In a preseason game that saw the return to action of linebacker Brian Cushing, three different Texans quarterbacks tossed touchdown passes as the Texans defeated Miami 24-17 at Reliant Stadium.
Case Keenum, who was first off the bench behind starter Matt Schaub, hooked up with receiver Lestar Jean for a 38-yard strike in the second quarter.
"They're both doing their job," Kubiak said of Keenum and T.J. Yates. "They are making it really hard on me. They are both doing good things, and that's a good thing for our team."
In addition to Cushing's return, it was the first game action of the preseason for defensive end J.J. Watt. The 2012 Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year didn't play against Minnesota last week, and played two snaps in the victory.
"It felt good," Watt said. "It was a brief outing for me, only had two plays but it feels good. It feels great to get in front of these fans. It's crazy how they're supportive. A packed house, so loud for the preseason, gotta love it."
The Texans offense also had its share of success. Schaub was 8-for-11 with 92 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Keenum completed 11 of his 18 passes for 150 yards and the score to Jean. Yates went 7-of-9 for 84 yards and tossed a touchdown to tight end Garrett Graham. The trio combined to go 26-of-38 for 326 yards and a quarterback passer rating of 110.2.
Graham and Keshawn Martin led in receiving. Graham had 4 receptions for 54 yards and one touchdown and Martin had four receptions for 46 yards.
Deji Karim led in rushing with nine attempts for 55 yards, averaging 6.1 yards/carry followed by Cierre Wood who had five attempts for 20 yards, averaging 4.0 yards/carry.
On the first drive of the game, quarterback Matt Schaub connected with Andre Johnson on a 20-yard play, followed by a 9-yard catch by DeAndre Hopkins. However, Schaub's third pass, a deep throw down the middle, led to the starting quarterback's first interception of the season. The Texans were not able to put up points until 3:55 remaining in the first quarter. Schaub connected with tight end Owen Daniels on a 15-yard touchdown pass, capping off an eight-play, 66-yard drive that lasted 3:53. Ben Tate had two runs for one-yard each and a short pass to the right for 10 yards on the drive. Short passes to Daniel and Lestar Jean yielded in gains of 11 yards and 19 yards, respectively.
The Dolphins fired back on their next drive with Tannehill completing a deep right pass to Mike Wallace for 16 yards. Tannehill methodically moved the ball up the field including two runs by Daniel Thomas, a 6-yard quarterback scramble, a 33-yard gain by Wallace on a deep right pass. The drive ended on a 9-yard pass to Wallace for a touchdown. The Dolphins tied the game 7-7 on an extra point kick with 0:47 remaining in the first quarter.
Hopkins ended the first quarter and his playing time in Saturday's win with a 13-yard catch from Keenum. Hopkins appeared to have been hit in the legs, but then bumped his head on the ground and left the game with a head injury. Head coach Gary Kubiak said that Hopkins did not quite seem like himself so they took him back for further evaluation which later yielded that he suffered a concussion. According to Kubiak, Hopkins was "doing fine" after the game. Hopkins had two catches for 22 yards in the game.
Keenum took over for the Texans next drive which ended in a punt after gaining a first down on a 6-yard run by Karim followed by a short pass to Martin for 9 yards. The Dolphins were unable to post any points, particularly after an Antonio Smith sack on Ryan Tannehill which resulted in a loss of three yards on the play.
Keenum went 4-for-5 on his second drive which began with a 22-yard pass to Martin. After calling his first timeout with 8:53 remaining in the quarter, Keenum followed up on fourth-and-two with a 38-yard touchdown to the third-year receiver Jean.
"Star did a great job," Keenum said after the game. "He's got a knackto get open, and made a big play on that fourth down. I think we had him on a couple other ones that I was flushed. He did a great job. I like when he has the ball."
Tannehill remained in the game for the second quarter. On the second play of the drive, Tannehill's intended pass for tight end Dustin Keller resulted in a hit by safety D.J. Swearinger. No penalty flag was thrown, but Keller suffered a leg injury and had to be carted off the field. The Miami players, as well as Swearinger, went over to Keller to offer words of encouragement, but Keller did not return to the game. Despite a sack by Bryan Braman for a six-yard loss, Tannehill was successful in his last drive of the game. He ended his playing time in the game the 11-play, 78-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run by Lamar Miller which tied the game 14-14 with 4:04 remaining in the second quarter.
The Texans ended the half with six plays for 23 yards that yielded a 46-yard field goal by Randy Bullock. Keenum's final drive of the half lasted just 47 seconds. The Texans led the Dolphins 17-14 at halftime.
In the second half, Keenum led one final drive which ended in a punt before Yates took over. On Yates' first drive, three consecutive runs by Deji Karim resulted in back-to-back first downs. Following an 11-yard catch by Martin over the middle, Yates connected with Graham for a 33-yard touchdown pass. An extra point by Randy Bullock increased the Texans' lead to 24-14 over the Dolphins.
"Things slow down a little bit more being out there more," Yates said. "Getting a little more experience, the count is a little slower, and woirk the cadence a little bit. Use stuff to your advantage, stuff we've been doing since my first year here."
Miami was only able to add another field goal for the remainder of the game, a 43-yarder by Caleb Sturgis with 2:23 remaining in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter rookie several defensive players made key plays. Outside linebacker Trevardo Williams added back-to-back sacks and nose Tackle Terrell McClain caused a fumble which was recovered by safety Jawanza Starling with 2:06 remaining in the game.Other injuriesS Shiloh Keo: Calf.
S Eddie Pleasant: Knee.
The Texans will next host the New Orleans Saints at Reliant Stadium in their third preseason game on Sunday, August 25 at 3 p.m.