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. Next
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.