Miami's defense struggles in loss to Texans
HOUSTON (AP) — Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase couldn't hide his irritation with the team's defense after a 42-23 loss to the Houston Texans on Thursday night.
"We've got to get better fast," he said.
The Dolphins allowed a season high in points on a night Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson matched a career best with five touchdown passes, including ones of 73 and 49 yards.
When asked if second-year defensive coordinator Matt Burke's job was at stake, Gase said he hadn't considered making a major change to his defensive staff. But added that the coaches need to evaluate why the defense is giving up what he called a "massive amount of yardage."
"They try to get everything patched up as fast as possible," Gase said of the staff. "These guys were hired because I liked them when we were coming into the situation we were in. I trusted Matt to get this thing going in the right direction.
"There were a lot of good things that had happened over the last two years," he continued. "We've just got to figure out where are out issues. Is it players? Is it schemes? We have to evaluate that, and we can't be afraid to change if we have to."
Miami's rush defense, which entered the week ranked 29th in the NFL by allowing 136.7 yards a game, allowed Houston another 188 rushing yards on 5.4 yards per carry. Former Dolphins running back Lamar Miller had 133 rushing yards on 18 carries, including a 2-yard touchdown run.
Linebacker Cameron Wake, a five-time Pro Bowler, defended Burke, saying: "He's good," and placed most of the blame on player performance.
"There's no magic pill, there is no secret — it's defense," Wake said. "Each player has a gap or a man or a zone, whatever it is. At some point, the ball is going to get there, and someone is accountable for that. Every man for 60 minutes has to be there. We'll find that guy who's not doing what they're supposed to be doing."
After a 3-0 start to the season with wins over the Titans, Jets and Raiders, the Dolphins have slumped to fall to 4-4.
"We didn't get this one, but at the same time, four weeks ago, everybody was all flowers and cotton candy and puppies and all that," Wake said. "It's not a situation where the sky is falling, but you've got to look at yourself in the mirror, each man from top to bottom and ask: 'What is your role and are you fulfilling that role?'"
With starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill still sidelined with a shoulder injury, the Dolphins turned to Brock Osweiler for a third straight game. In his return to Houston, where he spent one season, Osweiler completed 21 of 37 passes for 241 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. Receiver DeVante Parker had 134 yards on six catches.
"We need to learn from it and get back to work," Osweiler said. "Coach Gase just told us in the locker room that we need to hone in on the details of our system, and he's exactly right."
After Thursday's loss, Gase said he didn't know if Tannehill would be healthy in time for Miami's next game on Nov. 4 against the Jets and that he'd worry about that next week.
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