A lot of the pre-game media analysis on this game said that a desperate Miami Dolphins team would pull one out at home against the Houston Texans. Perhaps fans should remember that as the Texans scrapped and fought to pull out a 23-13 victory over the Dolphins.
Early on, the game looked as if it would be easy as the offense was moving through the Dolphin defense like fingers through wonderfully tender BBQ. Houston, however, would have to settle for two Neil Rackers field goals in the red zone. Unlike last season, settling for field goals wasn't a bad omen for the rest of the game.
The defense held up their end of the bargain early on with constant pressure in the face of Miami quarterback Chad Henne. Outside linebacker Mario Williams, to single out a player, was able to knock one pass down on one play and would hit Henne's arm on another. That wobbly ball would find Jonathan Joseph for his first Texan interception which would set up a Matt Schaub-to-Owen Daniels touchdown pass that put Houston up 13-3. A late 2nd quarter Rackers field goal would make the score 16-3 at halftime.
After that, the Texans sputtered and hobbled. All-Pro running back Arian Foster left the game with a re-aggravated hamstring injury and Joseph would be out, in, and out once again with a right ankle injury. Meanwhile, the Dolphins would utilize the Henne-to-Brandon Marshall combination, mixed in with 107 Daniel Thomas rushing yards, to cut into the lead and make it 16-13.
Despite an ugly start, Schaub, Ben Tate, and the Texans offense would buckle down and steamroll down the field on a five-play, 63-yard drive that was capped off on a 23-yard game-sealing touchdown pass to a wide open Andre Johnson. Yes, Andre Johnson was left open in a critical part of the game.
The defense would stand up to Miami for one more drive with a sack by Antonio Smith, his second of the season, and another swatted pass by rookie J.J. Watt, who also blocked a field goal in the first quarter, to effectively close out the game with a 23-13 win.
The Texans are now 2-0 and in first place of the wide-open AFC South. Check out Battle Red Blog for more post-game reaction and analysis. Keep following both SBN Houston and BRB with all the pre-game stories for Houston's week 3 match-up with the New Orleans Saints.
M. Schaub - 21/29 for 230 yards and 2 TDs (118.5 QB Rating)
B. Tate - 23 rushes for 103 yards, 4 receptions for 32 yards
A. Johnson - 7 receptions for 93 yards and 1 TD
Brian Cushing - 10 tackles
A. Smith & Connor Barwin - 1 sack each
J. Joseph - 2 passes defensed, 1 interception