INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts didn’t have their starting quarterback and best receiver on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.
But there’s no excuse for the Colts, who lost 16-12 to the previously one-win Dolphins. That’s especially the case when you believe you’re a playoff team. A victory would have moved the Colts into first place in the AFC South.
The Colts looked nothing like a playoff team when they were shutout at halftime by a team that had been giving up nearly 32 points a game. This was supposed to be the soft portion of the schedule for the Colts, who just finished the third of four straight games against losing teams. But they’ve dropped two straight.
Veteran Brian Hoyer, who started in place of the injured Jacoby Brissett (knee), missed a number of open receivers and threw three interceptions. He finished 18-of-39 for 204 yards and a touchdown to go with the three interceptions.
The blame’s not all on Hoyer, though.
Not having their best receiver, T.Y. Hilton, took away the deep threat and no one else stepped up in his absence. The offensive line didn’t do an adequate enough job opening up holes early, as the Colts rushed for 27 yards in the first half against a Miami team that was giving up 150.8 yards a game on the rush.
But even with all of those problems, the Colts had a chance to win when they moved the ball down to Miami’s 16-yard line with 45 seconds left. But they ended up turning the ball over on downs, which basically summed up their afternoon.
Troubling trend: The Colts wouldn’t have needed a touchdown to win the game had Adam Vinatieri not missed an extra point earlier. But as has been the case all season, the NFL’s all-time leading scorer is no longer a reliable player for the Colts. Vinatieri has missed 11 kicks — six extra points and five field goals — while costing the Colts two games this season. Five of Vinatieri’s six missed extra points have come when the game was within three points, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Every every kicker in the NFL with at least two extra-point kicks has made over 75 percent of their extra points in that scenario this season. Vinatieri is at 16.7 percent.
Buy on a breakout performance: Colts pass-rusher Justin Houston has recorded a sack in five straight games after picking up his seventh of the season. He’s just the fifth player in Colts history to have at least one sack in five straight games. Robert Mathis, who helped recruit Houston to Indianapolis and meets with him on a regular basis to watch game film, had at least one sack in five straight games three times during his 14-year career with the Colts.