Tua Tagovailoa expressed mild concern this week that he didn’t want the Miami Dolphins’ goodbye to interrupt the momentum they had built on a recent winning streak.
Some high school week rust showed up in Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans with errant throws and drops, especially early on. But Tagovailoa and the offense figured things out — fast enough, in fact, for Tagovailoa to call him a day before the end of the third quarter.
Tagovailoa threw for 299 yards and the Miami Dolphins took a 30-point lead before securing their fifth straight win, a 30-15 win over the lowly Texans.
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“We could have finished a lot of races better… but it’s always tough when your team is hot and then you have a week off,” Tagovailoa said. “You try to look back on a week like this to find how you felt with that momentum.”
Tagovailoa had its fourth straight game without an interception, Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill each received 85 yards and the Dolphins defense had three takeaways in a game that was a 30-point halftime blowout.
Tagovailoa completed 22 out of 36 passes with a TD. He now has 11 touchdowns since returning from a concussion in Week 7. Skylar Thompson was 1 of 5 for 6 yards in relief for the Dolphins (8-3).
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Houston (1-9-1) passed just 32 yards in its first 25 plays with Kyle Allen at quarterback in place of Davis Mills on the bench. The Texans finished with 210 total rushing yards, most of which came in the second half when they scored 15 straight points.
The Texans also fired Tagovailoa four times, all after veteran Miami left tackle Terron Armstead left late in the second quarter with a pectoral injury. Armstead signed a five-year, $75 million free agent deal to anchor Miami’s line ahead of this season.
Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel did not provide an injury update for Armstead, who has had a toe problem all season. But McDaniel took the blame for the breakdowns in pass protection after Armstead’s exit, adding he had become too aggressive in his game in the third quarter.
“It’s something I told the team after the game that I’m going to learn from because it wasn’t fair to them,” McDaniel said. “When you have lineup changes, you can’t put them in the positions they were put in. I don’t think that’s a fair representation of the band in general.”
Houston running back Dare Ogunbowale hit a 3-yard TD during the third quarter for the Texans’ first score, and tight end Jordan Akins hit a 25-yard TD catch in the fourth quarter.
“On games like today, when you’re down 30-0 at halftime, you have to look at the positives,” Houston coach Lovie Smith said. “We could have gone two different ways in the second half. I like the way we reacted.”
Miami scored on six of its first seven possessions, and its receivers were wide open in Houston’s secondary. Five Dolphins players had 20 receiving yards. Waddle had 10 catches and Hill had nine.
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In the first quarter, Waddle broke the Miami franchise record for most receiving yards (1,926) in the first two seasons of a career. Jarvis Landry, now with New Orleans, previously held the brand.
Allen passed 26 of 39 with 215 yards and two interceptions.
Outstanding rookie running back Dameon Pierce was held to 8 yards on five carries for Houston, a week after he had just 8 in a loss to the Commanders.
Waddle had a 22-yard catch on the first drive to set up Miami’s first score – a 45-yard field goal from Jason Sanders – and Tagovailoa found tight end Durham Smythe in the end zone later in the quarter for give Miami a 10-0 lead.
Miami added four points in the second quarter, including two turnovers.
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Linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel intercepted Allen deep in Texans territory and returned the ball to the 3-yard line. Running back Jeff Wilson hit him. In the second quarter, cornerback Xavien Howard returned a fumble, which was forced by safety Eric Rowe, for a touchdown.