REPORT CARD

Here's a breakdown of how every unit performed in the Dolphins' 21-20 loss to the Houston Texans.

QUARTERBACKS — Jay Fiedler actually had decent numbers against the Texans, but what will stand out was his fourth-quarter interception, the one that led to Houston's game-winning field goal. That simply was a horrible throw. Fiedler's pass on an out pattern just took way too long to go there, allowing cornerback Marcus Coleman to make a play on the ball. Fiedler was under pressure a few times and made some good throws, but that interception overshadowed everything. Grade: C

RUNNING BACKS — Ricky Williams just couldn't get much going on the ground against Houston, and on the one big play he had, there was a flag for holding. Williams did make a nice play on his touchdown catch. Travis Minor was quiet, while Rob Konrad had a catch out of the backfield. Grade: C+

WIDE RECEIVERS — Chris Chambers had a huge day, including his spectacular catch at the end of the end zone. There were no clear drops to speak of, although it appeared Derrius Thompson could have made a better effort at getting his second foot down on the Dolphins' last possession following the game-winning field goal. The Dolphins receivers seemed to have problems getting open at times. Grade: C

TIGHT ENDS — The big story here was penalties. Rookie Donald Lee was called twice, including once on the drive that ended with Fiedler's interception when the Dolphins were trying to kill the clock. McMichael had the huge penalty on the long Williams run, but in his defense that was a pretty ticky-tack call that more often than not will go uncalled. Still, it was called and it was huge. Grade: D

OFFENSIVE LINE — The guys up front simply were not impressive, either in the running game or in pass protection. There also were a few too many penalties, including calls on Todd Perry, Todd Wade and Wade Smith. Grade: D+

DEFENSIVE LINE — Again, this was not a particularly impressive performance. The Texans had some success running the ball and they were able to keep David Carr from getting sacked. Against an offensive line as mediocre as that of Houston, the Dolphins front four simply has got to do better. Grade: D-

LINEBACKERS — Zach Thomas was active, Junior Seau made some plays, but again there was no big play by the Dolphins defense. Morlon Greenwood got caught inside on a simple sweep that allowed Houston to get a key first down on its last drive. Again, simply nothing special by this unit. Grade: D+

SECONDARY — Same old story here. No big plays. The entire secondary, especially Patrick Surtain and Sammy Knight, looked like it was to blame on the 78-yard touchdown pass that got Houston back in the game. Jamar Fletcher replaced Sam Madison after he was injured on that play, and Fletcher was abused the rest of the way. He gave up way too much cushion on every play and his tackling was poor. Knight also looked at first glance like he had a very rough game. Grade: D-

SPECIAL TEAMS — The big story here was Mark Royals, who was brutal and never gave the Dolphins the big kick they needed. The coverage teams were adequate. Charlie Rogers had one nice kickoff return but didn't make much of a difference. Minor had a nice return on the last kickoff of the game. Olindo Mare didn't get a chance at a field goal, but he kicked off well. Grade: C

OVERALL — The Dolphins were simply brutal and they got what they deserved in the end. Grade: D


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