For the Colts, Sunday’s halftime was about more than marching bands. It was a time to make adjustments. Despite holding an edge in total yards and time of possession, the Colts trailed the Miami Dolphins on the scoreboard 17-13 when they headed to the locker room after the first 30 minutes.
There, said Colts defenders after the game, the Colts coaching staff made some adjustments that were the key to securing the 23-20 victory that sent them to 5-3.
The first half saw the Colts surrender three scoring drives, two that went for Miami touchdowns. A big part of the Dolphins’ first half success was there third down efficiency where they converted three of five times. That allowed Miami to string together their two touchdown drives. The other was a schematic advantage.
The Dolphins offense seemed to have the Colts defense guessing the entire half. Dwight Freeney confirmed that after the game, revealing that the Colts’ defense was “off balance” most of the first half. Several times the Dolphins caught the Colts defense in mismatches where a Colts linebacker was in single coverage against a running back or wide receiver. One such time was the Dolphins first touchdown where running back Charles Clay beat linebacker Pat Angerer for a 31 yard touchdown pass.
To a man, the Colts’ defenders credited their coaches for making the necessary adjustments at the half that would limit the Dolphins to only three second half points. Angerer admitted that he was beaten in coverage, but credited the coaches for making the necessary changes at the half.
“We adjusted and changed it up (coverages). The coaches made some good adjustments and that’s a credit to them. We just did what they told us to do.”
Fellow linebacker Justin Hickman echoed Angerer’s praise for the coaches:
“They’ve done a great job all year making halftime adjustments. The guys in the (press)box are doing a great job. They come in and give us a break down so we can make plays in the second half.”
The difference was night and day. The Dolphins converted only one third down in six second half attempts. Where the Dolphins only had to punt once in the first half, they were forced to punt three times in the second half and turned the ball over on downs on their final possession.
While Cory Redding acknowledge the adjustments made, he also credited his teammates for stepping up and changing their approach in the second half:
“It’s attitude, attitude, attitude. It was us putting our foot down, saying enough is enough and going out and making plays to win the game.”
In particular, Redding was complimentary of his defensive linemates who looked like video game opponents in the first half while Reggie Bush juked his way into the end zone. Redding said their refusal to point fingers and stay together enabled them to stop Bush in the second half. The Dolphins gained only 23 yards on the ground in the second half.
Because the defense made plays and got the Dolphins off the field, Andrew Luck and the offense were able to make enough plays to give the Colts the lead. In the end, that team effort has the Colts heading to Jacksonville on Thursday at 5-3 and very much in the thick of the playoff conversation halfway through the season.
Chuck Chapman is entering his second season as the editor and lead writer for Colts 101. He also covered the Cincinnati Bengals for the Sports Media 101. Chuck and his family are originally from Ohio, but have settled in Central Indiana and become big Colts fans. You can read Chuck’s other writing about the Colts at www.colts101.com.
Tags: cory redding, Dwight Freeney, Justin Hickman, pat angerer
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