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Texans defense 'broke' in 44-26 loss to Dolphins

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QBs earn game balls for Texans and Dolphins (2:33)

ESPN Texans reporter Tania Ganguli awards her game ball to Brian Hoyer, and ESPN Dolphins reporter James Walker singles out Ryan Tannehill's stellar performance for his game ball. (2:33)

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- When the Miami Dolphins scored their fifth touchdown of the game, the Houston Texans had a net gain of zero yards.

Sunday's game was a breakdown on both offense and defense. It left several players stunned in the locker room. Some just sat at their lockers in full uniform.

But the defensive breakdowns have been the most surprising this season -- and were again Sunday.

"It broke today," inside linebacker Brian Cushing said. "It broke. There were some plays. It just seemed like some guys were open and making some plays and breaking some tackles, and just kind of snowballing us real fast, and one thing led to another."

Pretty much everybody was culpable. The Texans gave up four touchdown catches -- three of them longer than 50 yards -- in the first half. The other one was a 10-yard touchdown pass from Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill to receiver Jarvis Landry. That followed Landry's 50-yard touchdown catch.

The Dolphins led 21-0 after one quarter, then scored two more touchdowns within the first 1:04 of the second quarter with a 54-yard touchdown pass to Lamar Miller and a pick-six on a pass by Texans quarterback Brian Hoyer that bounced off tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz. The latter wasn't the defense's fault, but not long after, another defensive breakdown followed.

The Texans' offense finally got a first down with just under eight minutes left in the first half. They produced a drive that lasted 4:36 but ended on an incomplete pass on fourth down. Two plays later, Miller ran 85 yards for the Dolphins' sixth touchdown. Safeties Andre Hal and Rahim Moore both dove for Miller and missed the tackles. According to ESPN Stats & Info research, Miller had 125 yards before contact Sunday, the second-most yards before contact of any back this season.

More numbers from ESPN Stats and Info to illustrate just how bad it got:

  • The Dolphins became the first team in NFL history to have four offensive touchdowns of 50 or more yards in one half.

  • The Dolphins had 248 yards after catch, the most they've had in 10 years.

  • Tannehill completed his first 18 pass attempts and only had one incomplete pass. Those 18 consecutive completions helped him set an NFL record with 25 straight completions dating back to last week.

  • The Texans are giving up 28.4 points per game. They are on pace to allow 455 points this season, which would set a franchise record.

  • Behind the strength of the Dolphins' running game, Tannehill was 4-for-4 on play-action passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns.

"We have to go back and do more angles drills, more tackling drills and we've got to coach it better," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said.

The expectation for the season was that the Texans' defense would carry this team. Now, they're struggling in unfathomable ways.

"I think it's bad football," nose tackle Vince Wilfork said. "We have to figure out how to get better. Plain and simple. We got beat. No rhyme or reason. So, we have to make the corrections and move forward."