Final

Texans 21

(1-0, 1-0 away)

Dolphins 20

(0-1, 0-1 home)

1:00 PM ET, September 7, 2003

 

1 2 3 4 T
HOU 3 3 9 621
MIA 0 14 0 620

Brown's boots, stout D the keys

MIAMI (AP) -- A humble second-year franchise playing at highly touted Miami, the Houston Texans were the biggest underdogs of the NFL's opening weekend.

Boot...there it is! Brown pumps the game-winning FG through against Miami.

That made them mad. So did the Dolphins' trash-talking during pregame warmups.

"One of their players said, `I'll see you after today's practice," Houston's Jabar Gaffney said. "That was their thinking -- they were looking at us like this was just a little practice."

The Dolphins can only wish the game had been just a practice. Kris Brown kicked his fifth field goal, a 35-yarder, with 25 seconds left and the Texans stunned Miami 21-20 Sunday.

"Not many people gave us a chance to win, but we're not shocked," Brown said. "We took it as a slap in the face that we were the largest underdogs the opening weekend."

The Week 1 upset was the Texans' second in as many seasons. Last year they became the first expansion team since 1961 to win their opening game by beating the Dallas Cowboys.

Miami, a 14-point favorite, fell to 0-1 for the first time in 12 years.

"I'm stunned. Shocked. Disappointed. Amazed," defensive tackle Larry Chester said. "No one could have told me we were going to lose -- not with this team."

David Carr kept Miami's proud defense on its heels by throwing for 266 yards, including a 78-yard touchdown to Corey Bradford. Brown made field goals of 50, 36, 24 and 23 yards before hitting the game-winner.

The Texans forced the game's only three turnovers, including an interception by Marcus Coleman that set up the winning score. They limited Ricky Williams, last year's NFL rushing champion, to 69 yards on the ground.

"There was never any room to run the ball," he said, "because we couldn't get in any kind of rhythm."

The Dolphins, touted as a potential Super Bowl team, had won 11 consecutive openers and 17 consecutive home games in August and September since 1994. They're below .500 for the first time since the end of 1996.

Coleman intercepted Jay Fiedler's desperation pass at the 5-yard line on the final play, and the crowd booed the Dolphins as the clock ran out. Miami lost to a team that went 4-12 last year and was outscored 107-38 while losing all four exhibition games last month.

"The way we were playing today, it wouldn't have mattered who we played," coach Dave Wannstedt said. "We would have lost the game."

The Dolphins committed 11 penalties, with the most costly a holding infraction that negated a 48-yard run to the 1 by Williams. He also lost a fumble that led to a Houston field goal, but he put Miami ahead in the fourth quarter by turning a short reception into a 35-yard touchdown.

Allen's Analysis
Eric Allen
Question on the Texans: No sacks allowed today. Has the offensive line improved that much?
It's improved a great deal and should be commended for its effort against the Dolphins. Coming into this game, the consensus was that Carr would spend most of the game on his back. For them to allow no sacks was a great feat.

Question on the Dolphins: Any circumstances for which you see Wannstedt losing his job in-season?
No, if there was a coach out there -- like a Bill Parcells -- who could turn this team around, I'd say yes. But there isn't. However, I do believe if the team continues this kind of play he'll be gone at the end of the season.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

The Texans answered with a 76-yard drive that took 7{ minutes. Brown's 24-yard field goal left Houston trailing 20-18 with 4:55 left.

Coleman then stepped in front of a pass by Fiedler to give the Texans the ball at the Miami 36, and seven plays later Brown put them ahead.

"We felt if we could take the game into the fourth quarter, the pressure would shift to the Dolphins, because they were the favorites," coach Dom Capers said. "Then we'd need just a couple of big plays."

Chris Chambers gave Miami the lead by making touchdown receptions of 57 and 21 yards, with the latter a spectacular one-handed grab in the back of the end zone.

Fiedler's three scoring passes tied his career high, but Carr was better, completing 17 of 31 attempts. The Dolphins failed to sack the second-year quarterback, who was sacked an NFL-record 76 times last year.

After falling behind 15-14 late in the third quarter, Miami drove 80 yards to regain the lead. The Dolphins faked a reverse and Fiedler threw to Williams, who wove through the defense and lost his left shoe running out of the grasp of the last potential tackler, safety Matt Stevens.

But Fiedler's 2-point conversation pass was incomplete, which proved decisive. At the finish, the Texans heard no more trash-talking.

"They have the last word," Miami linebacker Zach Thomas said. "I don't have any words."

Game notes


Houston released long snapper Chance Pearce and signed rookie long snapper Bryan Pittman, who was activated for the game. ... Miami CB Sam Madison twisted his left ankle but said he expects to practice this week. ... Backup DB Shawn Wooden strained his right hamstring and broke his left hand. ... Houston LB Antwan Peek sprained his right knee and missed second half. ... Texans Pro Bowl defensive end Gary Walker was inactive with an injured left shoulder.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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