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Houston Texans

Texans roll over Dolphins in 2012 opener


The Texans' mantra last season was 1-0. That's where their record sits through one game in 2012 after a thrashing of the Miami Dolphins in their regular-season opener.

With their defense going on a turnover spree, the Texans scored three touchdowns in the final two minutes of the second quarter to take a 24-3 halftime lead. The game was never in doubt after that as they won 30-10 in front of 71,566 Liberty White-clad fans at Reliant Stadium.

"I thought we were a little shaky as a team," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "Opening day, I don't think you really know what you are.  I thought we played a little shaky on both sides of the ball, just not real clean. We kept battling and battling, but then we were explosive. We were explosive as a team in that period of the second quarter."

The Texans scored 21 points in the final 1:53 of the first half. They forced rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins into four turnovers in a span of nine plays. Texans defensive end J.J. Watt ignited the explosion with four pass deflections, two of which led to interceptions.

"It's interesting because you just wait for him to make those (plays)," Kubiak said. "He's got such confidence in that. The greatest thing you can do as a D-linemen when you can't get to the quarterback is get your hands up."

Andre Johnson led the way on offense with eight catches for 119 yards and a touchdown. Arian Foster ran for 79 yards and two touchdowns. Matt Schaub was 21-of-30 for 266 yards and a touchdown with a passer rating of 102.4.

Tannehill, the eighth overall pick in the 2012 draft, had a passer rating of 39.0. He completed 20-of-36 passes for just 219 yards with three interceptions. The Dolphins were 2-of-10 on third down and 0-of-3 on fourth down.

"That's huge obviously," outside linebacker Connor Barwin said. "It's one of our goals to get teams off the field on third down. Those are like turnovers; those are big stops."

The Texans trailed 3-0 after the first quarter. Midway through the second, Pro Bowl cornerback Johnathan Joseph picked off Tannehill at midfield. He returned the ball 36 yards to set up a short field goal by Shayne Graham.

On the Dolphins' next series, linebacker Brian Cushing picked off Tannehill at the Houston 45-yard line after a deflection by Watt. The Texans turned that into a 14-yard touchdown run by Foster, which put them up 10-3 with 1:53 remaining in the second quarter.

Watt tipped another pass on Miami's very next play, this time resulting in an interception by cornerback Kareem Jackson at the Miami 30. Foster scored two plays later on a two-yard run.

One play later, Dolphins running back Daniel Thomas lost a fumble at the Miami 31-yard line. Texans safety Glover Quin jarred the ball loose, and safety Danieal Manning recovered. Schaub connected with Johnson for a 14-yard touchdown pass three plays later to make the score 24-3 with seven seconds remaining in the first half.

"I think we had a 24-point second quarter," Watt said. "That's tough for any team to come back from. When you give our offense the ball, they're tough to stop."

The Dolphins' only touchdown came on a 72-yard punt return by running back Marcus Thigpen two minutes into the third quarter. Graham made two field goals in the second half to provide the final margin.

The Texans won handily but struggled to put the game out of reach. They went three-and-out on three of their first five possessions in the second half. They averaged just 2.4 yards per carry on 35 rushing attempts and were 1-of-3 in the red zone.

"I didn't like the close factor," Kubiak said. "I didn't like the fact that we couldn't run the ball.  We're playing a speed offensive football team, so trying to control the clock. Not being able to run the ball, that's an issue as a coach that I haven't got solved yet. But, good win. (We're) 1-0 after one week. We've got to move forward."

Texans defensive end Tim Jamison batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage on fourth-and-goal from the five-yard line with 4:05 remaining. He also ended the Dolphins next -- and final -- possession by sacking Tannehill on fourth down at the Miami 39.

Texans tight end Owen Daniels had four catches for 87 yards. He was one of seven different receivers to catch a pass from Schaub. Cushing led the Texans' defense with seven tackles.  Graham was 3-of-4 on field goals, with his lone miss coming on a 52-yard attempt in the first quarter.

"It was slow to start," Schaub said. "We settled for a lot of field goals today and we didn't get a lot out of our opportunities in the red zone, especially on the goal line. It wasn't pretty. There are a lot of things that anyone in our locker room could tell you that we can play much better than we did today. But in this business, a win is a win, and we are excited about it and we have to move on to get ready for Jacksonville."

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