Arian Foster’s return didn’t go all that well and the Dolphins mounted a little second half comeback, but the Texans improved to 2-0 nonetheless.
The key play was Andre Johnson’s 23-yard touchdown catch with 10:13 left to play. The score put the Texans up 23-13 and stopped a string of 10 straight Dolphins points after halftime. It also came after Johnson dropped a pass on third down on the previous Houston possession, leading to a punt and a Dolphins field goal that cut the Texans lead to three. There would be no scoring after Johnson’s touchdown, leaving the Texans as the only AFC South with wins in each of their first two games.
Johnson’s score was also the latest sign that the Dolphins secondary has a lot of work to do if Miami is going to turn around from their 0-2 start to make something of their season. The pass rush was good enough to drop Matt Schaub three times, but when Schaub had time to throw he usually made the Dolphins pay. It didn’t help that Miami lost cornerback Vontae Davis to a hamstring injury, although it wasn’t as if they were playing shutdown before Davis left in the fourth. He finished with 230 yards and two touchdowns on a day when the team lost Foster almost as quickly as they got him back.
Foster didn’t play in the second half and the team announced that he reinjured his hamstring while gaining 33 yards on 10 carries. Ben Tate made sure they didn’t miss him, however. Tate gained 82 yards in the second half and ran down the clock single-handedly after Johnson’s touchdown catch.
The question of Foster’s health got cloudier after the game.
Despite the announcement that Foster had reinjured his hamstring, Gary Kubiak said after the game that Foster was merely fatigued and that he was fine. If true, that’s obviously good news for the Texans although Tate gives them reason to feel confident no matter what Foster’s condition.
The Dolphins can’t be feeling too good about anything other than Daniel Thomas. The rookie ran for 107 yards on 18 carries in his NFL debut and relegated Reggie Bush to an observer’s role. Bush had just seven touches days after insisting there wasn’t any part of the running back job he couldn’t handle. The Dolphins seem to disagree and it will be interesting to see what everyone has to say in the next few days.
Equally interesting will be what the Dolphins do about Chad Henne. He had some good moments against the Patriots, but struggled mightily on Sunday. He completed only 12-of-30 passes, threw a pick and consistently failed to get the job done when the Dolphins got the ball into Texans territory. Henne needs to be better in Cleveland next weekend or today’s mass no-show could become a regular happening in South Florida.