The Dolphins used big plays to put themselves in position to win at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday, but they couldn’t hold a fourth-quarter lead and the result was a disappointing loss.
Adam Vinatieri kicked a 32-yard field goal on the final play of regulation to give the Indianapolis Colts a 27-24 victory after the Dolphins lead 24-14 early in the fourth quarter.
The winning score came after Andrew Luck threw a 34-yard pass to Chester Rogers on third-and-9 after escaping what appeared to be a certain sack.
The game marked the return to action for Ryan Tannehill, who hadn’t played since Week 5 at Cincinnati, and the quarterback had a solid performance. Tannehill completed 17 of 25 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions, good for a 119.4 passer rating. He also gained 14 yards on three rushing attempts.
Luck did manage to threw three touchdown passes, extending his streak with three or more TD passes to eight games. He connected twice with tight end Eric Ebron and once to fellow tight end Jack Doyle.
Drake scored on a 14-yard run early in the fourth quarter to give the Dolphins a 24-14 lead.
But Indianapolis came back with a 46-yard field goal by Vinatieri and a 12-yard touchdown pass to Ebron before the game-winning kick.
Rookie kicker Jason Sanders broke a 14-14 tie in the third quarter when he made a 29-yard field goal shortly after linebacker Kiko Alonso partially blocked an Indianapolis punt to give the Dolphins the ball at the Colts 42.
Vinatieri, who will turn 46 in December, was short on a 53-yard attempt in the third quarter. The miss came right after Wake dropped Luck for a sack on a third-and-7 from the Dolphins 20-yard line.
The first half featured a wild beginning and a wild finish.
Tannehill put together an impressive first drive, moving the Dolphins 75 yards in six plays. His first pass was a perfect 21-yard strike to rookie tight end Durham Smythe down the middle of the field—Smythe’s first NFL catch.
The drive ended when Drake took a swing pass on third-and-8 and found a lane to the end zone.
Indianapolis answered with its own 75-yard drive, which featured a 21-yard completion to T.Y. Hilton and ended with a 14-yard touchdown pass to tight end Eric Ebron.
The Dolphins got a big opportunity when safety T.J. McDonald recovered a fumble at the Indy 47-yard line, but they weren’t able to capitalize.
Indianapolis regained the lead late in the second half with another 75-yard drive, and that one featured a fourth-and-1 conversion where the Colts used the Wildcat formation and backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett took the snap and threw a 4-yard completion to Luck.
The drive ended with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Luck to tight end Jack Doyle.
The Dolphins came right back when Carroo out-jumped cornerback Pierre Desir to catch a long pass from Tannehill, turned around and raced into the end zone for the game-tying touchdown.
But there was plenty of craziness left in the first half, as the teams turned the ball over on three consecutive plays, Howard’s two interceptions sandwiched around a fumble by Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki after a reception near midfield.
The Dolphins (5-6) return to Hard Rock Stadium next Sunday to take on the Buffalo Bills.