INDIANAPOLIS -- Future Hall of Famer Dan Marino gave a lesson to the student -- top draft pick Peyton Manning -- with some help from the Miami defense.
Marino, armed with a more potent running game, helped spoil the NFL debut of Manning as the Dolphins defeated the Indianapolis Colts 24-15 Sunday.
Marino's statistics weren't spectacular, although he added to his NFL records by completing 13 of 24 passes for 135 yards. His biggest play was a 44-yard TD toss to Oronde Gadsden.
"Early on, they played a lot of zone. They didn't rush many, so we had time to hold it," said Marino, who did most of his damage in the first half.
Manning had his running game stifled by Miami's defense as Marshall Faulk was limited to 56 yards on 24 carries. The Dolphins also sacked the former Tennessee star four times for 29 yards.
He managed to complete 21 of 37 passes for 302 with three interceptions, including one Terrell Buckley returned 21 yards to give Miami a 24-9 lead.
Manning's final completion came on a 6-yard TD toss to Marvin Harrison with no time left on the clock. A conversion pass fell incomplete.
"It's always important to win on the road, especially in your division," said Marino, who lost his previous four visits to the RCA Dome.
Marino and both coaches liked what they saw of Manning.
"He's going to be a good quarterback for a long time. He showed a lot of guts. He hung in there against a lot of pass rush in tough situations," Marino said.
"Peyton played better than what I saw of him in preseason. He is the type of player who can light it up and he can make things happen," Miami coach Jimmy Johnson said.
"He made plays. That's what a quarterback has got to do. He made some big time plays in critical situations," Indianapolis coach Jim Mora said.
Gadsen's score in the second quarter was the first of two TDs by Miami in 27 seconds. The 6-foot-2 wide receiver came back to the ball, outleaped 5-8 Tyrone Poole, broke his tackle near the 5-yard line and then stretched the ball into the end zone as Robert Blackmon attempted a tackle.
Following the kickoff, Manning's pass went straight into the arms of Buckley at the Indianapolis 16, and he returned it 12 yards. Two plays later, Karim Abdul-Jabbar leaped over a tackler into the end zone on a 4-yard run.
Abdul-Jabbar outrushed the entire Indianapolis team with 108 yards on 23 carries.
"I was very happy with the way Karim ran the ball," said Johnson, who ordered more of a change to the running game after Miami finished 9-7 last year and only had a rusher gain 100 yards in two games.
Mixing the running of Abdul-Jabbar and John Avery with Marino's right arm, Miami moved from its 20 to score on a 22-yard field goal by Olindo Mare following the opening kickoff.
The Colts tied the score 3-3 as Mike Vanderjagt kicked a 51-yard field goal in his first NFL attempt, extending the league record to 13 consecutive years that a Colts kicker has had at least field of 50 or more yards.
The tie lasted about three minutes before Marino, limited to just 71 yards passing when the Colts embarrasssed the Dolphins 41-0 last year, connected with Gadsen.
The Colts began an 11-play drive late in the third quarter at the Miami 21 and settled for a 27-yard field goal by Vanderjagt after Faulk was stopped for a 1-yard loss at the 10 on a third-and-1 play.
Manning, hoping to become the first rookie quarterback to lead the Colts to victory in a season-opener since George Shaw in 1955, moved the team again after the Colts recovered a fumbled punt. But Indianapolis settled for a 20-yard field goal by Vanderjagt.
"When you play against a guy like Marino, you know your team is going to have to score," Manning said. "You feel like every possession you have you need to get something out of it."
[bf]NOTES:[nf] The victory was the 20th for Marino against the Colts. Marino, who began his record-setting NFL career when Manning's father Archie was still in the league back in 1973, has beaten them more times than any other NFL team. ... Marino set a Miami record as he began his 16th NFL season with the team. Offensive guard Bob Kuechenberg played 15 seasons with Miami from 1970-1984. ... Gadsden became the 49th different receiver to catch a touchdown pass from Marino. ... Faulk caught a 15-yard pass from Manning on the first play of the game, tying the team record of making at least one reception in 62 straight games. ... The Colts sold 60,587 tickets, marking the first opening day sellout at the RCA Dome since Indianapolis faced San Francisco in 1989.
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