John McClain’s Texans vs. Dolphins report card



The Texans fell behind Miami 30-0 at halftime, a performance as bad or perhaps worse than the previous loss to Washington in which they trailed 20-0 after two quarters.

Lovie Smith looks at the second half as a positive because the Texans outscored the Dolphins 15-0, but the truth is, they embarrassed themselves again. And that embarrassment isn’t likely to stop for the NFL’s worst team that fell to 1-9-1.

Grade: F-minus

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Like Davis Mills, Kyle Allen was terrible in the first half. Like Mills, he played better in the second half when the Dolphins changed strategy to not allow big plays and let Allen complete passes in front of the defensive backs.

Considering he hadn’t played since 2020 with Washington and didn’t find out until Friday he was starting this game, it’s not surprising Allen needed to knock off some rust. He threw some bad passes, was intercepted two times but finished 26-of-39 for 215 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions and a 67.8 rating. He was sacked five times.

Grade: C-minus

Running backs

Dameon Pierce was unable to overcome another game of poor run blocking and finished with 8 yards on five carries. He also gave up a sack.

Dare Ogunbowale carried four times for 16 yards and a touchdown. The Texans fell behind in the first half and couldn’t run as much as they preferred and finished with 14 carries for 36 yards, a 2.6-yard average. Their longest run was 9 yards. The running game has been non-existent since Pierce was so impressive against the Eagles and Giants.

Grade: F-minus

Wide receivers

Nico Collins and Brandin Cooks combined for 11 catches and 103 yards. Neither had a touchdown catch. Collins continues to improve, but Pep Hamilton needs to get him the ball down the field in one-on-one matchups. Cooks had a team-best 39-yard reception.

Grade: C

Tight ends

Jordan Akins caught five passes for 61 yards. After losing a fumble that cornerback Xavien Howard returned for a 16-yard touchdown, Akins made the play of the game for the Texans.

He caught a pass over the middle from Kyle Allen and took off for the end zone. He broke a tackle and ran over a defender to score on a 25-yard reception. Rookie Teagan Quitoriano had two catches for 20 yards.

Grade: C-plus

Offensive line

The play of the linemen has deteriorated in the last two games. They’ve been obliterated when run blocking. They’ve been pushed around on pass protection.

They showed promise until the last two weeks when their overall performance has been mostly terrible against Washington and Miami. The Texans averaged 2.6 yards rushing and gave up five sacks, one the fault of Dameon Pierce.

Grade: F-minus

Defensive line

Maliek Collins may have played his best game for the Texans in a losing cause. He had two sacks and three tackles for loss. Mario Addison added a sack. The linemen did a terrific job against the run. Miami finished with 26 carries for 66 yards, a 2.5-yard average. Led by Collins, this game was the defensive line’s most impressive against the run.

Grade: B-plus


Christian Kirksey and Jake Hansen recorded sacks. Like the linemen, the linebackers did an outstanding against a Miami running game that entered the game averaging 97.7 yards and was limited to 66. They did a splendid job of tackling and didn’t miss many tackles. They sometimes struggled in coverage. Christian Harris left with an injury and didn’t return.

Grade: B-minus


Jalen Pitre led the defense with seven unassisted tackles. He had an interception that was nullified because of a penalty.

The defensive backs didn’t allow Tyreek Hill (six receptions for 85 yards) and Jaylen Waddle (five for 85) to score a touchdown. Before leaving late in the third quarter, Tua Tagovailoa threw one touchdown pass. The defense shut down his replacement, rookie Skylar Thompson.

Grade: C-plus

Special teams

Once again, the special teams were excellent. Cam Johnston punted seven times and put two inside the 20. His gross average was 50 yards and his net 46.9. The coverage was terrific, as were the punt returns. Tremon Smith averaged 21.5 yards and Desmond King II 12.7. Ka’imi Fairbairn kicked a field goal, and his four kickoffs were touchbacks. Too bad the special teams can’t score touchdowns in the first half.

Grade: A


If the Texans continue to have such pathetic starts that lead to defeats, Lovie Smith and his staff could get fired. The Texans were lifeless in the first half again. Pep Hamilton’s offense was horrid in the first half just as it was in the previous loss to Washington.

Smith’s defense deserved a better fate than giving up a 3-yard touchdown drive for an easy touchdown. The defense played much better than the offense. Frank Ross’ special teams continued to excel.

Grade: F-plus

John McClain can be heard Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday on Sports Radio 610 and Monday and Thursday on Texans Radio. He writes three times a week and does three Houtopia Podcasts a week for SportsRadio610. He also can be read four times a week on