Texans hold on to beat Dolphins for first winOct 1, 2006 - 8:23 PM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- It was the biggest play of Gary Kubiak's young coaching career, and he couldn't bear to watch.
Kubiak turned away as his Houston Texans denied a potential tying two-point conversion in the final two minutes by the Miami Dolphins and held on for a 17-15 victory that included several significant firsts.
Kubiak registered his first coaching win and top overall pick Mario Williams collected his first sack for the Texans (1-3), who notched their first win of the season at the expense of the sputtering Dolphins (1-3).
"Our football team found something out about themselves today through playing a very good football team," Kubiak said. "They reached way down deep, and I'm truly proud of them."
"It's great to get that first NFL win," Williams said. "I know it's (the win) not going to stop the media, but at least it's going to slow you guys down."
Houston held a 17-6 lead with less than six minutes to go but had to withstand a rally by Miami, which again could not muster any meaningful offense with Daunte Culpepper at the controls.
However, Culpepper put together a pair of fourth-quarter scoring drives against a prevent defense. The first was capped by Olindo Mare's 22-yard field goal with 5:45 to play. The second was capped by his 16-yard touchdown pass to Chris Chambers with 1:39 left.
On the conversion try, Culpepper tossed right to running back Ronnie Brown, who spun and began running left. He pulled up in the backfield and fired a pass into the end zone that was partially tipped by former Dolphin Morlon Greenwood as receiver Marty Booker fell down.
"I realized that Ronnie had gotten the ball and he kind of turned around and went the other way," Williams said. "We knew that he had thrown the ball before, so when I saw him do that, I knew exactly what was happening."
"It was a run-pass option that failed," Dolphins coach Nick Saban said. "We thought that Ronnie had the opportunity to run it, but he obviously didn't see it. It's a play we worked on quite a bit. Like every other play, when it works, you think it's a great play. But when it doesn't work, it's a bad play."
Kubiak did not watch the play, turning his back and walking in the opposite direction. He learned the result from the celebration by his players on his sideline.
"That was pretty cowardly. I've been that way in football through a lot of things," Kubiak admitted. "I'll make the call and just walk away. That's the way I am in certain situations.
"I knew it would come down to that. I kept telling defensive coordinator Richard Smith to prepare for that situation 'cause it could very well come down to that."
The Texans survived an onside kick and ran out the clock. They improved to just 4-36 when trailing after three quarters while dealing the Dolphins another demoralizing defeat.
"No one is pointing any fingers," Saban said. "We just know that we have a lot to work on."
Williams, a defensive end chosen ahead of do-it-all tailback Reggie Bush in the draft, got off to a very slow start this season and was part of a defense that was allowing a staggering 483 yards per game. But he made his presence felt Sunday.
After Carr completed a 70-yard march by opening the fourth quarter with a one-yard TD run on a beautifully executed bootleg that gave Houston a 10-6 lead, Williams sacked Culpepper, then teamed with fellow rookie DeMeco Ryans for another sack on the next play.
"It was great to get that sack, but I should have had another three or four," Williams said. "I just went back to what I did in college. I was just cutting it loose. I was moving, just trying to stay fluid."
The Texans took over on the Dolphins 41 and Carr hooked up with Andre Johnson for 30 yards before finding him with a three-yard fade route for a 17-6 advantage. Carr completed 22-of-29 passes for 230 yards and Johnson caught nine passes for 101 yards.
"I can definitely tell (Kubiak's) trusting me a little bit more," Carr said. "That is going to come with just being around each other and me proving to him that I can do it in certain situations."
"In the first three games this season, I have never had this many opportunities to make plays," said Johnson, who has 30 catches this season. "Coach Kubiak's giving me the opportunities, so I'm just going out and trying to do the best I can with it."
For the fourth straight game, the immobile Culpepper was sacked five times. He was 23-of-39 for 249 yards but again had the Dolphins settling for field goals instead of touchdowns.
"There are still areas where we can improve in the passing game," Saban said. "The timing is better, but we can continue to work on that. We really made a conscious effort - that's why there were more passes in the game today."
Considered a Super Bowl contender at the start of the season, Miami has seven field and two TDs in its last three games. A former Pro Bowl quarterback, Culpepper has received most of the blame.
"Execution level is the biggest problem," Culpepper said. "We have to be able to go out and execute better. We need to move the ball better on first and second down to put us in short, makeable third downs."
"I don't know what is enough time," Dolphins right guard Damian McIntosh said. "If he's getting hit, it's obviously not enough time. We've got to do what we can do."
A drab first half saw the teams trade field goals, with Mare booming a 52-yarder and Kris Brown answering with a 32-yard kick.
On the first possession of the second half, Carr drove the Texans into Dolphins territory before he fumbled after a sack by defensive end Jason Taylor, who picked up the loose ball and returned it 19 yards to the Houston 31.
That led to a 29-yard field goal by Mare that gave Miami a 6-3 lead.
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