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.