FISH FOOD: 5 observations from the Houston Texans’ 30-15 loss to Miami Dolphins

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Lynne Sladky/AP/Shutterstock (13639887bf) Houston Texans guard Kenyon Green (59) looks up during the first half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, in Miami Gardens, Fla Texans Dolphins Football, Miami Gardens, United States – 27 Nov 2022

FISH FOOD: 5 observations from the Houston Texans’ 30-15 loss to Miami Dolphins

These are five things that stood out the most as the Houston Texans fell to the Miami Dolphins 30-15 in Miami in Week 12:

Kyle Allen looked unprepared: Maybe it was because the protection was hideous. Maybe it was because the Texans had no running game, as they were getting blown out from the start. Perhaps it was because, despite the media knowing Kyle Allen would start Wednesday, the coaches never gave Allen a full practice with the starters. Allen had to split reps with Davis Mills on both Wednesday and Friday, which makes no sense since, as head coach Lovie Smith previously stated, the backup gets very few reps in practice. Allen was not told until Friday that he would be the starter. Allen looked out of sync with his receivers, several of whom had instances where it looked as if they had never seen him throw them a pass. Jordan Akins, Dameon Pierce, and Nico Collins all had at least one awkward reception/attempted reception as if they weren’t expecting his pass to be delivered the way it was. There were multiple bobbled receptions. Nothing looked smooth. The results are a clear result of the lack of preparation. Allen appeared to get more comfortable in the second half, but the game was already well out of reach by then. Allen finished 26-for-39, 215 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT.

The offensive line is a wreck: Specifically, the interior of the offensive line, as they were pushed around all afternoon long by the Dolphins’ defensive front. Dameon Pierce had to break three tackles to pick up 1 yard on a screen pass. Kyle Allen was running for his life all afternoon, as he couldn’t step up in the pocket due to pressure up the middle. Dolphins defenders set up shop in the Texans’ backfield the entire game. Down as bad as they were, they never got untracked in the run game, although when the game was close enough for the Texans to run the ball, they couldn’t. Kenyon Green was finally benched during the game for Justin McCray. Green has struggled terribly for a month. They also seemed to play better in the second half when the game was already decided, and Miami wasn’t trying very hard. A.J. Cann also continues to struggle in pass protection. As a team, the Texans ran 14 times for 36 yards. Miami’s defense had five sacks, seven QB hits, and seven tackles for loss.

Houston’s zone pass coverage is one giant hole: They look less like a defense and more like a bunch of players standing around or running in random directions. Miami threw the ball at will against the Texans in the first half. Tyreek Hill took a 3-yard pass 29 yards on a play where defenders were actually running in the wrong direction. Hill and Waddle weren’t just open; they were college open. It was too easy for Dolphins receivers to find openings in the zone coverage. The Texans still have no clue how to cover crossing routes, as once a receiver starts running across the field and the first defender lets him go, no one ever picks the receiver up, something that has been a problem all year. Miami had 272 yards passing at the half. The game was over before halftime. Miami pulled Tagovailoa early in the third quarter for seventh-round pick Skylar Thompson, who looked every bit like a rookie seventh-round pick.

Pep Hamilton’s time with the Texans should be short: There’s really no excuse for the offense to have regressed so badly. Hamilton was supposed to be a massive upgrade from former offensive coordinator Tim Kelly. His offense has been an unmitigated disaster. The decision not to have Allen take all the reps with the starters in practice this week was nonsensical. The continued poor play calling, the refusal to make adjustments to assist in pass protection, the unwillingness to disguise plays or interject motion into the play calls, all of these things add up to being fired. There’s no way Hamilton could be back next year, so make the move and fire him now. They are grossly conservative in play calling, but they don’t get conservative to protect the quarterbacks. Nothing this team does offensively makes a lick of sense. Their handling of the QB change this week was laughable. Their performances are so bad we can’t even laugh anymore. The Texans may be trying to tank, but the failure to develop QB Davis Mills in any manner must have accountability. The Texans had 32 net offensive yards at the half. Yikes.

Keeping this team from coming apart due to frustration is going to be a tough job: CB Desmond King spoke earlier this week about the Texans needing to make sure their frustrations over their failures don’t tear apart the locker room. There were plenty of frustrations on display Sunday by various Texans players, none more demonstrative than by DE Jerry Hughes. Hughes was caught on camera kicking over a helmet and water cooler on the sideline coming off the field following the Dolphins’ first touchdown. It was a play where the team had pressure but allowed Tua to escape, and then Tua found his tight end in the end zone for a touchdown on a broken play. Some players are playing their hearts out and are tired of the miscommunication’s and the failures. How the team reacts to whoever winds up being the quarterback next week could be a story to watch. The gunpowder is piling up in that locker room, and it’s just waiting for a match. The Texans organization is low on credibility; how they handle the personnel changes week to week will determine how big the potential blowup is. Players had hope for a decent season at the start of the year, none of them expected to be the worst team in the NFL.

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