Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 11/5/12
DAVIE, Fla. Miami Dolphins coordinator Kevin Coyle really wasn't in the mood to talk Sunday night. The Dolphins had just lost 23-20 at Indianapolis, where Coyle's defensive unit had been exploited big-time by Andrew Luck and the Colts. Nevertheless, Coyle was on the phone with his wife. "She said, You know, you guys have lost three games by three points each.' I hadn't really thought of that, that hadn't even crossed my mind," Coyle said. "When she said that, it kind of dawned on me that yeah, we're making progress but we're not where we want to be. We can be better, and I think the players know that and we're not going to accept anything less." The first year of a new coaching staff undoubtedly had been expected to bring its share of growing pains. In fact, not many people thought Miami would be a respectable 4-4 through Week 9. But while Sunday's final score was close, other statistics were not. The most embarrassing numbers for Miami were the Colts' 516 total yards, 27 first downs and 6.9 yards per play. The coming weeks will determine if Miami's defensive performance in Indianapolis goes down simply as a bad game or as the most obvious sign of some major issues. "I don't think it's a big step back. I think it's a disappointment for all of us," Coyle said of the effort. "We've been building something here one game is not going to set us back." Most painful for Miami was seeing the Colts convert 13 of 19 third-down opportunities. "I think we used multiple calls. We used zone. We used man. We blitzed. We spied," head coach Joe Philbin said about the inability to stop Indy on third down. "We've got to do better. I mean, it wasn't one thing. There were 19 third downs and there was enough to go around." Actually, it was one thing more than anything else: Luck. The No. 1 overall pick set a rookie NFL record by throwing for 433 yards and two touchdowns. He topped Cam Newton's 432-yard mark and joined Peyton Manning in becoming the only rookies to produce four 300-yard passing games. "They say we were playing a rookie. Not today we weren't," defensive tackle Randy Starks said after the game. Luck especially played beyond his years when faced with adversity. He seemed unfazed by pressure and displayed an uncanny ability to slide in the pocket. "We hit him 11 or 12 times where we got to him but we didn't sack him but one time," Coyle said. "He made a couple of throws as he going down to the ground, a couple of throws running away from the line of scrimmage. "To his credit, he's very good in the pocket. He has great poise for a young player. As you watch him on tape, you see things that he does that you see a lot of veteran players in the league not do." A game such as Sunday's negatively affects a defense's ranking, and this time was no different. Miami fell from 22nd to 24th in total defense and from 27th to 29th in pass defense. Of course, Miami faces a league-high 44.5 passes per game. Tampa Bay (41.2) is the only other team defending more than 40 passes per game. "When you make teams throw the ball as much as we are, usually good things are going to happen sooner or later it didn't yesterday," Coyle said. Up next are the Tennessee Titans, who lost to Chicago 51-20 on Sunday. Titans second-year quarterback Jake Locker might return from a dislocated left shoulder that has sidelined him since Week 4. If Locker can't go, the Dolphins will face veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. "They're kind of a system team, they're gonna run their offense," Coyle said. "I don't think the one quarterback changes thing dramatically." After all, neither QB has "Luck" on his back.
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