For the second consecutive game, the Miami Dolphins defeated their opponent by multiple scores. After sending the Cleveland Browns home with a 22 point loss before the bye week, Miami defeated the Houston Texans by a score of 30-15 on Sunday.
However, this victory didn’t feel nearly as jubilant as the last time the guys in aqua and orange added another notch in the win column.
It was a tale of two halves.
During the first half, Miami played well on both sides of the ball, entering halftime with the score 30-0 in their favor. It wasn’t a perfect half of ball as the offense had some timing and drop issues, however it’s hard to pick nits when your squad leads by more than four touchdowns at the break.
The second half was another story, unfortunately.
Left tackle Terron Armstead left the contest with a pectoral injury, which sucked the life out of Miami’s offense — more on that later. Tua Tagovailoa only played two offensive series in the second half, yet was under constant pressure from a previously lifeless defense. Skylar Thompson would enter halfway through the third quarter and did absolutely nothing of note, as Miami’s offense was shut out during the final two quarters of play.
Still... a win is a win, and the Dolphins picked up another one of those on Sunday to retake the lead in the AFC East after twelve weeks of games.
It wasn’t perfect, but they rarely ever are. With that being said, let’s take a look back at the good, bad and ugly from Miami’s week twelve victory over the Houston Texans.
Dolphins defense forces multiple turnovers
Yes, it was against the lowly Houston Texans’ offense, yet Miami’s defense played stifling ball — especially in the first half — while forcing multiple turnovers en route to victory.
It started with a scoop and score from cornerback Xavien Howard after safety Eric Rowe blasted a Texans’ receiver, forcing the fumble on the play. It was only Howard’s third career touchdown.
Next, linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel intercepted a poorly thrown pass from Texans’ quarterback Kyle Allen, nearly returning it for the score. Running back Jeff Wilson would punch it in for the touchdown on the next offensive play.
Finally, with some Dolphins’ fans feeling a bit queasy as the Texans pulled within two scores late in the contest, rookie undrafted safety Verone McKinley III notched his first career interception on a deep pass attempt from Allen to seal Miami’s victory.
All in all, it was a solid performance from Miami’s defense — albeit against an awful offense. Let’s hope they can keep this momentum rolling next Sunday when they visit the San Francisco 49ers.
Miami’s rushing attack is nearly nonexistent against 32nd ranked run defense
After dominating the Cleveland Browns on the ground two weeks ago, many felt the Dolphins would be looking to do more of the same against the 32nd ranked run defense of the Houston Texans — even though running back Raheem Mostert missed the game with a knee injury.
Jeff Wilson ran for 119 yards against the Browns, yet against the porous Texans’ defensive unit, Wilson only managed 39 rushing yards. Miami’s total rushing output was just 66 yards on 26 attempts, good for just 2.5 yards per carry.
To blame the poor effort on Terron Armstead’s injury wouldn’t be fair, as Wilson and the rest of the offensive line couldn’t get anything going, even with their stud left tackle on the field.
It was a case of taking one step forward, only to take two steps back for Miami’s ground attack. They’ll once again need to prove that they are more than just a one-trick-pony as the season progresses, especially with cold-weather games against the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots remaining.
Left tackle Terron Armstead leaves game with pectoral injury
Terron Armstead was one of Miami’s best acquisitions this offseason. His play on the field has been outstanding, and his attitude and leadership off of the field has been a great example for the rest of the Dolphins’ offensive linemen.
Unfortunately, due to a pectoral injury suffered in the second quarter of Miami’s victory over the Texans, we may be seeing Armstead off of the field for the rest of the season more than we’ll be seeing him on it.
After Armstead left the contest, Tua Tagovailoa — in less than a quarter of action — was sacked four times with a fifth sack being negated by a Texans’ penalty.
In 2018, Armstead missed multiple games while playing for the New Orleans Saints with a previous pectoral injury. Let us all hope that this latest injury is not as serious considering Miami’s season likely depends on the health of their star left tackle — if Sunday’s second half was any indication.
Through eleven games, Miami has a record of 8-3 after rattling off five straight victories. How are you feeling after Sunday’s up and down performance against the Houston Texans? Do you think that Miami can figure out their offensive line issues if Terron Armstead misses a significant amount of time? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter at @MBrave13. Fins up!