Dolphins 28. Texans 3
The Dolphins looked like a better team than the Texans on Saturday afternoon. Miami’s worst play, an interception from quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, took place on the first play of the game. From there, the Dolphins ran over the Texans with a ground game that would just not stop.
De’Von Achane left the game with an injury, the length of that injury is unknown.
If Saturday was Miami’s dress rehearsal, it’s hard to be upset with what the Dolphins are building on both sides of the ball. Returning players look comfortable in McDaniel’s offense, the defense looks as if a coordinator is paid to make it one of the league’s best units — we’re on to the Chargers!
—Start of First Quarter —
The Miami Dolphins take the field with Isaiah Wynn at left guard, Austin Jackson at right tackle, and for the first time in eight months — Tua Tagovailoa under center. It didn’t go according to plan.
Tagovailoa was intercepted on the first play of the drive...
The Houston Texans took over in the red zone but a delay of game penalty helped the Dolphins in a third-and-long situation. Pressure from Bradley Chubb forced an incompletion. Houston went for it on fourth down but rookie quarterback CJ Stroud threw the ball to an unoccupied area of the field.
Can’t ask for a better answer following an interception.
Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert was stuffed on the opening play of the following drive. Miami’s offense can’t seem to do much right. Mostert followed with a strong run to create a third-and manageable situation. Tagovailoa connected with Durham Smythe for a first down — Miami’s line looks comfortable despite Terron Armstead not being active.
Tyreek Hill got into the action on third down to help the Dolphins get some breathing room. From their own 40, Mostert got a couple of yards on a toss play to the outside. With fantasy draft weekend approaching, it’s hard to identify if Mostert will have a larger workload than Jeff Wilson Jr., who was inactive for this game. On third and three, Salvon Ahmed made a man miss in the open field to help move the chains.
From Houston’s 40, Mostert broke off a 17-yard run off the left side, another first down for Miami. Despite a slow start, it’s hard to ignore a strong second drive from the offense. A nice throw to Braxton Berrios created a first-to-goal opportunity — he had an opportunity to keep his balance and walk into the end zone.
14th play of the drive — Mostert walks it in for a Miami touchdown. Miami’s offense looks comfortable and dedicated to the rushing attack. This may not always be the case, but the Dolphins must be consistent in rushing the football in 2023.
Jason Sanders knocked the kick through — 7-0 Dolphins.
Stroud shows a nice touch as the Texans pushed down the field in response to Miami’s strong drive. David Long Jr. blew up a run up the middle — welcome to the Dolphins. Robert Woods made a play against Noah Igbinohene who had a positive camp — does Miami still have decisions to make at cornerback?
— End of Quarter 1 —
Xavien Howard made a strong play against Noah Brown to force an incompletion. No one has had more interceptions since 2016 and he looks to continue his strong career.
Houston kicked a field goal — 7-3 Dolphins — I think we’ll see a new quarterback for the Dolphins.
Skylar Thompson came in and just missed connecting with Cedrick Wilson Jr. Dolphins run it following a sack, a quick three-and-out forced by Houston’s pass rush.
Not a great kick from Jake Bailey but a few bounces mean it will look good on the statsheet.
Strong coverage by Eli Apple forced a third-and-10 — Stroud threw short and Miami’s defense held strong to force a punt.
Miami’s offense has sputtered with Thompson. It’s important to keep in mind that second-string players are rolling in — which doesn’t help the quarterback. A big run from De’Von Achane changed helped Miami move the chains — one of Mike McDaniel’s biggest tasks is carving out a role for the rookie. A pass went through Robbie Chosen’s hands and the Dolphins for it on fourth and two — a catch from Wilson brought the offense to Houston’s 43-yard line.
A few strong runs from Ahmed highlight how strong Miami’s running back room is. Myles Gaskin isn’t active — who will end training camp on top? Robert Jones went down on a play. Another nice catch by Ahmed moved the sticks to give Miami a fresh set of downs at Houston’s 11-yard line. Ahmed again — a nice pass-and-catch was good for six points after 80 yards and eight plays.
The Jason Sanders extra point is good — not a lot to hate about this performance leading 14-3.
The Dolphins kept the momentum going on the defensive end, forcing a Houston punt with just under two minutes left in the third half. Ahmed does it again!!! A massive run gives Miami great field position — 65 yards down to the 17-yard line.
Thompson has all the time in the world and finds Berrios all alone for a touchdown due to a breakdown in coverage! Jason Sanders’ extra point makes it 21-3.
Davis Mills took over at quarterback for the Texans and helped the Texans move a bit, but a punt was forced with 11:50 left in the third. It’s hard to ignore Miaim’s depth on defense — the offense will take over inside its own 20-yard line.
Thompson stuck in to begin the third quarter and tight end Julian Hill continues to have an impact in the receiving game. Achane made a nice catch as Thompson escaped pressure — a lot of work for little gain. That said, an illegal contact penalty gave Miami a first down.
Mike White was called into action and doesn’t look good — but a defensive offsides penalty helped the Dolphins stay ahead of the chains. A sack derailed Miami’s progress and a false start made things worse. A run on third-and-20 forced a punt.
Mills was almost picked off by Elijah Campbell but an illegal contact call gave the Texans a new first down. The Dolphins had a few opportunities to make a big play but nothing solidified. Houston punted and Miami will take over inside the 15-yard line.
Achane was carted to the locker room. The injury is unclear — maybe a shoulder — but it’d be great if Miami could catch a break.
Thompson returned to the field and Erik Ezukanma made a nice catch to give the Dolphins a first down — I think he has a shot at wide receiver No. 3. Chris Brooks continues to make noise but a few big plays may be necessary for him to have a shot at making the roster or practice squad.
A nice catch from River Cracraft gave Miami a first down after a 22-yard gain. It’s hard to imagine a world where Cracraft isn’t on the roster. Wilson made a huge reception on fourth down to help the Dolphins inch closer to the red zone. As we look at Miami’s depth at receiver, where does Robbie Chosen belong?
A screen to Brooks — with three linemen in front of him — runs into the end zone and may have just secured his spot on the practice squad. The Dolphins look loaded at running back — Sanders’ extra point gives Miami a 28-3 lead.
— End of Quarter 3 —
Channing Tindall made his presence known with a deflection and the Dolphins' defense forced a punt early in the fourth quarter. Miami looks like the better team and it isn’t too close.
Thompson — still in the game — finds Jullian Hill for another first down. Miami might have found an acorn at tight end. The Dolphins had a few strong runs but the drive ended with a punt.
Not much happened throughout the fourth quarter — Miami did what it could with Brooks rushing the football to keep the clock moving.