Three takeaways from the Texans’ win over the Dolphins

Thursday night always promises something, but it’s not usually as exciting — or even as confusing — as some of the moments during the Dolphins-Texans matchup.

Houston hosted Miami in what was eventually a 42-23 blowout, but during the contest there were plenty of head-scratching moments, from bad play calls to questionable officiating, and one-of-a-kind plays that turned it into a more enjoyable contest.

The Texans duo of quarterback Deshaun Watson and receiver DeAndre Hopkins brought the crowd at NRG Stadium to life with big throws and one-handed catches.

This didn’t count… But are you serious, @DeAndreHopkins?! #Texans #MIAvsHOU

?: @nflnetwork + @NFLonFOX

The return of former Texans starting quarterback Brock Osweiler was diminished by a ferocious defense that left the play caller stunned. Miami was only able to convert four of 13 third downs and Osweiler had more interceptions (1) than touchdown passes (0).

Three takeaways from the Texans’ win over the Dolphins

What a difference a year makes

Watson is a week removed from the year anniversary of the injury that cost him the rest of his rookie season, and a potential Most Valuable Player nod. This season, his return from the ACL tear was nearly as disastrous as the injury itself.

The Texans started out 0-3, and each loss was within a score. Houston just needed a play to turn the team’s season around. The second-year play caller got his chance in Indianapolis, and again versus the Cowboys then the Bills, and on the road in Jacksonville and now against the Dolphins.

Behind a near perfect performance from Watson, the Texans are on top of the AFC South. His ability to turn the most dismal situation into cause for celebration has put Houston on a five-game win streak.

This latest performance is yet another accomplishment for the Clemson grad under center. Watson joined elite company in the victory. He became just the third player in NFL history to throw 30-plus touchdown passes in his first 15 career games, including this 73-yard score.

Go DEEP, @Will_Fuller7! #Texans #MIAvsHOU

?: @nflnetwork + @NFLonFOX

Watson joins Hall of Famers Kurt Warner (36) and Dan Marino (32). He finished 16-of-20 passing for 239 yards and five touchdowns.

Brock Osweiler or Danny Amendola? Take your pick 

The Dolphins named Osweiler their starter after Ryan Tannehill suffered a shoulder injury that forced him to the sidelines before Week 6 action. In three games with Osweiler leading the charge, Miami has gone 1-2. 

The record doesn’t necessarily reflect the 27-year-old’s recent efforts. Before the trip to Houston, Osweiler combined for 629 yards in his first two starts. He also had six touchdowns and just two interceptions. His return to NRG Stadium, where he was once a quarterback sporting Texans colors, didn’t put up the same numbers but it did give the Dolphins something to think about — Danny Amendola, receiver or quarterback?

Amendola tossed a 28-yard pass to pull the Dolphins back within striking distance. He became the fourth wide out this season to throw a touchdown pass, which NFL Research so eloquently pointed out was more touchdowns than the Bills (3).

DANNY AMENDOLA IS THROWING [email protected] ➡️ @KDx32 = @MiamiDolphins TD! #FinsUp

?: @nflnetwork + @NFLonFOX

Word is Tannehill will have a chance to return in time for Miami’s Week 9 matchup, but until then the Dolphins have Osweiler… Or Amendola. 

The reffing woes continue

The NFL made an unprecedented staffing decision when it fired a referee midseason for the first time in the Super Bowl era. The move sent waves through the sport, and whether or not it had anything to do with some of the questionable calls Thursday — something will likely be said about the officiating crew.

From the first play — a re-kick caused by an illegal formation penalty on the Dolphins and then another flag to boot — to a head-scratching flag that nullified a made field goal and turned it into the Dolphins’ first touchdown, the referees had one heck of a game. There were 13 total penalties for 120 yards.

The bad calls sparked commentators Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to share their confusion and caused plenty of flack across social media which was heightened at multiple points in the game, including a strange play where Osweiler was called for the tuck rule.

The NFL Officiating Twitter account offered its explanation saying, “Osweiler’s hand starts forward with control of the ball and the ball goes backwards because of defensive contact. Therefore, the result of the play is an incomplete pass.”

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“In #MIAvsHOU, @MiamiDolphins QB Brock Osweiler’s hand starts forward with control of the ball and the ball goes backwards because of defensive contact. Therefore, the result of the play is an incomplete pass.” – AL

Rulebook reference:

Others didn’t agree. 

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