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Texans vs. Cardinals: Snap counts and formation observations from the game

Who played, who didn't and what the the formations look like?

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

When the Arizona Cardinals played the Houston Texans, the offense changed things up a little bit with their formations and even playing time. On the other side of the ball, things seemed more steady.

In terms of playing time on offense, there were 66 official snaps. For the first time all season, Carson Palmer did not take every snap. This was because of the three plays they went with a Wildcat formation and Andre Ellington took the snap.

The starting offensive line played all 66 snaps. Palmer played 63 snaps. Tackle Bobby Massie came in for one snap as a tackle eligible as the second tight end.

Wide receiver Larry FItzgerald was on the field for 63 snaps, while the other receiver snaps went like this: Andre Roberts with 44, Jaron Brown with 20, Michael Floyd with 12 and Teddy Williams with one. Patrick Peterson was in on three snaps (the wildcat plays)

The running backs saw roughly the same playing time as other weeks. Ellington led the way with 31, followed by Rashard Mendenhall with 26, Stepfan Taylor with seven and Alfonso Smith with four.

The tight ends saw more playing time. In fact, there was only one play I saw when there was no tight end on the field. This is a change from other weeks, when anywhere from 10-15 plays were with four receivers.

Jim Dray led the group with 55 snaps. Rob Housler played 44 and newcomer Jake Ballard saw 22 snaps.

One interesting thing I saw was one play in which there was no running back. There were four receivers and a tight end.

Also, if you noticed a few times when Ellington was in the game, he would start in the backfield and then motion out. That's normal, but what is interesting is when Jim Dray is left as the only guy in the backfield. Nothing says pass play more than Jim Dray in the backfield alone. There is no way he is taking a handoff.

On defense, there were really only three formations -- base, nickel and dime. Earlier in the season, they had some 4-3 base, some 3-3 nickel, some 3-2 dime. It really has settled on 3-4, 2-4 and 2-3. There was one 3-3 look I remember seeing and on the goalline they went 5-3. It didn't help, as they scored on that play.

Here are the snap counts:

There were 68 official defensive snaps. The normal ironmen were once again on the field the entire game -- Yeremiah Bell, Patrick Peterson, Karlos Dansby and Daryl Washington. Jerraud Powers and Tyrann Mathieu both were on the field for 67 of the 68 snaps. Rashad Johnson came in for nickel packages, which was 36 snaps and Javier Arenas was in on 10 snaps, when the team went dime.

The outside linebacker rotation saw John Abraham on the field for 59 snaps. Matt Shaughnessy was in on 43 snaps. Marcus Benard saw 24 snaps, mostly when the team was in nickel.

On the defensive line, Calais Campbell saw the most time with 66 snaps. Darnell Dockett played 58 snaps, while Alameda Ta'amu had 17, Dan Williams 16 and Frostee Rucker 13.