Xavien Howard's scoop-and-score gives Dolphins commanding lead

MIAMI -- Coming off a Week 11 bye, the Miami Dolphins are making things look easy against the Houston Texans.

What looked like a mismatch on paper has turned into a blowout early, with the Dolphins opening a 27-0 lead after Xavien Howard scored on a fumble recovery.

Texans quarterback Kyle Allen completed a short pass to tight end Jordan Akins -- who was hit hard by Dolphins safety Eric Rowe to force the fumble.

Howard recovered the loose ball and returned it 16 yards for his first defensive touchdown since Week 18 of the 2021 season.

The play punctuated a disastrous three-play stretch for Houston; Allen nearly threw an interception to Kader Kohou on first down and was strip-sacked by Bradley Chubb on second down before the scoop-and-score TD on third down. The Texans had accumulated just 32 total yards of offense on 25 plays thus far.