J.J. Watt bats down a Ryan Tannehill pass

After some off-season personnel changes the Houston Texans' defense set out to show the rest of the NFL that last season's dominance was no fluke. With returning defensive stalwarts like J.J. Watt, Brian Cushing, Connor Barwin and Glover Quin, the  Houston Texans began the 2012 regular season by hosting the Miami Dolphins at Reliant Stadium.

The Houston Texans' defense showed some lethargy during most of the the first quarter against the Miami Dolphins; however, with about six minutes to go in the period the defense came alive. Shaking off the early listlessness, Watt and the defensive unit began to show why they were the NFL's second-ranked unit during the 2011 season by dominating the Miami Dolphins for the remainder of the contest.

Watt showed no ill effects from the pre-season elbow dislocation as he terrorized Miami Dolphins' rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Watt managed to bat down four of Tannehill's passes, with two of those batted passes resulting in interceptions. Watt also recorded two unassisted tackles, one assisted tackle and one and a half sacks.

The rest of the Texans' defense refused to be left out of the act. Cushing recorded six unassisted tackles, one assisted tackle and an interception. Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson, who hold down the corners for the Texans, each were able to snag an interception. Glover Quin contributed by causing Miami Dolphins' running back Daniel Thomas to fumble. Tim Jamison chipped in by recording a sack in the fourth quarter. Antonio Smith rounded it out by sharing a sack with Watt.

Overall, the Houston Texans' defense performed like the top-rated defense that they are. If the defense continues to perform at this level the Texans will set themselves up to surpass the success of the 2011 season.