When we checked in at halftime of the Texans-Dolphins duel, we noted that the Texans used three Ryan Tannehill interceptions to fuel a big lead.
They played another half in Houston, but the one-liner about the game remained the same. Tannehill’s three interceptions led to 17 unanswered points for the Texans and sent the Dolphins on their way to a 30-10 loss. The day was notable because of Tannehill’s debut, but also because of the performance of Texans defensive end J.J. Watt.
Watt, who Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips thinks is going to the Hall of Fame, had 1.5 sacks and tipped three Tannehill passes at the line of scrimmage. Two of those passes turned into interceptions that the Texans turned into the touchdowns that turned the game their way before halftime. Watt missed much of the preseason because of an injury, but he didn’t seem to be missing even half a step on the field. The rest of the Texans defense turned in a strong performance as well, but Watt was the star.
Tannehill’s debut was going well until that whole pre-halftime interception string. Things didn’t really pick back up for him after the half, although he avoided any more big mistakes. Tannehill finished 20-of-36 in his first NFL start, using mostly short stuff to wind up with 219 yards. There was enough from Tannehill to think that better days for the Miami offense are ahead, especially given the opposition in a road game, but the Dolphins offense isn’t going to impress anyone as long as the starting wideouts get just three catches.
For now, though, the Dolphins’ only touchdown came on a Marcus Thigpen punt return and the Texans controlled the game in the second half thanks to two long drives that resulted in field goals. It took them a while to get going in Week One, but the Texans looked every inch the playoff contender by the time the day was done.