Houston, TX – Arian Foster ran for a pair of touchdowns during a 24-point barrage late in the first half, as the Houston Texans opened the season with a 30-10 victory over the Miami Dolphins at Reliant Stadium.
The Texans looked sluggish early and trailed 3-0 midway through the second quarter, but the stout Houston defense forced four consecutive Miami turnovers -- including three interceptions of Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill -- in the final 6 1/2 minutes of the half and the offense took advantage with four scores to turn the game around.
Foster, who was questionable for the game because of a knee issue, ran for 79 yards and two scores on 26 carries for Houston (1-0), which is considered a Super Bowl contender after reaching the playoffs for the first time as AFC South champs last year.
Houston quarterback Matt Schaub, who missed the final six games of the 2011 regular season and the team's playoff run because of a foot injury, had a nice return. He completed 20-of-31 passes for 266 yards with a touchdown in the victory.
Tannehill, the first Dolphins rookie quarterback to start a season opener, did not look like the second coming of Dan Marino, who was the last Miami quarterback selected with a first-round draft pick. The Texas A&M product, chosen eighth overall in April, threw for 219 yards on 20-of-36 efficiency for a Miami offense that did not produce a touchdown.
It was a losing debut for new Miami coach Joe Philbin, who was Green Bay's offensive coordinator last season. The Dolphins (0-1) are coming off a 6-10 mark in 2011 that included an 0-7 start, and are trying to avoid a fourth straight losing season.
Johnathan Joseph came up with the first pick of Tannehill, leading to a tying 35-yard Shayne Graham field goal with 6:12 left in the half.
Things only got worse for the Dolphins ... and quickly.
Brian Cushing picked off a deflected Tannehill throw near midfield and Foster finished a 7-play, 54-yard drive with a 14-yard touchdown run to give the Texans a 10-3 lead.
On the first play after the ensuing kickoff, Kareem Jackson picked off another tipped Tannehill pass. A pass interference penalty at the goal line then set up Foster's 2-yard TD run to make it 17-3 with just 43 seconds left before the intermission.
The Texans, however, still weren't done, as Danieal Manning recovered a Daniel Thomas fumble on the first play after the next kickoff and Schaub found Andre Johnson with a 14-yard TD pass just three plays later to make it 24-3 heading to the break.
Miami stopped Houston's first possession of the third quarter and immediately cashed in thanks to Marcus Thigpen's 72-yard punt return for a touchdown, but the Texans answered with a 64-yard drive that ended in a 40-yard field goal from Graham for a 27-10 advantage.
Graham added a 19-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter and Miami's next two drives ended with turnovers on downs inside the Houston 10.
Tannehill's first offensive series ended with a fumble on 3rd-and-6 from near midfield, although the Dolphins managed to recover and punted it away. The Texans followed with a march to the Miami 30, but it ended in missed 52-yard field goal by Graham.
The Dolphins took advantage of the field position and drove far enough for a 39-yard Dan Carpenter field goal for a 3-0 lead.
The Texans improved to 7-0 all-time against the Dolphins ... Johnson had eight catches for 119 yards for Houston ... Reggie Bush led the Miami ground game with 69 yards on 14 carries and added six receptions for 46 yards ... Marino didn't start in his rookie season until Miami's sixth game of the 1983 campaign ... Miami's only previous run of four straight losing seasons came in the first four years of the franchise from 1966-69.