1) Dominating defense
It looks like this defensive group is starting to make game-changing plays on a regular basis and create winning moments that change the outcome of a game. For the second week in a row, the Dolphins have been on the plus side of the turnover margin, even coming up with a late, fourth-quarter stop on downs to seal their second victory of the season. Safety Steven Parker and Nik Needham each recorded their first NFL interceptions in style. Parker wrestled the football away from Colts tight end Eric Ebron in the end zone, turning away the Indy scoring opportunity. This turnover led to a Miami field goal and a 3-0 lead early in the game. Needham’s pick came later in the game, but also led to points and a field goal by Jason Sanders gave the Dolphins a four-point lead. It was also Needham who made the critical stop in the fourth quarter on Ebron that ended Indy’s comeback bid and sealed the victory for Miami. The other interception occurred when veteran safety Bobby McCain broke on Colts quarterback Brian Hoyer perfectly, reading his eyes and broke over the top of the receiver. McCain took the turnover and returned it 32 yards to the Colts 12-yard line. This set up the Dolphins offense in the red zone, and led to quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick’s scramble and score from 11 yards out. This defense posted a shut out in the first half, allowing Indianapolis just 108 total yards in the first 30 minutes, and just 300 total yards for the game.
2) Fitz does just enough
Veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has been very consistent and his pocket awareness has allowed the passing game to grow since coming back into the starting line up. His anticipation in the passing game and knowing how and when to move within the pocket, or escape it, has directly led to explosive plays and moving the chains on third down to extend drives. He leaned on wide out DeVante Parker with rookie Preston Williams out of the line up, and Parker delivered with five catches for 69 yards. Also, Fitz looked to tight end Mike Gesicki for the second week in a row, and the second-year player made himself available. Without a rushing attack to assist him against the Colts defense, Fitzpatrick had to rely on his quick decisions in the passing game and even improvise at times by tucking the ball down and running himself. The latter led to his 11-yard scamper for a touchdown that gave the Dolphins a 10-point lead.
3) Sanders' clutch kicks
It was nice to see placekicker Jason Sanders come through in a big way Sunday against the Colts. He was called upon to deliver when the Miami offense couldn’t find a way to get the ball in the end zone. Sanders converted on a 47-yarder early in the game and a pair of 48 yarders late to seal the victory for the Dolphins. The first 48-yarder marked the second time in his career that he’s kicked a game winning field goal. In a game that didn’t have a ton of offense, field position was important, and cashing in on long-range kicking chances added extra confidence and momentum to the rest of the team. Punter Matt Haack also was clutch when punting when backed up deep in dolphins territory. His five punts that averaged 46 yards helped keep the defense on a long field for most of the afternoon.