INDIANAPOLIS – Believe it or not, the Colts were going for a bit of a rare start on Sunday afternoon.
Not since the 2009 season have the Colts started a season with two consecutive victories-having lost one or both of their opening contests the past four years.
Getting that opportunity took a little more work than some people may have expected against a rebuilding Oakland team, forcing the Colts to pull out some 2012 magic to start off 2013 the right way.
Would that continue over for another home game against the Dolphins-who coincidentally were the team the Colts beat for their last 2-0 start four years ago? Many fans of the horseshoe were hopeful but still a little concerned with a slowly improving Miami.
Those fears were confirmed Sunday afternoon at the Dolphins upended the Colts 24-20 at Lucas Oil Stadium, dropping the Colts to 1-1 on the season.
A high-scoring first half was followed by a defensive showdown in the final 30 minutes. In the end it was a third quarter Dolphins’ touchdown by Charles Clay that proved the difference as the Miami defense held off the Colts in the fourth quarter.
Under quarterback Ryan Tanneyhill the Dolphins started quickly, getting 58 yards down the field in just six plays for the opening score-an 18-yard touchdown pass from Tanneyhill to Mike Wallace. After an Adam Vinatieri field goal cut into that advantage, Miami struck again on their second offensive possession as Lamar Miller scored from ten yards out to make it 14-3.
But the Colts defense settled down and the offense under Andrew Luck finally started finishing drives. In the second quarter the quarterback hit Coby Fleener for a ten-yard touchdown to cap an 80-yard march to cut the Miami lead down to four. Late in the first half Luck took the Colts 78 yards down field for another scoring drive that was capped off by an Ahmad Bradshaw one-yard touchdown run to give the Colts a 17-14 lead.
But with 1:31 left in the half, the Dolphins weren’t finished. Tanneyhill picked up 44 yards in that time to set up kicker Caleb Sturgis for a 54-yard field goal try. After a Colts timeout wiped out his first attempt, Sturgis stepped up and easily hit the 54-yarder to tie the game at the break.
Early in the game, Colts offensive guard Donald Thomas injured his leg and was taken off the field on a stretcher and didn’t return.