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INDIANAPOLIS — Live by the close game, get humbled by the close game.
The Indianapolis Colts’ well-deserved reputation for pulling magic out of thin air absorbed a few minor dents Sunday in their 24-20 loss to Miami at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Plays that normally are made weren’t as Indy fell behind early, rebounded to take a lead and then fell behind again — this time for good in falling to 1-1 on the season.
“I’m disappointed in the loss, obviously. We had our chances. We just didn’t make enough plays,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “We’ve got to play consistent football for 60 minutes, so we’ve got some things to clean up. It’s the National Football League. It doesn’t get any easier.”
While taking a 2-0 mark to San Francisco later this week would have been much more to the coach’s liking, Indianapolis must shoulder the blame and move forward.
The Colts enjoyed advantages in total yards (454-420), first downs (23-21) and time of possession (30:34-29:26), yet still fell short where it mattered most.
Miami (2-0) led 14-3 after one quarter thanks to touchdowns from ultra-fast receiver Mike Wallace and tailback Lamar Miller.
Wallace’s 18-yarder came on a pass from second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill with 9:43 of the first with Miller cashing in on a 10-yard run at the 2:54 mark. Wedged in-between was a 30-yard field goal by Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, who earlier had hit the left upright from 52 yards out.
Indianapolis eventually surged ahead 17-14 on TDs from tight end Coby Fleener and running back Ahmad Bradshaw. Miami tied it at 17-17 on a 54-yard Caleb Sturgis field goal as time expired in the second quarter.
Another Vinatieri boot early in the third put the home team on top 20-17. Miami countered with a 1-yard plunge from Charles Clay that, surprisingly, concluded the game’s scoring with still more than a quarter to play.
The Colts’ final gasp came with 3:57 remaining and Indianapolis starting from its own 14.
Four plays immediately netted 45 yards, a 14-yard run by quarterback Andrew Luck, a 5-yard pass to Bradshaw followed by a 22-yarder to Griff Whalen and Donald Brown’s 4-yard run.
Just like that, the Colts were at Miami’s 41 with 1:55 to play.
Plenty of time ... for the Dolphins to produce a stone wall on defense.
Luck’s 18-yard timing pattern to Reggie Wayne got Indianapolis as close as the Miami 23. The quarterback then threw three straight incompletions and on fourth-and-10 was sacked by Dolphins linebacker and former Colts player Philip
“Disappointing last series. I don’t think I handled a lot of those plays well,” said Luck, who finished 25 of 43 for 321 yards and ran the ball for another 38 on four carries. “We just didn’t make the plays when it counted. They did, so credit to them. They deserved to win.”
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