In 2015, the Texans traveled to face the Miami Dolphins and running back Lamar Miller. Late in the second quarter on a seemingly straight forward inside run, Miller split the Texans defense and was out the gate. Eighty-five yards later, Miller strolled into the end zone as the Texans defense struggled through a miserable afternoon. I was there for the game, working the sideline as usual, but I didn't even see that run. As soon as Miller got through the line, I knew he was gone, LONG gone.
As such, I couldn't even watch. I just started walking behind the Texans bench to the other side of the field to get ready for the extra point. As I made that walk, I was envious.
"Man, I wish the Texans had him." I muttered to no one in particular as I violated one of the seven deadly sins (envy). A few months later, though, I got my wish as Miller became a Texan.
In 2016, he totaled nearly 1,300 yards of total offense and is on pace to go above and beyond that total in 2017. There's so much to love about Miller the player, but as a running back, he has quickness, vision and toughness, which were all on display in the 57-14 win over the Tennessee Titans in Week 4.
Against the Titans, Miller aligned behind his quarterback Deshaun Watson as the Texans came out in a two tight end set. Now, one of those tight ends was tackle Julien Davenport, while the other was true tight end Ryan Griffin.
The Texans called an outside zone play to Miller to the right side, where Davenport was aligned
Miller took one step to set his zone path and then headed toward the line of scrimmage. Based on what he sees from his blocking and the front he's facing, he has three paths he can take. If the right side of the line turned every Titan defender back to the inside and Miller would "bang it" into the line of scrimmage and head into the secondary.
If the defense held up well on that side but Miller felt like he had some room to the outside, he could "bounce it" to try to get that corner.
If the defense filled the outside alley quickly and aggressively flowed to the ball from the inside, Miller had the opportunity to "bend it" back behind the center and/or guard.
The blocking at the point of attack was solid, but the mosh pit of offensive linemen and front seven defenders was aggressively moving too fast to the offense's right. Miller saw immediately that he'd have some room bending it back behind his backside blockers. Tackle Chris Clark and tight end Ryan Griffin caved in the backside, so Miller bent the run all the way to the backside.
Miller's vision brought him back to that point and, in so doing, he noticed there was really only one defender that could slow him down: safety DaNorris Searcy. Miller stayed tight to Griffin to make Searcy have to travel the long road to tackle him.
Miller's vision put him in position to reel off a chunk of yards.
Searcy missed Miller and the Texans star back picked up nine yards on first down. Thankfully, he's doing that in a deep steel blue jersey for the good guys.