There’s many factors that you could point to in today’s 23-20 Indianapolis Colts’ victory over the Miami Dolphins. You could point to Andrew Luck’s career day. Another thing could be how well the Colts found a way to run the football when it mattered. You could also point to how well the defense put penetration on Dolphins’ rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Nothing was bigger though than the Colts’ third down conversions.
Indianapolis finished the day 13 for 19 on third downs as 10 of those came on third and 7+ yards. Those are situations that defenses are supposed to get off the field by knowing the opposition is passing, but the Dolphins couldn’t get to or stop Luck. Don’t fault the Dolphins on that as they were a solid football team. It is credited to the Colts are just a better football team.
Luck could scramble out of pressure and hit open guys on broken plays. That kept drives alive as he held such poise and veteran type skills to keep drives moving.
The Colts ended up with 27 first downs today and Luck threw for 22 of them. Anytime you allow a quarterback let alone a rookie quarterback to throw for 22 first downs you’re going to lose.
The execution success on key downs will make the Colts a Super Bowl contender this year. Yes, you read that right. The Dolphins were third best in the league entering today in stopping teams on third down. The Colts kept drives alive on long situations against that caliber of a defense. Imagine what they can do by the end of the year with a young team only eight games in.
Today’s win is on the shoulders of third down conversions.