Texans vs. Dolphins Take 2: A Closer Look at Week One

Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistSeptember 11, 2012

Meh, that was ok, I guess.
Meh, that was ok, I guess.Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE

It's easy to see a final score of 30-10 and scoot right past on to another game, but the Texans' win over the Dolphins requires a second look.

After my initial recap, I always like to go back and rewatch the game, because with multiple division contests all played at the same time, I can't dedicate myself to any one of them.

Here's what I saw while revisiting the only win for the AFC South in Week 1.


Real Storyline

There was a lot of "yeah, buts..." surrounding the Houston win, but after absorbing the game again, they aren't entirely warranted.

The Texans weren't as efficient as they could have been on offense, but the outcome of the game was never really in doubt.

The defense was in firm control of the Miami offense which only crossed midfield three times before the fourth quarter. Miami only passed the Houston 40 once. It's hard to argue they were ever in position to upset the Texans.

On the other side of the ball, the Dolphins have a credible defense, so it's not surprising the Texans' offense was limited. Still, they constantly moved the ball and penetrated into Miami territory twice early in the game without putting points on the board.

There were some modest concerns running the ball in short yardage situations which made the Texans' offense sputter. They were just 1-for-6 running the ball on third down or goal-to-go and less than two yards. A little better execution on a handful of plays and the score would have been even more lopsided.



The domination by J.J. Watt has been well documented, so let's take a moment to recognize the bang-up play by Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels. 

The two Pro Bowl-caliber targets for Matt Schaub destroyed the Miami secondary.

How good was Johnson? All eight of his catches resulted in a first down or touchdown. 

How good was Daniels? All four of his catches resulted in a first down.

Schaub was looking deep all game, and the primary targets were the Texans' best offensive weapons. Houston had 15 first downs passing, and 12 of them were from Johnson or Daniels.



It's hard to find a goat in a game where the opposing offense didn't score and the Texans didn't commit a single turnover.

Trindon Holliday didn't have a good effort, and his muffed kick return on the goal line forced Houston to begin a drive at the five.

He later brought a kick out of the endzone, but only advanced it to the Houston 14.


Secret Play

With score tied at three, Houston faced 2nd-and-7 from the Miami 27 with 2:30 to play in the first half.

Schaub dropped back to pass, felt the rush and darted into a void in the middle of the field. He slid down for a two-yard gain.

This play was significant because it represented a change from earlier in the game. It was a bad sack at the Miami 30 that backed Houston up on the first drive when they looked to open the game with a score.

This time, Schaub showed better awareness, escaped and created a manageable conversion chance. He hit Daniels for the first down on the next play.

Arian Foster then took the first-down hand-off 14 yards for a score, and the game would never be tied again.


Coaching Notes

Gary Kubiak struck a nice balance between aggression and preserving the lead.

The Texans spent most of the third and fourth quarters burning clock and preventing any opportunity for the Dolphins to come back.

This would have been an easy game for a team to overlook, but Kubiak had them prepared.


Keep an Eye On

The same bugaboos that have lurked for Houston are still visible after Week 1. Other than Johnson and Daniels, there's a lot of questions about where the rest of the passing offense will come from. Both players need to stay healthy for the team to fulfill its potential.

The Jaguars may be better equipped than Miami to exploit the Texans' weakness up the middle. Watch for Maurice Jones-Drew to pound the middle of the Houston front in Week 2.