Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and many of the Dolphins starters made their preseason debuts Saturday as Miami took a commanding 28-3 victory over the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium.
After a turnover on the opening possession of the game, Tagovailoa and the Miami offense returned to the field and settled in for a 14-play, 93-yard drive that took up 7:31 of game time. Five different receivers caught passes during the drive, which culminated in a two-yard touchdown run from running back Raheem Mostert to give the Dolphins a 7-0 lead with 5:30 left to play in the first quarter.
After Texans kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn nailed a 35-yard field goal to cut the lead to 7-3, Miami finished off the half with back-to-back touchdowns.
Quarterback Skylar Thompson orchestrated an extensive 15-play, 80-yard drive kick-started by a 20-yard rush on third-and-14 from rookie running back De’Von Achane. Fellow running back Salvon Ahmed kept the drive alive with his running and pass-catching ability and eventually scored on his seventh touch of the possession, an eight-yard reception from Thompson.
Ahmed continued to make plays later in the half as he scampered down the sideline to the Houston 17-yard line for a 65-yard gain. Thompson then found wide receiver Braxton Berrios on third-and-11 for an 18-yard touchdown reception to push Miami's lead to 21-3 before the break.
After rushing for 129 yards in the first half against Atlanta in Week 1, the Dolphins again put up a strong performance with 140 yards on the ground Saturday night. It was the team's most rushing yards in the first half of a preseason game since at least 2000.
The Dolphins defense, meanwhile, held rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud and the Texans to just three points and 80 yards of offense in the first half.
In the second half, Thompson and the offense continued to pick up chunk plays and the defense continued to thwart Houston's advances.
Rookie running back Chris Brooks scored the game's final touchdown, an 18-yard reception from Thompson, to extend Miami's lead to 28-3 late in the third quarter.
Tagovailoa finished 5-of-7 for 61 yards and one interception while Thompson posted 157 yards and three touchdowns on 15-of-22 passing.
Ahmed finished with a game-high 99 rushing yards on 12 carries and 32 receiving yards on a team-high four catches. It was the most rushing yards by a Dolphins back in a preseason game since Aug. 14, 2004 (Fred Russell).
Berrios led a balanced receiving effort with three receptions for 33 yards.
Through two preseason games, the Dolphins defense has given up just one offensive touchdown and 413 total yards of offense.
Today, the team's run defense was particularly strong. The Texans picked up just one first down on the ground and managed only 32 rushing yards on 14 attempts (2.3 avg.).
Miami, however, totaled 205 rushing yards and averaged 5.4 yards per carry offensively.
Defensive back Jamal Perry led Miami with four tackles.
Stroud finished 7-of-12 for 50 yards while Davis Mills ended the evening 10-of-22 for 94 yards.
The Dolphins will look to finish the 2023 preseason with consecutive wins when they head to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Kickoff on Saturday, August 26 is set for 7:00 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on CBS Miami.