Mike Pouncey was quite the man in motion on offense as the Dolphins tried to counter the speed and quickness of Indianapolis’ front seven with sweeps and misdirection. Due his quickness and athleticism, Pouncey was able to pull after snapping the ball to Tannehill and become the lead blocker on sweeps in either direction. … Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle stuck with a similar plan to the one that worked so well last week at the Jets by bringing pressure from the edge with Jimmy Wilson, Nolan Carroll and safety Reshad Jones in hopes of catching Luck without an extra protector. Wilson managed to bat down a quick screen pass early with that approach and Jones hit Luck in the second quarter as he threw to force an incompletion. … With the Colts selling out to stop the run, Miami’s pass protection was put to the test and save for the one early sack by Robert Mathis the offensive line gave Tannehill a relatively clean pocket to throw from. His play-action fake, coupled with solid blocking up front worked to perfection on the 35-yard strike to Brian Hartline late in the first quarter that set up the first touchdown of the game. … Fullback Jorvorskie Lane created some mismatches in true running situations by leading Reggie Bush, Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller through running lanes on both sides of the field. He quickly spotted the linebacker or defensive back trying to clog the hole and blasted him out of the way.

Fantastic Fins

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill – The hard-nosed rookie stood tall in the pocket and went to-to-toe with the Colts’ Andrew Luck, showing no ill effects from his knee injury. His 151-passing yards on 10-of-14 gave Miami a 17-13 lead at the half and he kept making good throws in the second half to take the game down to the wire.

Punter Brandon Fields – When the game became a battle of field position, Fields was reliable yet gain, booming punts of 59 and 60 yards to flip the field in Miami’s favor. He averaged 53.3 gross yards per punt and 46.6 net.

Cornerback Nolan Carroll – In his fourth straight start for veteran Richard Marshall, Carroll was a tackling machine in the secondary, leading the Dolphins with 10 tackles (all solo) and he also broke up three passes.

Wide receiver Brian Hartline – After being kept quiet for the most part since his 253-yard performance at Arizona, Hartline was Tannehill’s go-to receiver on the afternoon. He caught eight passes for 107 yards, including a 35-yarder for his third 100-yard game of the 2012 season.


The Dolphins return home for the first time in a month next Sunday to host the Tennessee Titans at Sun Life Stadium at 1 p.m.

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