Texans vs. Cardinals 2013: Arizona's defense steps up, Case Keenum plays admirably

Stephen Dunn

The Cardinals defense stepped up in a big way during the second half of Sunday's win over the Texans, spoiling another effective outing from Case Keenum.

The Houston Texans entered Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals coming off two tight losses to the Kansas City Chiefs and the Indianapolis Colts. They appeared to be improving, despite six straight losses, and a win over the 4-4 Cardinals would have theoretically signaled an upturn for the second half of the season.

Instead, familiar problems along the offensive line and in the secondary reared their heads, as the Texans turned a 3-point halftime lead into a 3-point loss in Arizona. They managed just 41 yards of offense after halftime after gaining 194 in the first, failing to capitalize on big plays made on defense.

If there was any positive takeaway for the offense, it was that Case Keenum once again played reasonably well, according to Vega at Texans blog Battle Red Blog.

Case Keenum continues to do well in his extended interview, but he's got to be much better at some of his decision making. His lack of interceptions is simply an issue of luck right now and it won't hold. On the other hand, his mobility and aggressiveness are exciting and something that's been missing from this offense for a long time. Whether he becomes the long term answer at the position will be determined by his ability to learn from those moments.

Cardinals fans, meanwhile, are ecstatic with their defense's performance. Not that the offense didn't step up. Carson Palmer passed for 241 yards and two touchdowns in the win. However, the defense was arguably the biggest bright spot of the game, according to Skii at Cardinals blog Revenge Of The Birds.

The Cardinals defense deserves a major shout out for their performance. Todd Bowles has really dispelled all doubts that a Horton-less Arizona defense can recreate the magic of 2012. They put pressure on Case Keenum all day, sacking him three times for a total loss of 42 yards. They contained the Houston run game, as Ben Tate was only able to convert 15 rushes into 56 yards. But perhaps their biggest feat came on the very first play of the game, when DE Calais Campbell forced a fumble deep in the Texans red zone. The fumble was then recovered by LB Matt Shaughnessy, who ran it into the end zone to put the Cardinals on the scoreboard within the first 15 seconds of the game. It was a fitting start to the defense's day.

More from SB Nation NFL

NFL Debrief: Nick Foles' mystery trip

Takeaways: Fear the Panthers! Updated playoff picture

Dr. Ali: Manning, Cutler, Locker land on injury report

Richie Incognito defends actions in interview | More on Miami's mess

Terrelle Pryor reaches JaMarcus-level low point

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.