Mandatory Credit: Photo by Michael Laughlin/AP/Shutterstock (13639887ae) Houston Texans tight end Jordan Akins (88) fumbles the ball after colliding with Miami Dolphins safety Eric Rowe (21) and cornerback Kader Kohou (28) during the first half of an NFL football game, in Miami Gardens, Fla. The fumble lead to a Miami Dolphins touchdown Texans Dolphins Football, Miami Gardens, United States - 27 Nov 2022

Texans boat raced out of the gate, blasted by Dolphins 30-15

It was 30-0 at the half when Miami essentially packed it in.

Another game, another flaccid performance from the Houston Texans offense. In this game, the defense also decided to be listless.

The Miami Dolphins crushed the Houston Texans 30-15. The game was never that close nor ever in doubt. It was 30-0 at the half. Only an injury concern to QB Tua Tagovailoa slowed down the Miami offense, as he was pulled for precautionary reasons early in the third quarter of a blowout.

The Texans didn’t show any signs of life on offense until Miami started playing their backups. It was already 30-0 in the third quarter when the defense made an appearance. They had the benefit of facing a third-string, rookie seventh-round draft choice quarterback who looked every bit the part of a seventh-round rookie.

The game started much as previous Texans games have started for their offense, poorly. Houston ran the ball unsuccessfully on their first two plays and went three-and-out, having gained 4 total yards.

Following a 15-yard punt return, Miami got the ball at their own 34. Nine plays and 39 yards later, they were on the board. Jason Sanders connected on a 45-yard field goal, and the Dolphins were up 3-0 less than five minutes in. Tua connected on passes of 11 and 22 yards to Jaylen Waddle and 13 yards to Tyreek Hill on the drive,

On their ensuing possession, Houston managed to run four plays before punting. The drive produced -1-yard after Kyle Allen was sacked for a 13-yard loss on a third-and-9 from the Houston 22-yard line. Another big Cam Johnston punt was needed just to keep Miami on its own side of the field to start its drive.

Starting from their own 41 following a 6-yard punt return, the Dolphins got back on the board. Following an eight-play, 59-yard drive that encompassed 4:44, Tua Tagovailoa found Durham Smythe in the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown pass to make the score 10-0. Tua found Trent Sherfield for 24 yards on the first play of the drive, then hit Hill for a 14-yard gain. On fourth-and-1 from the Texans’ 12, Tua found Sherfield again for 9 yards. Christian Harris made a big hit on Sherfield for the tackle but injured his shoulder on the play. Harris would leave the game and not return.

On the scoring play, Tua evaded multiple rushers to buy time to find Smythe in the end zone on what amounted to a broken play. Following the score, DE Jerry Hughes was furious. He stormed to the sideline and kicked a water cooler with a helmet on it. He was screaming, absolutely livid at the breakdown.

The offense continued their ineptitude, although they managed to run five plays on their next drive. Houston was gifted a first down when Miami was flagged for 12 men on the field for a first down. A first down drop by Dameon Pierce on a pass didn’t help, and on third-and-6, Allen couldn’t connect with TE O.J. Howard and Houston punted again.

Miami would have its worst starting field position of the game, beginning at its own 9. The Texans’ defense allowed 40 yards over seven plays but ultimately got their first stop of the game at the Dolphins’ 49, forcing a punt.

The Texans tried to answer the pass rush being applied by Miami with a screen pass on their first play, but it was so poorly executed Pierce needed to break three tackles to gain 1 yard. On the second play of the drive, Allen floated a ball too high for Pierce that was intercepted by Dolphins LB Andrew Van Ginkel at the Houston 26-yard line and returned to the 3, setting up first-and-goal.

Jeff Wilson Jr. would carry the ball in from 3 yards out, and the Dolphins took a 17-0 lead with 12:22 remaining in the first half.

Houston would again go three-and-out, with the only positive yards coming from an Allen scramble escaping the rush.

The Dolphins would score again on their next drive. Sanders would connect from 23 yards out to make it a 20-0 Miami lead with 6:22 remaining before the half. The Miami drive would go 10 plays and 72 yards and include a 34-yard pass to Waddle. Waddle found a huge hole between three defenders in the Texans’ zone coverage.

The Texans looked like a team losing their wheels at this point. On their ensuing possession, Allen hit Nico Collins on a screen that lost 3 yards. The play had no chance, as Collins was tightly covered, and the pass was nearly intercepted. Allen was stripped on second down by Bradley Chubb, but fortunately, Laremy Tunsil was able to recover the ball for an 11-yard loss. On third-and-24 from their own 11, Allen found TE Jordan Akins for a 7-yard gain, but Akins lost the ball. Dolphins DB Xavien Howard recovered the fumble and took it in for a 16-yard scoop and score, and the Dolphins were now up 27-0 with 4:59 to go before halftime.

Another short drive for the Texans, this one only five plays, including another sack of Allen, gave the ball back to Miami with 1:52 remaining before the break.

Starting at their own 12-yard line, Miami drove 11 plays and 71 yards as Sanders put a 35-yard field goal through at the gun to send the Dolphins to the locker room with a 30-0 lead.

Right before the field goal, Tua was sacked on a play that saw his legs get bent awkwardly underneath him. He jogged off the field with a slight but noticeable limp.

After the half, Miami started dealing with some injury concerns. The Dolphins got the ball first to start the third quarter, and on their first play, RB Jeff Wilson Jr. was injured. Myles Gaskin came on to replace him.

After a Jalen Pitre interception was nullified by a pass interference call on Steven Nelson (who knocked intended receiver Tyreek Hill to the ground on the play), the Texans sacked a noticeably less mobile Tagovailoa twice on the next three plays, forcing a punt.

The Texans’ offense went three-and-out yet again, gaining 1 yard.

Miami then also went three-and-out for the first time in the game. It involved another Tua sack. Tagovailoa was limping again following the drive and was removed from the game for precautionary reasons, with the Dolphins ahead 30-0 with 6:41 remaining in the third quarter.

Allen and the Texans would finally get on the board on their next drive.

Starting at their own 36, Houston would drive six plays and 64 yards in 3:10 to get its first touchdown of the game. Dare Ogunbowale would punch it in from 3 yards out to make the score 30-6. The drive was aided by an unnecessary roughness penalty on Miami after a 17-yard completion to Brandin Cooks set the Texans up first-and-10 at the Miami 17-yard line. Houston would go for two after the touchdown, but Ogunbowale was stopped a yard shy of the goal line.

Dolphins rookie seventh-round pick and third-string QB Skylar Thompson would enter the game for Miami as Tua would be held out to protect him, and backup Teddy Bridgewater was inactive due to an injury. Miami’s offense was completely out of sync with the former Kansas State product under center. Jeff Wilson was able to return for the Dolphins on this drive, but a fumbled snap by Thompson at his own 48 was recovered by Texans safety M.J. Stewart at midfield.

Houston would again find the end zone against the Dolphins’ reserves. Utilizing his tight ends, Kyle Allen led the Texans on a 6-play, 50-yard drive in 2:25, culminating with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Akins to make the score 30-12. Allen also hit Akins for 10 yards and TE Teagen Quitoriano for 13 on the drive. Houston went for two again, using a tackle-eligible play, but the pass bounced off the hands of LT Laremy Tunsil incomplete.

The Dolphins started their next possession at their own 25, but a pair of incomplete passes by Thompson had them go three-and-out again, utilizing only: 59 seconds of clock in a game where the clock was their only foe. Throwing the ball with the highly inexperienced rookie instead of running the ball and churning the clock seemed a curious decision by the Dolphins.

Houston would get the ball back at their own 33 with 11:47 remaining in the game. On the first play of the drive, Allen hit Cooks for a 39-yard completion, giving the Texans a first-and-10 at the Miami 28. Allen hit Nico Collins for 12 yards to convert a third-and-10, but they failed to convert third-and-4 at the Dolphins’ 10, and settled for a 28-yard Ka’imi Fairbairn field goal. The Texans were now within two scores, trailing 30-15 with nine minutes remaining.

Miami could still do nothing offensively with Thompson at quarterback, and another three-and-out forced Miami to punt. Tremon Smith returned a 55-yard punt that he fielded at his own 15 for 26 yards to the Houston 41-yard line, setting up the suddenly surging Texans offense with excellent starting field position.

This is where hope dies for The Texans.

On the first play of the drive, Allen found Cooks a 10-yard gain, but it was nullified by an illegal block call on Quitoriano. On a third-and-13 at the Houston 38, Allen was sacked and stripped. A.J. Cannrecovered the ball, but Houston was forced to punt on fourth-and-21 from their own 31.

Miami would do its best to help the Texans, however. Another three-and-out on a drive that lasted just 28 seconds would lead to another punt and more good starting field position for Houston after Desmond King returned the punt to the Texans 40 yard line with 4:31 remaining.

Houston started to drive down the field. A fourth-and-1 conversion with an Allen quarterback sneak gave the Texans a first down at midfield. Two plays later, Allen made an ill-advised throw down the right sideline for Chris Moore, who was double-covered. The pass was short and intercepted by Dolphins safety Verone McKinley III at the Miami 19. He returned it 17 yards to the 36 and effectively sealed the game.

The Dolphins finally remembered to run the football to gain a first down and then went to victory formation to run the clock out.

With the victory, Miami improved to 8-3. The Texans kept their lead position in the race for the top overall pick, falling to 1-9-1.

Next week, the Texans will host the Cleveland Browns in what is expected to be the return to the field of former Texans QB Deshaun Watson. Game time is Dec. 4 at noon from NRG Stadium.

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