NFL

Dolphins' defence thwarts Colts' comeback bid

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The Canadian Press
9/15/2013 5:27:34 PM
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INDIANAPOLIS -- This time, Ryan Tannehill was the one celebrating in Indianapolis.

And Miami's defence had Andrew Luck fuming.

The Dolphins' second-year quarterback matched his counterpart virtually throw-for-throw Sunday.

Tannehill did a better job managing his team's offence in the second half and cheered his defence after it thwarted yet another Colts' comeback bid to hold on for a 24-20 victory.

"It's nice to win and that's the important thing no matter who we are going against. It's nice to win," Tannehill said.

"I think he (Luck) did a good job, I don't really know what his numbers were, but from what I saw, he did a great job of moving around the pocket, but the defence really stepped up and made a play when it counted."

Tannehill was just better Sunday.

It was a stark contrast from a year ago, when the two first-round draft picks met as rookies.

Luck stole the show that day by throwing for an NFL rookie record 433 yards and two scores as he delivered a three-point win.

In Sunday's meeting, with a chance to show everyone how much he and the Dolphins (2-0) had progressed, Tannehill was the winner.

While the two quarterbacks finished with similar numbers -- Tannehill was 23 of 34 for 319 yards and one touchdown, while Luck was 25 of 43 for 321 yards and one TD -- the difference came down to managing mistakes.

Tannehill lost a third down fumble at his 39 in the third quarter, but all the Colts could get was a go-ahead field goal.

Luck, however, stopped one fourth-quarter scoring chance by forcing a deep throw to Reggie Wayne that was picked off by Brent Grimes in the end zone.

Luck had a chance to make amends after driving the Colts (1-1) to the Miami 23-yard line with 1:45 left in the game. Miami, however, forced three straight incompletions and refused to allow the suddenly elusive Luck to escape the pass rush on fourth down.

All Tannehill had to do then was pick up one first down, kneel down once and shake hands with the guy he's been following since they were Texas high school stars.

Luck, who has engineered eight fourth-quarter comebacks in 18 games, blamed himself for the loss.

"I guess I'm a little angry at myself," Luck said. "Again, credit to them, they put us in all these situations, but I feel like we are a better team than what we showed out there."

The Dolphins, meanwhile, couldn't have been happier.

They started fast, jumping to a 14-3 lead after two possessions, rallied twice and shut down the Colts when they needed, too.

High-priced free-agent Mike Wallace was a little happier with his performance Sunday, finishing with nine receptions for 115 yards and one touchdown a week after making only one catch in his Miami debut.

Lamar Miller averaged nearly 5 yards per carry, running 14 times for 69 yards and a touchdown. Charles Clay had five catches for 109 yards and only one carry -- a 1-yard TD run with 4:40 left in the third quarter, which turned out to be the game's decisive score and stood up to a replay review.

That, and a staunch defence late was enough for the Dolphins to hold on.

"You have to be balanced to win football games. You can't really win a football game by just throwing the whole game," Wallace said. "You have to mix it up."

The Dolphins didn't shy away from trading jabs, especially after Indy piled up 315 yards of offence in the first half, their highest first-half total in seven years.

The Colts finished with 438 yards, but couldn't put Miami away after taking a 17-14 lead in the first half and a 20-17 lead early in the third quarter after Tannehill's fumble.

But Miami made all the big plays after that -- the 34-yard completion from Tannehill to Wallace that set up Clay's rushing score, the third down conversions to keep Luck & Co. off the field and the two big fourth-quarter stops.

"Our guys wanted to play them, we wanted to compete," Miami coach Joe Philbin said. "They were ready for a 60-minute game and we knew we would have to make some plays to win."

Notes: Indy lost left guard Donald Thomas in the first quarter with a torn quad tendon that is likely to end his season. The Colts also played the second half without Darius Heyward-Bey, who injured his ribs. ... The Dolphins snapped a four-game losing streak in this series. ... Luck had the NFL's longest active streak with 165 straight passes without an interception before Grimes picked him off. ... Miami scored 14 points in the first quarter for the first time since 2011, a span of 25 games. ... T.Y. Hilton had a career-high 124 yards receiving on six catches for Indy.

Dolphins celebrate (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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