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TNF Recap – Miami Dolphins vs Houston Texans

The Miami Dolphins traveled to the Houston Texans on Thursday night, both teams with a 4-3 record. The Dolphins backup QB Brock Osweiler sought to continue the ‘Brocktober’ phenomenon against an ascending Houston defense. On the opposite side, DeShaun Watson was battling against a chest injury that prevented him flying last week. Here’s how it all played out:

1st Quarter

The first quarter began in bizarre fashion as officials took an age to deliberate a penalty on the kickoff. It didn’t get much better for the zebras. They missed a glaring trip on a Dolphins punt return before making a call that led to the first TD. Having held Miami to a field goal attempt Texans special teamer Joel Heath was called for a penalty which kept the drive alive. It was called as ‘contact to the head and neck area of the long snapper’ but looked more like shoulder to shoulder. Kenyan Drake ran home a 12 yard TD on the next play as the Dolphins went up 7-0.

The Texans response was swift. DeShaun Watson found Will Fuller V for a 34 yard gain before Lamar Miller capped the drive with a 2 yard TD to level the scores. JJ Watt provided the splash play of the opening quarter soundly beating JaWaun James for an early sack (see below). The Texans defense suffered a further set back to their secondary as corner Jonathan Joseph left the field after being caught under a falling Jadeveon Clowney.

2nd Quarter

Houston’s 3rd round draft pick Justin Reid kicked off the 2nd quarter with a bang. He intercepted Osweiler but once again there were question marks over the officiating. Danny Amendola certainly appeared to suffer pass interference from stand-in corner Mike Tyson on the play. The Texans made use of their good fortune as DeShaun Watson hit tight end Jordan Thomas for a 13 yard TD.

Fantasy owners will be happy to see DeVante Parker back in action for Miami. He made a couple of important grabs as the Dolphins moved downfield efficiently. Due to injuries, Parker was called into action despite trade rumours and comments made by his agent earlier in the week. His 17 yard grab from Osweiler put the Dolphins in position to reduce the lead to 14-10 with a 37 yard Jason Sanders field goal.

The half ended with another big call by the officials. Osweiler was hit by Josh Keyes with the ball popping loose, picked up by Natrell Jamerson and returned for a TD. The on field call was a strip/sack and fumble but the decision was overturned. Officials believed Osweiler was attempting the throw as opposed to pulling the ball back into his body. The result was an incomplete pass, the half ending with the Texans ahead 14-10.

3rd Quarter

Lamar Miller was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 2012. He spent four seasons with the Fins before signing for the Texans. He completely blew up his old team with a 58 yard run through the heart of the defense early in the third quarter.

The play set up a 4th down TD pass from Watson to tight end Thomas for his second score of the night. The play perfectly highlighted Watson’s ability to extend plays with his feet while throwing off platform.

The Texans can count themselves somewhat unlucky as DeAndre Hopkins had a phenomenal one handed grab called back for offsetting interference penalties. Hopkins went someway to confirming his status as one of the best receivers in the NFL plucking the ball from the air and pinning it to his hamstring. The drive stalled and gave the Dolphins great field position to get back into the game. They did just that. Starting at their own 49 they leaned on the evergreen Frank Gore for some short yardage gains. Then, Osweiler threw a lateral pass to Danny Amendola who heaved a 28 yard bomb to a wide open Kenyan Drake, reducing the deficit to 21-17.

Not wanting to be outdone the Texans response was immediate. Will Fuller V may not have quite lived up to his 1st round billing but he gives the Texans legitimate deep speed. He breezed past Dolphins corner Bobby McCain on his deep post route and Watson easily located him for the 73 yard touchdown score. Jason Sander’s 41 yard field goal made the score 28-20 going into the 4th.

4th Quarter

A failed onside kick attempt at the end of the third quarter meant the Texans began the 4th quarter on the Miami 49. Watson made sure to take advantage of the short field needing only one throw to go-to target Hopkins. After a busted coverage Hopkins strolled untouched into the endzone, leaving the Texans in a commanding position with the score at 35-20.

Adam Gase’s daring streak didn’t extend past the onside kick attempt. The Dolphins choosing not to risk trying to convert on 4th down. Instead settling for another Sanders field goal to reduce arrears to 12. The decision didn’t pay off as the Dolphins secondary’s rough night continued. They were called for three separate fouls on one deep pass from Watson to Fuller. Watson rounded off the drive hitting DeAndre Hopkins on the quick slant for the score. The Dolphins added a consolation field goal before the Texans ran the clock down to secure the 42-23 victory.

The result leaves the Texans in a commanding position atop the AFC South. After a stuttering start they seemed to have found a way to protect Watson, allowing the offense to click into gear. With a healthy defense they are a legitimate playoff contender moving forward. For the Dolphins it was a continuation of their up and down season. Matt Burke’s defense is likely to come under heavy scrutiny. The unit was gashed on the ground as well as giving up chunk plays through the air.

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