It was a game in which they made a huge defensive play to take the lead and then pulled away in the second half. Houston gave them a scare after a Rashard Mendenhall fumble inside the 10, when Andre Johnson made an incredible catch to bring them within three points, and then the offense stalled, giving Houston one more shot with two minutes left in the game, but they stopped them and came away with the win.
After the game, head coach Bruce Arians that "there were mistakes, but we were able to overcome them on both sides (of the ball)."
What mistakes were there?
The offense was called for three false start penalties. Carson Palmer threw an interception and lost a fumble.
The defense missed multiple interceptions. Rashard Mendenhall fumbled the ball at their own five-yard line.
Even still, they found a way to win. They blocked a field goal. They sacked Case Keenum three times. They scored a defensive touchdown.
According to Arians, it wasn't just the mistakes by players that they had to overcome. Arians was disappointed on many calls the officials made. "Officiating is what it is," he said. "We play football; that's part of the game, so you have to deal with it."
Arians thought that Andre Ellington had gotten a first down when his challenged was denied. "The fumble in the pile I had thought the whistle or three whistles had blown before anything had ever come out, but it wasn't that way." he said. When he was asked if he agreed with the rulings on the two touchdown catches that Andre Johnson had, he asked the reporter if he was trying to get him fined. "The referee said he got them down," he said. "it doesn't matter what I think."
He also felt that the defensive holding call that Andre Roberts drew early in the game should have been a pass interference penalty, which would have put the Cardinals inside the five with a chance to get a touchdown.
Even with all the questionable calls that didn't go Arizona's way, they pulled out the win. Next up is Jacksonville.
After giving the game a look again last night, here is my take on the questionable calls Arians referred to.
On the Ellington spot, the refs got it right. What was key was where the ball was when he reached forward. The ball, was outside the sideline. The rule states "the forward part of the ball in its position when it is declared dead in the field of play shall be the determining point." I equate that to like a play for a touchdown. If a player is going out of bounds and reaches forward to get the ball into the end zone, it can't be outside the pylon. Ellington's reach was beyond the sideline. Were the ball in his right hand, it would have worked.
On the Mendenhall fumble, the ball was clearly on the ground when the whistles came. Now, as to the question of whether the play should have been whistled dead before, based on what I have seen on other forward progress whistles, it did not come late.
Simply put, the Texans did a great job of holding up Mendenhall and getting the ball out. Mendenhall had both hands on the ball and was trying to get down.