The Houston Texans held a tentative 17-14 lead over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, but then the Cardinals turned up the pressure. After passing for 159 yards in the first half, Case Keenum managed just 42 yards in the second, and the Cardinals pulled away for a 27-24 win in Glendale.
Keenum looked to be on track for another strong performance. He has been a pleasant surprise for the Texans since taking over for Matt Schaub. Keenum faced a heavy pass rush in the second half, however, and was never able to regain his first-half rhythm. For the game, he was sacked three times, twice in the second half.
The Cardinals stripped Keenum on a sack on the first snap from scrimmage of the game, and defensive end Matt Shaughnessy scooped up the ball and ran into the end zone to give the Cards a 7-0 lead. Keenum responded with touchdown passes to Andre Johnson and tight end Ryan Griffin. With the score tied 14-14, Carson Palmer threw an interception to D.J. Swearinger to set up a Texans go-ahead field goal.
Palmer bounced back nicely in the second half, however. He led two lengthy drives that ended in red-zone field goals, before finally finding the end zone on a 19-yard pass to Andre Roberts with 6:42 remaining in regulation. Palmer went 4-for-5 passing on the drive, and the Cardinals went up, 27-17. For the game, Palmer went 20-for-32 for 241 yards, two touchdowns and the aforementioned pick.
The Texans responded to the Roberts touchdown with a big defensive play. J.J. Watt stripped Rashard Mendenhall to set the Texans up five yards from the goal line. Three plays later, Keenum found Johnson on third down to pull the Texans within three points, 27-24. The strip and recovery was Watt's second of the game.
The Texans defense forced a punt to take over at their own 17-yard line with 2:06 remaining and a chance to drive for the win. The offense stalled just as it had all half, however. Facing fourth-and-3, Keenum was once again affected by pressure and his last pass attempt was knocked away by a defender over the middle.
The Texans gained 41 yards of offense in the second half and 235 yards for the game. With Arian Foster out, the running game managed just 76 yards on 21 carries. The Cardinals gained 204 yards of offense in the second half as part of a 332-yard effort for the game.
Fantasy studs and duds
Andre Johnson caught two touchdowns to salvage pedestrian numbers -- five receptions for 37 yards.
Andre Ellington once again outpaced Rashard Mendenhall on fewer carries. Ellington had 55 yards on 11 carries, compared to 42 yards on 13 carries for Mendenhall.
Texans tight end Ryan Griffin was knocked out of the game in the third quarter with a concussion.
Did they cover?
The Cardinals were favored by four points, according to Odds Shark.
Houston vs. Oakland, Sunday, Nov. 17, 1 p.m. ET
Arizona at Jacksonville, Sunday, Nov. 17, 1 p.m. ET