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Sunday, November 4, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Colts 23, Dolphins 20

By James Walker


Here are some thoughts on the Indianapolis Colts' exciting 23-20 victory over the Miami Dolphins:

What it means: The Dolphins snapped a three-game winning streak and fall to 4-4. Miami had a chance to pull out a big road win but came up just short on the final drive. This was a crucial game for Miami’s playoff chances because it's battling Indianapolis (5-3) potentially for a wild-card spot in the AFC. The Colts are now up one game on the Dolphins. Indianapolis also picked up a conference win and the head-to-head matchup if it comes down to that at the end of the season.

Luck vs. Tannehill: The first meeting of highly touted rookie quarterbacks was even better than advertised. The first round in this new rivalry goes to Luck. Luck threw for 433 yards and two touchdowns. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Luck became the second rookie in NFL history to throw for 300 yards or more four times. Tannehill also had a solid game. He threw for 290 yards and one touchdown. Both quarterbacks made some amazing throws in an exciting and well-played game. Luck was drafted No. 1 overall, and Tannehill was taken with the No. 8 pick.

Hartline sighting: Miami receiver Brian Hartline got off to a fast start this year. But his production has slowed down as defenses put more focus on stopping Hartline. He finally had another big game and was Tannehill’s favorite target against the Colts. Hartline had eight receptions for 107 yards. It was Hartline's first 100-yard game since Week 4. The Dolphins need more big games from Hartline in the second half of season.

Highlight play by Bush: Miami starting running back Reggie Bush was criticized earlier in his career for running east and west too often. But Bush had a flashback to his USC days with a second-quarter touchdown run. Bush ran a designed play to the right, then cut back left where three defenders were waiting. Bush stopped on a dime, shook all three defenders and cut back right for a touchdown.

Wake's sack streak: Miami defensive end Cameron Wake registered a sack for the fifth straight game. He got a sack and fumble against Luck in the third quarter. Wake now has 8.5 sacks on the season.

What’s next: The Dolphins will try to bounce back with an interesting two-game stretch coming up. They return home next week to play the Tennessee Titans on Nov. 11. Then, Miami has a quick turnaround on Thursday Nov. 15 with a road game against the struggling Buffalo Bills (3-5). Both are winnable games for the Dolphins, but they must stay focused with two games in five days.