Miami Gardens, Fla. - Following are news and notes from the Texans' 27-20 win over the Miami Dolphins at Land Shark Stadium.
Game ball: With five catches for 71 yards and a touchdown, wide receiver Andre Johnson was awarded the game ball by head coach Gary Kubiak. The Miami native was thrown to on the first two Texans' plays from scrimmage, catching a 13-yarder and then a 25-yarder to start the game. His 10-yard scoring reception on the Texans' ensuing possession put Houston up 10-0. He also cracked the 1,500-yard mark in receiving for the second consecutive season, joining Marvin Harrison as the only players in NFL history to do so.
"It's big," Johnson said of the milestone. "I really don't keep track of stats too much, but for me to be the second person in history to have done that, that's very special. To be mentioned with a guy like Marvin Harrison, I watched him playing a lot growing up and even when I was in the NFL, and for me to be mentioned with that guy really means a lot."
Kubiak said Johnson was able to overcome a lot today, just like he's done for much of his career.
"I've never seen a guy with so many coverages designed for a player," Kubiak said. "I've been in this league a long time. They covered him all day long and he still made plays. The biggest credit you can give him, and I've said this over and over again, is that he's a very smart player. We're able to do a lot of things with him. That makes it harder on other people. Not only a great player, and a great kid, but very smart in games."
Perfect against Miami: With Sunday's win, the Texans are now undefeated in four contests against the Dolphins. The Dolphins are one of three teams in the NFL, along with Carolina and Chicago, to whom the Texans never have lost.
Brown starts: Left tackle Duane Brown has been dealing with a left knee injury for the last few weeks, and it was questionable whether or not he would be able to play Sunday against Miami. Backup Rashad Butler took a lot of reps during practice, and the team signed veteran Ephraim Salaam to the 53-man roster. But when the Texans' offense took the field in the first quarter, Brown was in the huddle and ready to protect Matt Schaub's blind side.
"I knew if I had any kind of indecision, I'd have to back out and let Rashad take it," Brown said. "But I went out there for pregame warm-ups and felt pretty good."
Kubiak was mightily impressed with Brown's contributions on Sunday as well.
"I'm very proud of him," Kubiak said. "He's hurting, he's not going to be well 'til the football season's over, but he gave it up for his team today and didn't miss a play. That‟s what becoming a good football team and a team that has a chance to play in January is all about."
Turk's heroics: Punter Matt Turk sat by idly in the first half, only entering the game to hold for Kris Brown on point after attempts. The Texans' offense scored on its first five possessions of the game, and kneeled once on its sixth drive to end the first half.
But after the break, Turk boomed four punts for an average of 45.5 yards. His first one pinned the Dolphins at their own 11 in the middle of the third quarter, and he followed that up with a 51-yarder in the early part of the fourth. Two more punts were crushed for 43 and 51 yards, and neither was returned.
"It felt good," Turk said. "I played here for five years with Miami. I was really wondering if I was going to get to kick at all today. It felt good to be a part of a win."
Who's who: It was a star-studded affair Sunday at Land Shark Stadium, as several celebrities were in attendance. Golf legend Jack Nicklaus was there, as was former Miami Hurricane/NFL receiver Randal "Thrill" Hill. The latter was in the Texans' locker room after the game.
Actress Vivica A. Fox stopped by the Texans' end of the press box in the first half and later did a radio interview. Actress/singer Jennifer Lopez and husband Marc Anthony were also on the sidelines at kickoff.
In a surreal moment during the postgame interviews, CNN anchor Roland Martin—decked out in a Battle Red DeMeco Ryans' 59 jersey—asked Ryans a question.