Mission accomplished. Houston has a problem.
The Texans were held to 41 total yards after the intermission and the Cardinals, despite 3 turnovers, won 27-24 Sunday.
Carson Palmer was 20 of 32 for 241 yards with 2 TDs and another interception (with a fumble) and unexpected touchdown sightings from Andre Roberts and Rob Housler (first in NFL) overcame what could have been a very bad fumble by Rashard Mendenhall deep in Arizona territory late in the game. John Abraham was credited with 3 sacks on defense(first one questionable) and moved past the late Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas with 128.
Houston had come into the came losing a team record six straight games. The club was without Pro Bowlers Arian Foster, Brian Cushing, Owen Daniels and head coach Gary Kubiak was out because of a mini-stroke. Didn't seem to matter as Texas took a 17 -14 halftime lead and nearly won the game from outstanding performances from two stars that still remain: Andre Johnson and J. J. Watts. Johnson had 2 beautiful receiving TDs with excellent footwork in the endzone ruling over superb Patrick Peterson coverage and Watts had 4 tackles, 3 QB hits on Palmer and two fumble recoveries, including the sack. strip and recovery right before the half.
Cardinals started the game in a flurry with the first Abrahams sack (strip?), Calais Campbell pressure and Matt Shaunessy recovery and 6 yard walk into the endzone on the very first play from scrimmage.
Texans answered right back with a 8 play 49 yard drive that resulted with Johnson's 60th career TD, an absolute toe-tapper and the 4th from Texan's Casey Keenum in 2 games.
Cardinals responded with a 6 play 58 yard drive that ended with the much-maligned Housler getting his first NFL score in three seasons.
Keenum used the play action to find rookie TE Ryan Griffin (Texans used the fake very effectively all game) for a 2 yard score after Palmer threw his 15th iNT of the season and in 9 consecutive games(Hello, Elias Sport Bureau, gotta be close to the record, no?) for the 17-14 halftime lead, but not before Justin Bethel had blocked the last gasp 39 yard FG before the half.
Cards second offensive series provided a "Wildcat" look wth Andre Ellington (11 carries for 55 yards) at QB and Peterson at WR. They ran the formation three plays with Ellington going up the middle for gains on the first two and Peterson losing 4 yards end-around on the third snap.
Another second half drive had the team getting most of their game rshing yards with catches from little used TE Jim Dray, runs from Stephan Taylor and Mendenhall and capped by the Roberts 19 yard TD.
The Watt FR and Johnson TD provided late drama but not enough for the Cardinals to pull off the win.
The team is now over .500 at 5-4, still third in the division and play on the road in Jacksonville next week.
Arrows seem to be pointing up, but what do you say?