The Indianapolis Colts lost running back Vick Ballard to a season ending knee injury during practice this week, and that places the rushing game on veteran Ahmad Bradshaw ahead of Sunday’s matchup against the fearsome Miami Dolphins defense at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Signed in the offseason with more than 4,000 career rushing yards, Bradshaw was expected to split carries with second-year player Ballard, but now he’ll face the brunt of a Miami defensive front that appeared unstoppable at times against Cleveland.
Overall, the Dolphins picked off Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden three times and only allowed 47 rushing yards. All-Pro defensive end Cameron Wake had 2.5 sacks and six total quarterback hits on Weeden, and corner Dimitri Patterson had two of the interceptions, for seven overall in his career.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill passed for 272 yards and his touchdown to receiver Brian Hartline in the third quarter gave Miami the lead for good.
However the Dolphins running game left plenty to be desired. Daniel Thomas did reach paydirt on a one-yard run, but starter Lamar Miller totaled three yards on 10 carries, and Miami had 20 rushing yards in the game.
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Miller and the Dolphins might have a better day against a Colts defense that surrendered 171 rushing yards, but still prevailed 21-17 over the Oakland Raiders thanks to another comeback from second-year quarterback Andrew Luck.
Indianapolis allowed Oakland passer Terrelle Pryor to set a new franchise record with 102 yards on the ground, but down 17-14 with 11 minutes remaining in the four quarter, Luck put together an 11-play 80-yard drive that culminated in a 19-yard touchdown run from the quarterback.
Receiver Reggie Wayne had eight receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown, and Dwayne Allen notched another catch for 20 yards and a score.
Allowing four sacks last week, the Colts offensive line received plenty of flak from owner Jim Irsay, who took to Twitter to demand better protection of Luck. How they respond to their boss, and to the Dolphins pass rush might be the key of the game.
The game begins at 1 p.m. ET and will be broadcast by CBS or watch a live online stream by purchasing NFL Game Access here.
Betting Odds: Indianapolis is favored by 3 points.
Over/Under: 42.5 points
Prediction: Indianapolis 20, Miami 14