This time, Mike Wallace was smiles.
A week after Wallace grumpily left a winning locker room, unhappy with his role in the team’s opener, Wallace was back to his normal sunny self on Sunday.
Nine catches for 115 yards and his first touchdown as a Dolphin will have that effect.
“I feel like we can compete with anybody,” Wallace said. “We don’t go out to practice just to practice. We work to be the best in the game. We want to be the best in the game. We’ve got a lot of work to do. But we feel like we have the players to do it.”
Unlike in Cleveland, when Wallace wasn’t targeted at all in the first half, the Dolphins got their star receiver involved early against the Colts. Ryan Tannehill threw to him three times on the first drive — all completions, including a bubble screen that went 18 yards for a touchdown.
“I feel like it’s easy for any player when you’re involved early in the game,” Wallace said. “You get a feel of the game.”
The Dolphins also did a better job in diversifying his routes, having Wallace run short drags and screens in addition to go-routes.
Starting corner Dimitri Patterson was in uniform Sunday but did not play, sidelined by a groin injury that knocked him out of the season opener.
Patterson said he tested out the injury before the game, but it didn’t respond the way he needed to play. He hopes to be back for next week’s home opener against Atlanta.
Nolan Carroll started in Patterson’s place, and Jimmy Wilson was elevated to the nickel corner position. The Colts tested Wilson early, particularly with T.Y. Hilton. But Wilson, like the Dolphins’ entire pass defense, improved as the game went on.
“We came out [of halftime] with the mind-set that it was 0-0,” Wilson said. “We had to play our [butts] off.”
Dolphins defensive tackle Paul Soliai left the game in the fourth quarter with a knee injury. He did not return, but said afterwards he expected to be fine.
In the Dolphins’ locker room, he appeared to walk without a limp and didn’t have ice on the injury.
Soliai, who is in the final year of his contract, had a number of close calls Sunday, including one play in which his right leg was bent sideways awkwardly.
Dannell Ellerbe’s left shoulder was heavily wrapped in ice after the game.
This and that
• Randy Starks’ one-finger salute to the Dolphins’ sidelines did little to shake up the depth chart at defensive tackle.
A week after flipping the bird following a sack, Starks again came off the bench behind Jared Odrick. Starks finished with a quarterback hit and helped corral Andrew Luck in the game-clinching fourth-down sack.• Dolphins inactives: QB Pat Devlin, CB Jamar Taylor, RB Mike Gillislee, CB Will Davis, LB Josh Kaddu, G Danny Watkins and G Dallas Thomas.
• The Dolphins did not commit a penalty Sunday. The Colts committed three for 13 yards.
• John Denney now has played in all 130 games of his career with the Dolphins. On Sunday, he tied Jason Taylor for the most consecutive games played in franchise history.
• Former Dolphins guard Donald Thomas sustained a quad tendon tear in the first quarter and will need season-ending surgery.
• Tannehill, Chris Clemons and Brandon Fields served as team captains.