The Rundown: Texans vs. Dolphins

Patrick D. Starr

The Houston Texans started the 2012 season in odd fashion and it took less than 2:03 of game time in the second quarter and turnovers for the Texans to down the Miami Dolphins. The day was highlighted by the Texans hanging their first banner from the rafters of Reliant. That put a reminder of the magical 2011 season that fans will soon not forget.


It took some time for the Texans to get warmed up and when they did they unleashed fury that resulted in four turnovers and 24 unanswered points in the blink of the eye. The Texans were far from perfect but going 1-0 was the most important outcome of game one of the season. They will have time to work out their issues and improvement is what fans should be looking for week to week.

The Rundown

- Matt Schaub came back in grand fashion on Sunday and went 20/31 for 266 yards and one touchdown. He was pinpoint with his accuracy and looked as confident as ever running the offense. His day would have been bigger but there were five dropped passes by his receivers. The offense looks much more complex with him as the quarterback and his ability to spread the ball around.

Completions | Targets

Andre Johnson 8 | 10 One Drop

Kevin Walter 2 | 2  Note: Drew a pass interference penalty

Lestar Jean 1 | 2 One Drop

Keshawn Martin 0 | 2 One Drop

Owen Daniels 4 | 7

James Casey 1 | 2

Arian Foster 1 | 3 Two drops

Ben Tate 3 | 3

- The safety play of the Texans was a nice saving grace for the defense and Glover Quin and Danieal Manning answered the call when it counted the most. Quin made a great hit on Dolphins running back Daniel Thomas to cause a fumble, and finished the game with 6 tackles. As for Manning, he helped when the Texans needed help to stop the run game of the Dolphins. Manning was dropped into the box to help with run support and he played fast, caused disruption, and made plays to help turn the tide for the defense.

- The inside linebacker play, to say the least, was not the best we have seen in Houston. Both Bradie James and Brian Cushing struggled, especially in run support. James was so lost that Tim Dobbins replaced him in the second quarter. James was not playing downhill and looked lost on his run reads, and a couple of times he was running the opposite direction of the football. As for Cushing, he looked tentative and at times bothered by his rib injury. To make matters worse, he was dinged up on his interception when he was slammed to the ground. Also, Cushing showed some poor tackling which he normally doesn't do, he is a strong wrap up tackler. Call it the lack of football conditioning or slowed by his injury, let's hope he can get back on track against Jacksonville.

- The offensive line was average on Sunday and Wade Smith and Antoine Caldwell both gave up quarterback sacks. The group looked like they were still trying to get their footing and understand each other on the field. They got a good test with the Dolphins stout defensive line and there is plenty of work to be done before next week. The run game has to get better, and it starts with the five lineman up front. Derek Newton was average and he let some pressure get to Schaub, but he too had some bright spots in pass protection and run blocking.

- J.J. Watt is turning into a special player before our eyes, and his success is carrying over from last season. Watt deflected 4 passes (two went for interceptions) and caused a holding penalty against Jake Long that pushed the Dolphins out of field goal range. He also chipped in with 3 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks, and this is for a player who played ZERO snaps in the preseason due to his dislocated elbow. He was a man on a mission on Sunday and he is earning respect around the league each time he takes the field. Watt is a hard-worker and his influence on the defense is apparent.

- Andre Johnson looked healthy and once again proved why he is one of the best players in the NFL. Johnson had 8 catches for 119 yards and a touchdown, and he did it every way possible. He went deep, ran crossing routes, slants and even came out of the backfield for a reception. He looked healthy and the coaches kept a close eye on his snap count, with only 49 snaps for Johnson on Sunday. Expect Kubiak to keep a close eye on his prized offensive weapon and do what he has to in order to keep him healthy for the 2012 season.

- Little pressure was given off the edge by Connor Barwin, Brooks Reed and Whitney Mercilus. The Dolphins game planned well and had quick passes that wouldn't give the Texans' outside linebackers time to get to Ryan Tannehill. They were non existent in the pass rush but did a decent job of setting the edge in the run defense. They did not light up the stat sheet but expect them to get going sooner than later.

- We will give the horrid start to the season for the special teams one free pass, but they have to get better. Coverage, kickoffs, punting and returning were all well below average. Hopefully the Texans can do something positive on the teams soon. Trindon Holliday needs to get the butterflies out, and regain the confidence he had in the preseason. Coverage teams are better and he will no longer be going against 3rd string coverage units. All eyes are on Holliday and being a smart, confident returner is the first step for him.

- The only real injury of note was Tim Dobbins who was injured on a special teams tackle. His neck was a concern but word today says he suffered a broken nose on the tackle. He is scheduled to return to practice on Wednesday.

You can follow Patrick on Twitter. He is the Editor of State of the Texans.

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