The Miami Dolphins left Indianapolis with a 24-20 victory over the Colts on Sunday and improved to 2-0 in the process for the first time since 2010.
Ryan Tannehill ultimately outdueld draft-mate Andrew Luck and held off the Colts late attempt for a comeback win. Tannehill completed 23-of-34 passes for 319 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions which was good for a 107.4 passer rating. Luck on the other hand went 25-for-43 with one touchdown, one interception and a 79.7 passer rating.
After a slow start for the Dolphins offense last week, they came out of the gates firing on all cylinders against the Colts. Tannehill got Mike Wallace the ball early and often as the team's biggest free agent signing set a career high for receptions in a regular season game with 9 for 115 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Charles Clay also proved to be a valuable weapon for Tannehill in the passing game as the pair connected for 109 yards on five catches, including a 67 yard reception. Clay's versatility made him difficult to cover for the Colts as he also lined up in the backfield where he rushed for his first touchdown of the season.
The Dolphins run game also got going as Lamar Miller solidified his role as the starter and instilled confidence with 69 yards on 14 carries for an average of 4.9 yards per attempt along with a touchdown. Daniel Thomas had a bounce back performance of his own as he rushed for 30 yards on 8 attempts. The ability to find success on the ground sold the play action pass and set up several big gains for Miami downfield.
On defense, the Dolphins injury-depleted secondary was exploited early as Luck was able to move the ball through the air and move the chains rather quickly. Miami struggled to contain tight end Coby Fleener who finished with 69 yards receiving in addition to a wide open touchdown catch. T.Y. Hilton also proved to be too much for the Dolphins to handle as he torched Miami for 124 yards, a new career high.
However, Miami's defense continued to improve as the game wore on and Brent Grimes recorded a fourth quarter interception in the endzone while covering Reggie Wayne, his first as a Dolphin. The pass rush which was mainly non-existent throughout the first three quarters made its presence known including when Philip Wheeler sacked Luck on fouth down to thwart the Colts attempt at a comeback and seal the victory. Miami's defence finished with 3 sacks on the day.
The new linebacker duo of Philip Wheeler and Dannell Ellerbe recorded an astounding 26 tackles. However, perhaps the most impressive stat for the Dolphins is the fact that they took zero penalties throughout the entire course of the game. Zero.
The reigning rookie of the week, kicker Caleb Sturgis, attempted only one field goal but it was a crucial one. With seconds remaing before the half, the fifth round pick drilled a 54 yard field goal to even the score.
After going 2-6 on the road in 2012, the Dolphins have earned two critical away victories against AFC opponents to start 2013. Next up for the 2-0 Dolphins is a matchup with the Atlanta Falcons in the team's home opener at Sun Life Stadium.