Houston receiver Andre Johnson vs. any Dolphins DB since 2003
Who won: Texans.
The impact: Dolfans have to wince at the way Johnson (Miami High, UM) destroys his hometown team. Sunday’s eight catches for 119 yards and a touchdown brings his career totals to 45 catches for 638 yards and five touchdowns in six games. On Sunday, with everyone knowing Houston would go for the end zone once before halftime, Johnson put on a receiving clinic using size, body control, a slight push off on Sean Smith to catch a 14-yard touchdown: 24-3, Houston. Game over.
Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill vs. Houston’s defensive line
Who won: Texans.
The impact: Whether Houston spotted a Tannehill tell on game film or “Hard Knocks;” or Tannehill’s got a tendency for throwing lower than his 6-4 height; or the Texans are well-schooled at getting their hands up when a quarterback cocks to throw, Tannehill had five passes blocked by the Texans defensive line — three by J.J. Watt in the second quarter. Two of the Watt deflections turned into interceptions after which the Texans scored touchdowns to go up 17-3.
Dolphins skill position players vs. ball security
Who won: Not the Dolphins
The impact: First games rarely look crisp. On Sunday, the Dolphins looked soggy even by that loose standard. The first two drives ended with third-down fumbles on a snap miscommunication and a good hit. Running back Daniel Thomas got cracked into a fumble and head injury in the second quarter. Houston turned that into the final seven points in the 24-point, second-quarter explosion. Ryan Tannehill’s first interception was a force into tight coverage.