Texans keep playoff hopes alive with win at Miami

By Simon Evans

MIAMI (Reuters) - The Houston Texans kept their hopes of a first playoff appearance alive with a 27-20 win at Miami on Sunday, all but ending the Dolphins' post-season ambitions.

The victory, after the Texans went 27-0 up in the second quarter, took Houston to 8-7 before their final regular season game at home to AFC East champions New England next Sunday.

The Dolphins' error-filled and injury-riddled performance left them 7-8 and relying on results from other games to have any chance of progressing.

"We are that team now."

Houston's playoff chances are also out of their hands, but they have a chance to finish with a winning record for the first time since they joined the league in 2002.

"We've got an outside chance of making the playoffs next week and we have a realistic chance of becoming winners for the first time.

"There is a lot to look forward to and I am very proud of our guys."

Both sides went into the game knowing they had to win, but only Houston, who have never lost to Miami, played like a team in the last chance saloon.

Miami were strangely lackluster, however, allowing the Texans to score on each of their first five possessions, three of them ending in touchdowns.

Houston quarterback Matt Schaub was given the kind of time and space that Miami's Chad Henne, who threw for 322 yards, could only dream of.

It was a better display from Miami in the second half but with running back Ricky Williams sidelined with a shoulder injury, their options were limited.

A touchdown from Lex Hilliard in the fourth quarter and then a Dan Carpenter field goal brought Miami within seven points with two and a half minutes on the clock, but their defense was unable to get the ball back into Henne's hands.

(Reporting by Simon Evans in Miami; Editing by Sonia Oxley/Ian Ransom)