Miami Dolphins

Dolphins vs. Colts: Who won the key matchups?

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill gets assistance from team trainers on the final series in the fourth quarter as they play the Indianapolis Colts at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens on December 27, 2015.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill gets assistance from team trainers on the final series in the fourth quarter as they play the Indianapolis Colts at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens on December 27, 2015. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

Dolphins in red zone vs. Colts defense

Who won: Colts

Impact: Aside from the Dolphins’ touchdown, the four other trips inside the Colts 20-yard line resulted in two field goals, an end-zone interception and a game-killing dog-pile sack. Three of those possessions — a field goal and the two scoreless failures — saw the Dolphins get inside the Colts’ 10. Blame quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who threw inside DeVante Parker instead of outside, which resulted in a Vontae Davis interception. Blame interim head coach Dan Campbell for meekly settling for field goals on fourth-and-2 from the Colts’ 15 and fourth-and-goal from the 2. Blame not being able to push around a gassed Indianapolis defensive line.

Dolphins’ run defense vs. Colts’ running game

Who won: Colts

Impact: Indianapolis didn’t exactly steamroll the Dolphins — 100 yards on 23 carries (really 101 yards on 22 carries without the Charlie Whitehurst kneel down at the end of the game). But the Dolphins lost to a team that started a creaking 40-year-old at quarterback, 10 years past his prime, who was crunched out of the game and was replaced by career third-stringer Whitehurst. That happened because Frank Gore crashed through the Dolphins for touchdown runs of 37 and 11 yards on his way to 85 yards on 15 carries.

Dolphins’ pass protection vs. Colts’ pass rush

Who won: Colts

Impact: Somewhere, Bill Walsh smiles. The Hall of Fame coach used to say a fourth-quarter pass rush is the key to winning in the NFL. Half of Indianapolis’ six sacks came on the Dolphins’ final, futile drive. The fourth-down group sack on Tannehill ended the Dolphins last threat. The home side might’ve been in the end zone already if not for an 8-yard sack five plays earlier or the 9-yard sack by T.Y. McGill at the start of the drive. McGill’s first sack of the game was an eight-point sack — opened the scoring with a safety and the Colts drove for a touchdown after the free kick.

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