With their first victory of the season in the books, the Miami Dolphins now seek their first road victory when they take on the banged-up Colts in Indianapolis on Sunday.
It's a crucial game for the heavily favored Colts (5-3), who could move into a tie for the AFC South lead with the Houston Texans (6-3) on their bye week. The Colts would own the early tiebreaker, having defeated the Texans in Week 7.
However, with starting quarterback Jacoby Brissett and star wide receiver T.Y. Hilton ruled out, the Colts need to regroup to take on a Dolphins team riding high after tasting victory for the first time under new head coach Brian Flores, 26-18 over the New York Jets last Sunday.
"I just feel like we're trending right now, and we have been the last few weeks, so it's nice to put a win in the win column," Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick told reporters Monday.
"Only thing better than one victory is two," Flores added.
Brissett strained his left MCL in the second quarter in a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday. He practiced Wednesday but was limited. He has put together a stellar season in place of the retired Andrew Luck, throwing for 1,649 yards with 14 touchdowns against just three interceptions. The team downgraded him to out on Saturday and elevated Chad Kelly from the practice squad.
Kelly will back up quarterback Brian Hoyer, who filled in capably Sunday, throwing for 168 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. He led the Colts on a 60-yard drive in the final 2 1/2 minutes, but kicker Adam Vinatieri badly missed a 43-yard field goal attempt with 1:11 remaining.
In addition to Hilton, wideout Parris Campbell is out for Sunday's game with a hand injury. Safety Malik Hooker (knee) did not practice Wednesday, but was a full participant on Thursday and Friday. Cornerback Pierre Desir (hamstring) was limited Wednesday in practice and was downgraded to doubtful on Saturday.
The Colts had won three in a row before dropping the 26-24 nail-biter in Pittsburgh. But they're back home where they're 3-1 for the season. The Dolphins, meanwhile, haven't won on the road but have been competitive since their Week 5 bye.
Fitzpatrick was reinstated as the starter coming out of the bye and has been a steadying influence on an offense that managed just 26 points through the first four games.
The veteran quarterback threw for 288 yards and three touchdowns on 24 of 36 passing against the Jets. The Colts are in the middle of the pack in yards allowed (339.9 yards per game) and points allowed per game (22.1).
With Brissett, Hilton and Campbell out, the Colts could make hay on the ground. The Dolphins come in next to last in rushing yards allowed at 150.8. And Colts running back Marlon Mack enters the game ninth in the NFL in rushing yardage at 679.
--Field Level Media