Houston vs. Miami: 5 Second-Half Adjustments the Texans Must Make
Going into halftime, the Texans are clearly the dominant team so far in the game. The score, statistics and general tone of the game all point toward continued success in the second half.
There is always room for improvement, though, and the Texans are no exception. During the halftime break, here are five adjustments the Texans may want to contemplate making to finish up the game.
1. Stop Relying so Heavily on Arian Foster
Arian Foster is an amazing running back, but he is simply one man in Houston’s offense. He’s also injured and has had limited play time even during the preseason.
With the game on the line it might make sense to rely heavily on your star running back, but the Texans have the game firmly in hand at this point. It's time to let Ben Tate pick up some of the workload.
The Texans must take this opportunity to play for the future as well as the present. Give Foster fewer reps in the second half to help ensure that he'll be able to play at better strength next week.
2. Fire Up the Offensive Line
Matt Schaub is a decent quarterback, but you’d have a hard time guessing that after the first half of the game. Schaub has spent more time running for his life and scrambling to make plays than he has spent comfortably in the pocket.
The Texans' offensive line has got to find an answer to the Dolphins' pass-rush, and they must become better at picking up blitzes to cover Schaub more effectively. The pressure on Schaub is going to eventually take its toll, either in the form of an injury or a turnover.
With Arian Foster playing the game with an injury, the Texans need their starting quarterback to be in the best shape possible.
3. Improve Red-Zone Performance
The Texans have torn Miami's defense apart both in the air and on the ground for the majority of every drive.
But the notable exception to that dominant performance has come when it really counts: in the red zone.
Going into the half, the Texans have settled for field goals in multiple situations that could (and should) have been touchdowns. Instead, the Miami defense has walked all over them while defending their end zone.
The Texans must find a way to capitalize on their drives more effectively. They started to do better in the second quarter, and they need to find a way to continue that trend.
4. Shut Down the Dolphins' Long Pass Game
The Dolphins are having trouble with their pass game, which speaks well to the Texans' defensive prowess. If they want to close out the deal, however, they need to stop committing stupid penalties and find a way to actually shut down the downfield passing game.
Chad Henne is having a field day with long bombs down the field. The Dolphins have not had great success capitalizing on those big plays yet, but the momentum swings a little bit further their way every time Henne connects with one of his receivers for long yardage.
If the Texans want to take full control of the game, they must get better penetration against the Dolphins' offensive line to increase the pressure on Henne. He’ll have a harder time achieving those huge pass plays if he’s busy scrambling to avoid a sack.
5. Continue Spreading the Ball Around
Thus far, the Texans have done a good job of spreading the field and sending the ball to the open man. Matt Schaub can't afford to become complacent in the second half by focusing on his favorite receivers.
They have the Miami defense reeling right now with a fairly balanced running and passing attack, and the way to continue that is to continue making sure that the Dolphins can't predict where the ball is going to go.