When I sit down with my game observations, I typically turn on the game as I write them. I usually see things I didn't or can't see from down on the sidelines. But, I don't really want to watch this one again, at least not until the immediate sting of this loss is gone. That might take a while. Regardless, here are my observations from a brutal Sunday afternoon in south Florida.
- Injuries are a fact of life in the NFL and the game of football, that's not news to anyone. But, when I saw Arian Foster in a crumpled heap on the far side of the field, my heart just sunk. He's such a football warrior and to see him down on the opposite side of the action, I just knew. He got on the cart for the locker room immediately, drove past me on the sideline and I wanted to just hug the man. There's so much I would've told him but the simplest would be "thanks." We might all take for granted how great he is and has always been, but this man is special and it'll be a tough nine games likely without him the rest of the season.
- Fortunately, WR Nate Washington announced his presence with authority, returning with a strong game (nine for 127 yards and two touchdowns) in his first game since injuring his hamstring in Atlanta. I hate that Nate's last two games as a Texan were the Atlanta and Miami games, but hopefully, it'll turn next weekend when he faces his former teammates at NRG Stadium.
- The rain that poured down late in the first quarter was biblical, just wow. Raindrops as big as any rain I can remember but it didn't seem to bother the Dolphins, that's for sure.
- Jadeveon Clowney got caught inside on a couple of run plays but for the most part, he was one of the few defensive players that played with any juice. He registered the first sack of his career and led the team in tackles with eight. He had two tackles for a loss, in addition to the sack and eight tackles. On one play in the second half, the Dolphins ran a tight end back across the formation to block him and Clowney just obliterated him on the spot. The pure power that man plays with is unreal and it's time for him to be healthy, stay healthy and combine with J.J. Watt to take games over on defense from here on out.
- Speaking of Watt…he was dinged up and left the game a couple of times, but he also had another Watt-like game with a pair of sacks, three tackles for a loss and four quarterback hits. Again, it's hard to not take what he does for granted, but he was brilliant at times on Sunday, when no one else on defense showed up to make any tackles.
- The tackling was atrocious. No analysis needed. It was just atrocious.
- John Simon had another sack on Sunday and had three or four tackles on that same drive. The Texans were reeling at that time in the game and we were imploring someone, anyone to make a play to stop the bleeding. Simon stepped up to make tackles on that drive.
- The first offensive play of the game should've been a touchdown. DeAndre Hopkins lined up in the slot and had Dolphin safety Michael Thomas on his hip. In fact, Nuk had Thomas beat by a yard or more but QB Brian Hoyer got instant pressure from DT Ndakumong Suh. Hoyer had to throw earlier than he wanted and missed Hopkins by a couple of yards. If Hoyer had been able to settle and throw, it was six points. After a great return by Keith Mumphery to start the game, a touchdown right out of the chute would've turned the game on a dime. But, it didn't happen. Unfortunately. Would've liked to have seen how the game could've changed if that play unfolded properly for the good guys.
- Speaking of Suh, he went into monster mode and just kicked the Texans OL backsides all day long. Just couldn't block him. I feel like I said his name all afternoon long. I thought maybe I was just a broken record, but no, it was just Suh nearly every single play.
- The thousands of Texans fans in Sun Life Stadium was a beautiful sight, but it was even more impressive on South Beach on Saturday night. We got there around 8ish, turned on to Ocean Drive and saw Texans fans EVERYWHERE. Marc Vandermeer couldn't go 100 feet without someone asking for a picture. It was like traveling with Justin Bieber. Or so I imagine. In all honesty, I couldn't help but feel for those fans that made the trip to see their team get blitzed on Sunday.
- I'm not sure what kept former Dolphins coach Joe Philbin from using running back Lamar Miller as his feature back but I don't think Dan Campbell will have any issue with it going forward.
- And, Jarvis Landry? Ridiculous. Imagine that 2013 LSU offense - Landry, Odell Beckham Jr., Jeremy Hill, Alfred Blue and Zach Mettenberger. Unreal. How did THAT team lose? In college, no less. Back to Sunday…in all honesty, Landry just wanted to score more than the Texans wanted to tackle him. He didn't even play in the second half. He and Miller stood next to one another the entire second half. That's how bad it got on Sunday. Dan Campbell called Landry "a football playing dude." There could be no more apt description for a player that wanted it as badly as he clearly did on Sunday. In fact, I'd take a team of "football playing dudes".
- I don't know how much of the Miami offense is current OC Bill Lazor, who I played against in college - he was a quarterback at Cornell - or new offensive consultant Al Saunders. But, it really doesn't matter at this point. The marriage is working fine these past two games. The mix of zone read with some throwback slip screens has been dynamically on point the past few weeks. Scored 31 in Tennessee, scored 37 today. (seven each game for Reshad Jones pick sixes, yeah, one in each game).
- Speaking of Jones pick six…that goes on Hoyer's ledger but shouldn't. Pass catchers let him down yet again.
- Consider...the Texans QB have thrown seven interceptions this season and four of them have been tipped or gone through the hands of a receiver into the hands of a defender. All three resulted in points for the opponents. In fact, six of the seven picks resulted in points for the opponent. The one that essentially ended the Thursday night tilt versus Indianapolis was the only one that didn't result in points. It ended the game.
- We've given plenty of props to the Texans offensive line for its protection of the quarterback, but Sunday was a struggle. Suh was a large part of that, but the inability to run the ball added to numerous issues in the first half.
- CB/ST Charles James did a tremendous job on special teams on Sunday. He had a pair of tackles on coverage and drew a key holding penalty in the second half. He didn't have as much success in coverage when he went in on defense, but on special teams, he was excellent.
- I'm starting to like the look of Keith Mumphery as the returner on this team, on both kickoffs (the rare time it's not a touchback) and on punt returns. I've got to find positives where I can, people.
Between the game, Foster's injury, the brutal rain in the first half and seeing 41-0 in the first 30 minutes, it was a trip worth forgetting, that's for sure. Hopefully, this team can put it in the rearview mirror and move on to Tennessee very quickly. It won't be easy for anyone to be honest but it needs to be done.
Check out the game action from the Texans at Dolphins Week 7 matchup.