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 questionable after leaving last week's loss at Pittsburgh and star wide receiver T.Y. Hilton listed as doubtful, 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.
"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 against the Steelers. 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.
Backup quarterback Brian Hoyer 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.
Colts coach Frank Reich said the key to whether Brissett plays against the Dolphins is simple: "Let's be smart."
"Jacoby's old school, now," Reich said Wednesday. "So this guy is as tough as they come. But we gotta do the right thing for him and for our team, and we'll just see how it plays out. He's our quarterback, we want him to play, and if he's ready to play, then he'll be the starter."
In addition to Hilton and wideout Parris Campbell (hand), safety Malik Hooker (knee) also did not practice. Cornerback Pierre Desir (hamstring) was limited Wednesday in practice.
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 the injuries to Brissett and the wideouts, 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 rushing yardage at 679.
--Field Level Media