Some might argue that Colts rookie Vick Ballard’s 5-yard dolphin-like dive that sealed the Colts overtime victory last Sunday against the Titans was a poor call. Whether or not you agreed the referee’s decision, you can’t deny that his catch was nothing short of incredible. I’ve watched the replay over and over again and still don’t see any part of him or the ball in the end zone, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.
Ballard has collected 206 total rushing yards this season, 55 of which happened on Sunday – proving he will be an asset for the Colts offense for the remainder of the season. Ballard and his teammates will enter Sunday’s game looking to show skeptics that they are a quickly growing team, a top AFC south contender and maybe even, dare I say it, a team with playoff potential.
Sunday’s game was looking to be a rookie quarterback showdown between Andrew Luck and Ryan Tannehill, but that may not be the case after all. Tannehill left last Sunday’s game against the Jets shortly into the first quarter after injuring his left ankle and thigh. It’s unsure if Tannehill will see any playing time as his practice has been limited all week.
Backup Miami QB Matt Moore will still give the Colts defense a fight. After Tannehill’s early exit, Moore threw for 131 yards and completed 11 of 19 passes. Whether the Colts see Tannehill or Moore, the defense will need to come prepared.
On the Miami defensive side, the Colts will have corner back Sean Smith and defensive end Cameron Wake to deal with. Smith will likely be Colts vet Reggie Wayne’s biggest obstacle come Sunday. Smith has 30 tackles and two interceptions so far on the season. Wake, on the other hand, will be on the hunt for Luck as he has 7.5 sacks in the last four games and was named AFC defensive player of the week.
The Dolphins won’t be seeing one former member of their squad on Sunday. Vontae Davis, who signed with the Colts in late August, has already been denied action on Sunday after suffering a knee sprain in the opening drive last Sunday in Tennessee. The Colts will also be without rookie tight end Coby Fleener as he suffered a shoulder injury on Sunday as well.
After having surgery to repair torn cartilage early in October, the Colts are fortunate to have running back Donald Brown back in action. Brown and Ballard could easily become the colts running power duo as the season progresses.
When it comes to the Colts passing game, Reggie Wayne still continues to wow everyone. With 757 yards so far this season, he is obviously Luck’s go-to-man, just as he was with Peyton Manning. Rookie Donnie Avery has also done an impressive job so far this season with 346 yards to date.
The Colts coaching staff was fortunate enough to see an old familiar face at the coaches meeting on Monday morning. Head coach Chuck Pagano, who recently finished his first round of chemotherapy for leukemia after being diagnosed in late September, was present for the early morning coaches meeting. Pagano has been in hospital isolation since his diagnosis to prevent infections. Though players weren’t present to interact with the coach, it is still a morale boost for players to see their leader improving daily. Pagano is expected to miss the remainder of the season in order to fully recover.
The Colts have won the last two meetings with the Dolphins and will look to make that three for three on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium.