Game Preview: Indianapolis at Miami

The Dolphins return to prime time on Monday night for their home opener against the Indianapolis Colts. Here is a breakdown of the matchup.

KICKOFF: Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET

SITE: Land Shark Stadium


TV: ESPN (Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, Jon Gruden)

SERIES: 68th regular-season meeting. Dolphins lead series 44-23. Miami also has a 2-0 advantage in postseason games. The Dolphins have won eight of the past 12 games between the two franchises. Indianapolis, though, has won the last two meetings with the Dolphins, taking a 27-22 decision at the RCA Dome on Dec. 31, 2006 and a 23-17 victory in Miami on Nov. 2, 2003. Miami last defeated the Colts 21-13 on Sept. 15, 2002. The Dolphins' postseason wins came in the 1971 AFC Championship Game, 21-0 at the Orange Bowl on Jan. 2, 1972. Miami also prevailed 23-17 in overtime in a 2000 AFC wild-card matchup at Pro Player Stadium.

KEYS TO THE GAME: With a lot of youth at receiver with Pierre Garcon and rookie Austin Collie playing increased roles due to Anthony Gonzalez's injury, the Colts desperately need to improve a ground game that averaged just 2.3 yards per carry in the opener. If Indianapolis is going to control the clock, RBs Joseph Addai and Donald Brown must improve in short-yardage situations. Coach Tony Sparano preached ball control after the Dolphins turned it over four times last Sunday. When the ground game sputtered, QB Chad Pennington came under heavy fire from the pass rush, and the Colts have plenty of speed up front. Also look for more Wildcat sets after the Dolphins ran just three plays out of it in Atlanta.

FAST FACTS: This is the first time the Dolphins have opened their home schedule on a Monday night in 34 years. ... Colts QB Peyton Manning has 118 victories with the Colts, tying John Unitas' franchise record.



-- LB Cody Glenn, who had been waived from the regular-season roster on Wednesday, has been signed to the Colts' practice squad.


-- Offensive coordinator Dan Henning and Coach Tony Sparano both felt the need to get RB Patrick Cobbs some touches last week after he was limited to two kickoff returns for an average of 18.5 yards. Cobbs, a vital member of the Wildcat package last season, had no carries or passes thrown his way.

-- CBs Vontae Davis and Sean Smith, two rookies, will continue to split playing time until one separates himself from the other. For now, they will play two consecutive series and then switch, with the goal of playing about six series apiece.

-- LB Jason Taylor gained about 20 pounds to play his new position at strong-side linebacker in lieu of Matt Roth's inactive status and is getting used to the change. That said, he notched a sack in the season opener and hopes to get to Peyton Manning, a quarterback he has sacked five times over the years.

-- LB Cameron Wake cost the Dolphins about $2.6 million over four years, but the CFL import was surprisingly placed on the inactive list in the season opener. Wake has been simulating Colts DE Dwight Freeney in practice this week to give LT Jake Long extra looks after he got whipped for two sacks against the Falcons. Sparano praised Wake, usually a good indicator that he will be activated for the Colts.

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