In the surprise game of the day, the Miami Dolphins smashed the Houston Texans 41-26. The victory helped the Dolphins continue their explosive tear under interim coach Dan Campbell. The new era is real. Miami outclassed another AFC South opponent before a sellout home crowd.
The Dolphins started fast and never let up, leading 41-0 at the half. The Dolphins did it with big plays — four touchdowns of 50 or more yards and a defensive score. Ryan Tannehill set an NFL record by completing 25 passes over the span of two games, connecting on his first 18 on Sunday. He threw four touchdown passes in the blowout win. He ended the game 18-of-19 for 282 yards and four touchdowns. His passer rating was a sky-high 158.3.
For Campbell, this wasn’t unfamiliar territory. Blowouts have become the norm in his young head coaching career. The beating was even more dramatic than the Dolphins’ 38-10 win at Tennessee a week earlier in Campbell’s debut as a head coach. Fans chanted his name as the game ended.
“It’s not me, it’s this team,” Campbell said. “These guys want it. To watch the transformation they’ve made and the ownership they’ve begun to take, I’m glad I’m part of it.”
Campbell couldn’t have asked for a better start. After a defensive three-and-out, the Dolphins (3-3) got the quick-strike touchdown that’s eluded them all season. Tannehill found Rishard Matthews on a simple post route and Matthews had nothing between him and the end zone but fresh Florida air. The score went for 53 yards.
The only blemish on an otherwise perfect first half was a missed extra point attempt. Andrew Franks missed the extra point after Miller broke loose for an 85-yard touchdown run. The Dolphins had to settle going into the half up 41-0.
The Dolphins started the season with high expectations and were picked by some to be a competitive force in the AFC South. But inconsistency and under achieving play resulted in the firing of former coach Joe Philbin, after a 1-3 start.
Dolphins’ owner Stephan Ross was saddened by the decision but eager to see things change. He expressed himself per ESPN.
“I am extremely disappointed with how we have started the season, but I feel confident that we can improve quickly with the talent we have on our roster.”
The first move has been a monster. Placing Campbell as the coach has turned the Dolphins into the powerhouse they were predicted to be.
The Dolphins’ turnaround under Campbell can’t be boiled down to one player, but Lamar Miller is a good case study. The running back couldn’t find regular work under Joe Philbin, but Campbell has put Miller front and center in the offense. Miller piled up 236 total yards and two touchdowns in the first half against the Texans. He could have had a historic day if he played the game’s final two quarters.
Houston finally got on the scoreboard after the break, thanks largely to a fumble by Damien Williams. The Texans’ scoring play came on a 7-yard pass from Hoyer to Arian Foster. But the damage had already been done. The blowout was complete and thorough.
“I always said this team had the players and playmakers and talent to play like we have the last two weeks,” Tannehill said. “For whatever reason we weren’t showing up the way we wanted to. Give credit to Dan and rest of the coaching staff that they’ve turned it around.”
The Dolphins have gone from being notorious underachievers to a team that demands respect. Dan Campbell has helped the Dolphins believe again. Miami is back in the AFC South race and may get their first playoff berth since 2008.
[Feature Photo by Chris Trotman / Getty Images]