It was only a matter of time. Both Gary Kubiak's first win as
's head coach and Mario Williams' first NFL sack were bound to happen sometime this season, but Sunday the moments melded as the Texans outlasted the visiting Miami Dolphins 17-15 at Reliant Stadium.
"Our football team found something out about themselves today through playing a very good football team," Kubiak said. "They reached way down deep and I'm truly proud of them."
Andre Johnson once again starred for the offense with a game-high nine receptions and 101 yards. Johnson's day was highlighted by several clutch plays, but his touchdown with 9:54 remaining in the game proved to be the game winner.
"Anybody likes when the ball comes to them, especially when you're a wide receiver," Johnson said. "I'm just thankful for every oppurtunity that I get."
While Johnson powered the offense, a much maligned
defense held the Dolphins in check for much of the game with a variety of blitz packages and coverages that kept Dolphins' quarterback Daunte Culpepper guessing.
's defense had just three sacks entering action Sunday, against the Dolphins, the Texans produced five, including 1.5 from their top draft pick. The Texans were also allowing their opponents to convert on over 68 percent of their third downs. On Sunday,
managed just 25 percent going 3-12 on third downs.
David Carr, who entered the game as the NFL's top-rated passer, was once again steady going 22-29 for 230 yards and a touchdown. Carr also added his first rushing touchdown of the season, also
's first score on the ground, and threw one interception, a ball that was wrestled away from Johnson that could have easily been a reception.
The Dolphins made the game interesting, scoring the last nine points of the game, but a failed two-point conversion with less than two minutes left gave
their first win.
The Dolphins won the toss and elected to receive Sunday and Glenn Earl, in a signal of coming events, collected his first career sack to start action and the Texans forced the Dolphins three and out on their first possession.
Starting their first drive of the game on their own 28-yard line,
gained one first down thanks to a 13-yard catch and run from Johnson on the Texans first offensive play of the game. After a Chad Stanley punt, the Dolphins began their second possession on their own 22-yard line.
's ensuing possession, the Dolphins were able to move the ball past midfield, but the Texans defense stood strong and forced a punt that Phillip Buchanon fair caught at the 10-yard line.
Johnson moved the chains again on
's next possession and seemed to again at midfield, but Will Allen pulled the ball out of Johnson's hands, giving Carr his second interception of the season.
45-yard line after an 11-yard return from Allen and a short gain by Lee Suggs ended action in the first quarter.
Despite several penalties, including a holding call that negated a Dolphins' first down near the 20-yard line,
was still able to get into field goal range by moving 11 yards. Olindo Mare converted on the 52-yard field goal attempt to give the Dolphins a 3-0 lead with 11:58 remaining in the first half.
scrimmaged from their own 30-yard line on their next possession and moved the ball crisply across midfield using a combination of the run and pass. A critical third down conversion at the
42-yard line kept the drive alive and a 24-yard reception by Eric Moulds got the Texans into the red zone for the first time.
The Dolphins defense dug in there and
was forced to settle for a 32-yard field goal off the foot of Kris Brown to tie the game at three with 5:10 remaining in the first half.
Wes Welker found some room along the
's 25-yard line. A Marty Booker 18-yard reception got the Dolphins past midfield, but the Dolphins were forced to punt giving the Texans a chance to run their two-minute offense, with a drive that started on their own 20-yard line.
With no timeouts, three Ron Dayne runs ended the
with just 30 seconds on the clock. A hail mary ended action with the teams still tied at three.
began the second half with the ball on their own 20-yard line and were able to move to the Dolphins 45-yard line, but a Carr fumble stalled the drive there. Jason Taylor came around the right end and caused Carr's fumble, then picked up the ball off the ground and sprinted 19 yards to the
was able to move 20 yards from there, but had to settle for a 29-yard field goal by Mare to give them a 6-3 lead with 7:55 remaining in the third quarter.
again began action on their own 20-yard line and again moved the ball close to midfield before the offense stalled again. After another
took over on their own 18-yard line.
the ball back with just over four minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Beginning at their own 30-yard line, the Texans began their second scoring drive of the day. Houston moved the ball 70 yards and punched it in the end zone on a naked bootleg from Carr giving Houston its' first lead of the day at 10-6, just five seconds into the fourth quarter.
Buoyed by a four-point lead, the Texans defense not only held the Dolphins to a three and out, but pushed them back 10 yards thanks in large part to the first sack of Mario Williams career and combined sack from Williams and DeMeco Ryans, who once again led the Texans in tackles with eight tackles.
The Texans offense took over on the Dolphins 40-yard line and it looked as though the Texans might be forced to kick, but Carr stood in under pressure and delivered a high arching pass that Johnson made a superb play on inside the 10, giving him a 30-yard reception and putting the Texans in prime scoring position.
It was only appropriate then that the Texans second touchdown of the game was scored by
's top playmaker. Carr found Johnson in the back, left corner of the endzone on a perfectly thrown pass to give
a 17-6 lead with 9:49 remaining in the game.
With their backs against the wall,
responded with an impressive drive as Culpepper operated the offense nicely in the no huddle, moving the Dolphins quickly into scoring position.
With first and goal at the Houston nine-yard line, the Texans dug in and forced Miami to settle for a 22-yard field goal by Mare, drawing the Texans within one score at 17-9, Houston with 5:41 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Texans were able to move the ball to midfield and run some important time off the clock, but the Dolphins forced a punt and when
took over on their own 20-yard line.
Culpepper once again moved the ball inside
had moved the ball to the Texans' 17-yard line. Three plays later, Chris Chambers was in the endzone and
was a two-point conversion away from knotting the score.
An interesting play call by the Dolphins had Ronnie Brown sprint right, reverse his field and throw back right to Chris Chambers in the endzone on the two-point attempt. Brown's pass was tipped by Williams at the line and
failed to convert on the ensuing on-side kick and the Texans were able kill the clock handing their coach his first win as a head coach.