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Manning Quick-Strikes Colts To 27-23 Win Over Dolphins

One would think that if your team’s offense has possession of the football for less than 15 minutes, you instantly think “I am so screwed”? If you thought that sentiment, then for once, you would be incorrect.

Yet that is exactly what happened to the Indianapolis Colts as they went to Land Shark Stadium (what a really weird corporate name for a sports facility) to take on the Miami Dolphins Monday night. To give you an idea how ball control can sometimes come to bite you in the rear, the Dolphins totally dominated the clock as they had the ball on offense for 45+ minutes. Yet something funny happened on the field at Land Shark.

Chalk it up to some big passing plays by Colts quarterback Peyton Manning along with some questionable time management by the coaches on the Dolphins’ side late in the fourth quarter. The end result? Indianapolis got a late touchdown pass from Manning to wide receiver Pierre Garcon, enabling the Colts to escape Land Shark Stadium with a narrow 27-23 win.

Miami even bested Indianapolis in total offense (although to be fair, they did have the ball for 45 minutes) as the Wildcat offense worked to perfection and quarterback Chad Pennington was efficient. The weirdness began when Manning hooked up with tight end Dallas Clark with an 80-yard TD strike, giving Indianapolis a very early 7-0 lead.

Six minutes later, Miami got on the board, courtesy of a 14-yard TD run by running back Ronnie Brown, tying things at 7; the second quarter was a field goal-fest as Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri converted from 43 and 48 yards while Dolphins K Dan Carpenter made a pair from 45 and 44, which would knot things up at 13 at halftime.

The third quarter was basically a Miami period, ball control-wise, yet no scoring from either side; tied at 13 going into the fourth quarter, a pair of Browns ran for TD’s (Ronnie for Miami and Donald for Indianapolis) which tied things up at 20 at the 10-minute mark of the final frame. Carpenter would add a 45-yard FG with 3:50 left in the game, then Manning and Co. kicked it up a notch.

On their last series, Manning surgically slit apart the Dolphins’ secondary as he hit kep passes to WR Reggie Wayne and Clark. Then came the key TD pass from Manning to Garcon which went for 48 yards with 3:18 left to go.

The Dolphins, thanks to some very questionable time management, would run the ball when circumstances such as this would require Pennington to throw the ball, Yet they ran the ball, which ate up precious time off the game clock; when Pennington finally threw the ball with under a minute left, it was too little too late as his Hail Mary pass would dash Miami’s chances for the victory.

Manning put up good numbers in relation to the number of times he threw the ball, going 14-for-23 for 303 yards and 2 TD’s while Pennington went 22-for-32 for 183 yards and an interception (courtesy of the last-second, Hail-Mary pass). The Colts’ minimal running game was led by Joseph Addai as he ran for 32 yards on 6 carries while Brown added26 yards with a score. Meanwhile, the Dolphins’ running attack was led by Brown with 136 yards on 24 carries with a TD while Ricky Williams added 69 on 19 rushing attempts.

Clark led all Colts receivers with 7 receptions for 183 yards and a TD while Garcon caught only one pass, buit for 48 yards and the winning score. Ted Ginn, Jr. led the Dolphins receivers with 11 receptions for 108 yards.

Indianapolis (2-0), with this surreal victory, will now travel to Glendale, AZ to take on the Arizona Cardinals Sunday night while Miami (0-2) makes the long flight to Qualcomm Stadium to face the San Diego Chargers – also on Sunday.

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