There's one thing everyone will remember about the Miami Dolphins loss to the Houston Texans in Week 1 of the 2013 NFL season. No, it's not the 30-10 score. No, it's not that Ryan Tannehill was starting his first NFL regular season contest. No, it's not even the brutal six minutes that ended the first half.
It's J.J. Watt.
Watt deflected pass after pass from Tannehill, causing Dolphins fans all to panic that there was something wrong with the mechanics of their rookie quarterback. Clearly, he was delivering the ball too low. His release point had to change. The 2012 season would be a long one, since now teams know they can swat every Tannehill pass at the line of scrimmage.
Little did we know, Watt would continue to swat passes the entire year.
It sure was a sickening feeling, watching Tannehill's passes bounce up in the air like that. The rookie finished teh game 20-for-36 for 219 yards with three interceptions and no touchdowns.
The majority of the first half actually was pretty good for the visiting Dolphins. They had held Houston to just three points through the first 24 minutes of the game, and were closing in on halftime tied with the heavily favored Texans. Then, chaos ensued.
During the final six minutes of the second half, the Texans found the endzone three times, twice on the ground from Arian Foster and once on a 14-yard pass from Matt Schaub to Andre Johnson. Those scores were set up by all three of Tannehill's interceptions, giving the defense no chance to make a stand. Instead of a 3-3 scoreline, the halftime mark was now 24-3, and the Dolphins would not be able to respond.
The lone touchdown for Miami would come in the third period, as Marcus Thigpen returned a punt 72 yards, bringing the Dolphins back to within two scores. However, Houston would stretch it back to a 20 point margin with two field goals.
The Dolphins limped out of Houston realizing there was a lot of work left to do, especially in pass coverage and with their receiving corps. However, other than a six minute stretch at the end of the first half, Miami did not play that badly.
Looking back now, that game, unfortunately, seemed to have defined the Dolphins' season. In games and in playoff contention, until mistakes knocked them down.
Hopefully, 2013 is a different year for the Dolphins, starting with tonight's game against the Texans.