Houston at Miami

Texans blast Dolphins in first half then hang on to stay alive

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MIAMI -- When it mattered most, the Houston Texans performed like a playoff team -- which they might yet be.

The Miami Dolphins played like a team going nowhere, which is likely the case.

With both teams seeking to stay alive in the AFC playoff race, the Texans scored on their first five possessions Sunday and survived Miami's comeback to win 27-20.

The Texans (8-7) built a 27-0 lead and won despite being outscored 20-0 in the final 31 minutes. They kept alive their slim hopes of making the playoffs for the first time.

"That's why we're here -- to take this franchise to the next level," said Matt Schaub, who threw for 286 yards and two early scores. "All we can do is control what we do, and that's what we did today."

The defending AFC East champion Dolphins (7-8) were all but eliminated, and given the stakes, they seemed shockingly listless at the outset. The ball bounced off Dolphins receivers, Texans bounced off Miami tacklers, and Schaub repeatedly found receivers wide open.

"It's unacceptable for us to play like this when the season is on the line," Miami running back Ricky Williams said.

Boos began midway through the first quarter, and the Texans made sure the jeers grew louder. At one point Houston enjoyed advantages of 15-2 in first downs and 307-46 in yards.

"It's almost as if you can call any play and it's going to work," Schaub said.

Miami linebacker Jason Taylor stood in front of the bench screaming at teammates, and maybe the rant helped. The Dolphins rallied, and a field goal cut the deficit to 27-20 with 2:30 left before Houston recovered an onside kick and ran out the clock.

The Dolphins' comeback might have been complete if not for a tripping penalty on Lousaka Polite, which negated a 62-yard touchdown pass from Chad Henne to Ted Ginn Jr. in the third quarter.

"We dug ourselves too big a hole," receiver Greg Camarillo said. "We had a terrible start."

Houston remained the only NFL team the Dolphins have never defeated. The Texans' other four wins in the series were decided by a field goal or less.

The result bruised more than the Dolphins' pride. They lost linebacker Channing Crowder on the second play with a right foot injury, and Williams played only one snap after hurting his right shoulder in the third quarter.

Schaub went 20 for 31 and directed an offense that netted 406 yards, topping 400 for a franchise-record third game in a row. Andre Johnson scored once and made five catches for 71 yards for his second consecutive 1,500-yard season.

The victory left the Texans on the verge of their first winning season. They play host to New England in the regular-season finale next Sunday.

"That's why I came here -- to get this team and this organization in position like this," fourth-year coach Gary Kubiak said.

A gamble by Kubiak contributed to the Texans' fast start. With a fourth-and-1 at the Miami 10, he decided against a field-goal try, and Johnson made the move pay off with a touchdown catch to cap an 80-yard drive for a 10-0 lead.

"It was a gutsy call," Johnson said. "We have to have the coach's back by converting. If we don't convert it, everybody will talk bad about him."

Then came a 94-yard drive capped by another TD, with Jacoby Jones juking a defender to turn a short pass into a 44-yard score. That made it 17-0 as the boos grew louder.

"The fans deserved better today," coach Tony Sparano said. "Not the type of game that we wanted to play."

When a pass deflected off Williams' shoulder pads, Brian Cushing intercepted, and three plays later Arian Foster scored untouched up the middle on a 17-yard run for a 24-0 lead.

"It just seemed like everything was working for us, no matter what we did," Johnson said.

That changed in the second half. On the sideline, Johnson hid his head under a towel as the Dolphins rallied with scoring drives of 61, 79, 74 and 58 yards.

With Williams sidelined, Lex Hilliard scored on a 2-yard run and a 10-yard pass from Henne. But Houston held on.

"We labeled this game as the biggest game of the franchise's history," Texans tackle Duane Brown said. "We took the wind out of them quick."

Notes

  • Dolphins G Justin Smiley left the game in the fourth quarter with a knee injury.
  • Houston S Dominique Barber (hamstring) left in the second half.
  • Johnson joined Marvin Harrison in 2001-02 as the only players with consecutive 1,500-yard receiving seasons.
  • Houston set a team mark for road victories in a season with five.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Sun. Dec. 27Final
Houston
(8-7)
10170027
Miami
(7-8)
0371020
TexansDolphins
Pass: M. Schaub (20-31, 286) C. Henne (35-55, 322)
Rush: A. Foster (19-97) R. Williams (10-35)
Rec: J. Jones (2-79) T. Ginn Jr. (5-82)
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
FGKris Brown 49 Yd, 11:47. Drive: 6 plays, 45 yards in 3:13.
TDAndre Johnson, 10 Yd pass from Matt Schaub (Kris Brown kick is good), 2:05. Drive: 9 plays, 80 yards in 5:22.
2ND QUARTER
TDJacoby Jones, 44 Yd pass from Matt Schaub (Kris Brown kick is good), 12:41. Drive: 6 plays, 94 yards in 2:55.
TDArian Foster, 17 Yd run (Kris Brown kick is good), 11:44. Drive: 3 plays, 28 yards in 0:41.
FGKris Brown 22 Yd, 4:25. Drive: 12 plays, 60 yards in 5:51.
FGDan Carpenter 27 Yd, 0:07. Drive: 18 plays, 61 yards in 4:18.
3RD QUARTER
TDLex Hilliard, 2 Yd run (Dan Carpenter kick is good), 10:10. Drive: 12 plays, 79 yards in 4:50.
4TH QUARTER
TDLex Hilliard, 10 Yd pass from Chad Henne (Dan Carpenter kick is good), 9:25. Drive: 6 plays, 74 yards in 2:36.
FGDan Carpenter 38 Yd, 2:30. Drive: 11 plays, 58 yards in 2:09.
Players of the Game
Jacksonville

C. Henne
Att 55
Comp 35
Yds 322
TD 1
Oakland

M. Schaub
Att 31
Comp 20
Yds 286
TD 2
 
Houston
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
M. Schaub20/3128621
RushingATTYDSTDLG
A. Foster1997117
R. Moats82307
C. Brown2909
M. Schaub3-30-1
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
J. Jones279144
A. Johnson571125
J. Dreessen465022
R. Moats439016
K. Walter32108
D. Anderson110010
C. Brown1101
Miami
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
C. Henne35/5532211
RushingATTYDSTDLG
R. Williams1035011
L. Hilliard31217
C. Henne110010
L. Polite2302
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
T. Ginn Jr.582035
L. Hilliard974118
D. Bess545015
G. Camarillo332018
B. Hartline331014
R. Williams526010
J. Haynos31709
A. Fasano1808
L. Polite1707
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
MIN 30 Final
CHI 36
DAL 17 Final
WAS 0
NYJ 29 Final
IND 15
DET 6 Final
SF 20
STL 10 Final
ARI 31
BAL 20 Final
PIT 23
DEN 27 Final
PHI 30
CAR 41 Final
NYG 9
TB 20 Final
NO 17
JAC 7 Final
NE 35
SEA 10 Final
GB 48
OAK 9 Final
CLE 23
KC 10 Final
CIN 17
BUF 3 Final
ATL 31
SD 42 Final
TEN 17