Updated Nov 10, 2013 - 6:27 pm
Notes from the Nest: Arizona Cardinals vs. Houston Texans
Cardinals hang on for a 27-24 victory and you know they'll take it.
Playoff hopes stay alive with the win. Time to head downstairs and hear from the team.
1:25 left in fourth quarter
Jerraud Powers breaks up a 4th down pass attempt, and this one is all over. Cards can bring out the offense for the victory formation, and the Cards will improve to 5-4 on the season.
2:06 left in fourth quarter
Cards lose the challenge and send Zastudil out to punt. It's fair caught at the Houston 28. Here we go.
2:11 left in fourth quarter
Facing a 3rd and 7 Palmer hits Ellington for a great six-yard play. Sadly, that would be a yard short and leave the Cardinals with an interesting decision to make.
Bruce Arians is challenging the spot of the ball. If successful, the first down would be HUGE. If not, do you go for it on 4th and 1 from the your own 47? Probably can't, not with a three point lead.
4:31 left in fourth quarter
So here we are. The Cardinals will take over at their own 18 with the game still very much in doubt. Points would be huge, but they need to at least pick up some first downs and flip the field.
A three-and-out won't work here. Looks like Ellington is the RB, by the way.
4:34 left in fourth quarter
It is indeed a catch, and this ballgame ain't over. Turnovers, they'll kill ya.
And so will Andre Johnson.
4:34 left in fourth quarter
Andre Johnson comes down with what is -- for the moment -- a ridiculous touchdown catch. The play is under review, and it's going to be a tough one to overturn.
Once again, the fanferees think it's an incomplete pass, but we'll see.
4:37 left in fourth quarter
Commence meltdown? Mendenhall gets into a pile of bodies and apparently fumbles the football. Texans recover, and if this stands they'll have the ball at the Arizona five.
4:53 left in fourth quarter
Cardinals force a punt, which Lechler puts at the Arizona five. This game has featured some really excellent punts, and fortunately that's not the only positive to take away from this one. Otherwise this would be the late-90s Cardinals and that would not be much fun.
At any rate, fans are starting to head to the exits. Barring a meltdown, the Cardinals should escape with this one.
6:42 left in fourth quarter
Palmer hits Andre Roberts on a nice wheel route for a 19-yard touchdown. It's Palmer's second scoring strike of the day, and it has the Cardinals up 27-17.
8:36 left in fourth quarter
Cardinals get a first down as Housler drags a defender to the marker. Arizona at the Houston 32 and rolling.
11:30 left in fourth quarter
John Abraham gets his third sack of the game and Marcus Benard somehow avoids a personal foul with a late hit on the play, and Texans are forced to punt. Cardinals take over at their own 19 with the lead and a chance to maybe put this game away with a touchdown.
15:00 left in fourth quarter
Texans will start their drive and the quarter from their own 23. Arizona's defense has played well, need to keep pressuring Keenum. The running game hasn't done much for the Texans, so take advantage of their being one-dimensional.
Oh, and hold onto those easy interceptions.
:02 left in third quarter
We don't always get what we want. Palmer can't connect with Roberts in the corner of the end zone so Feely comes in and converts a 21-yard field goal. Cards now back on top 20-17, but it could (and maybe should) be a bigger lead.
:07 left in third quarter
Cardinals call timeout facing a 3rd and goal from the three. This drive has featured a season-high 12-yard run from Rashard Mendenhall as well as a ridiculously perfect pass from Palmer to Housler down the seam. It'd be nice to get a TD here.
4:20 left in third quarter
Defense does its job and gets the offense the ball back, with good field position, too.
Palmer a quick-hitter to Roberts for nine yards, and the Cards are at their own 47.
5:26 left in third quarter
John Abraham gets his second sack of the day (may want to block that guy, Houston), and the Texans take a timeout facing a 2nd and 20 from their own 12.
May be up to the defense to win this game, and I think they're plenty capable.
6:06 left in third quarter
Mendenhall gets stuffed on a 3rd and 2 and Arizona's drive stalls. Jay Feely comes on and converts a 35-yard field goal, and we're all tied up.
Not exactly what the Cardinals wanted -- and where is Ellington, by the way? -- but could be worse.
11:18 left in third quarter
Cardinals come up big on D -- narrowly missing another interception -- and force a punt. The offense takes over at the AZ 41, and it's high time they put another drive together.
13:34 left in third quarter
No, it did not. Cards go three and out. Oops.
15:00 left in third quarter
Cards will start at their own 20. Does the momentum from the blocked FG carry over? We'll see.
End of second quarter
Defense holds the Texans to a field goal attempt, which is blocked by Justin Bethel. So, crisis averted.
Cards trail 17-14 at the break and will get the ball to start the second half.
:37 left in second quarter
A false start got things off on the wrong foot, an incomplete pass happened, and then Palmer was strip/sacked by J.J. Watt, who recovered the fumble.
On the bright side, Palmer just got credited with a tackle. So there's that.
Texans have it at the Arizona 22.
:50 left in second quarter
D comes up strong then, and the punt is returned by Peterson to the Arizona 32. Cards have two timeouts left so may as well see if they can do something here. Right?
2:00 left in second quarter
Facing a 3rd and long, Keenum's pass bounces off a wide open Karlos Dansby's hands and goes right to DeAndre Hopkins for a gain of 22. Instead of a turnover or, at worst, a punt, the Texans instead have the ball at the 26 with a fresh set of downs.
3:28 left in second quarter
Penalties and poor offensive line play kill the drive. Zastudil's punt bounces out of bounds at the Houston 1 or so. What. A. Punt.
5:17 left in second quarter
Andre Ellington takes a delayed handoff and picks up a big 23 yards for the Cardinals. Now at their own 41, this is a big drive for them.
6:31 left in second quarter
Bullock! The Texans get into field goal range and Randy Bullock puts it through from 48 yards out. Texans take their first lead of the game and score off of Arizona's turnover.
8:40 left in second quarter
On second down Palmer tries to hit a well-covered Housler down the field, but D.J. Swearinger picks it off. It's the fourth interception of the year for the Texans, and they have it at the Arizona 45.
9:30 left in second quarter
Illegal block in the back kills a solid return (maybe helped it, though), and Cards take over at their four.
9:37 left in second quarter
Aaaaand that's exactly what happened. Keenum finds Garrett Graham open in the back of the end zone and we're all tied up.
9:41 left in second quarter
Texans are moving the ball down the field with relative ease, and have it at the Arizona 2. Cardinals call a time out, if only to catch their breath a little bit. It's second down, does the D have what it takes to make a stand here?
Kind of not good when you allow the other team to march right down the field and score after your offense was kind enough to score a touchdown.
13:57 left in second quarter
Kickoff sails into the end zone for a touchback.
Announcement in press box is Michael Floyd is questionable to return with a shoulder injury. No need, the team has tight end galore to throw to!
13:57 left in second quarter
Rob Housler has found the end zone!
The third-year TE took a screen pass in for a 12-yard touchdown, the first of his career. He celebrated by lifting an imaginary monkey off of his back.
14:09 left in second quarter
Jake Ballard makes his first catch as a Cardinal, and the TE's reception brings the ball to the Houston 12. Cards moving the ball with relative ease thus far, important to punch it in.
15:00 left in second quarter
Cards line up for a 3rd and 1 but Eric Winston is called for a false start, so now it's 3rd and 6. Math.
At the Houston 34, so not exactly chip shot FG range, either.
1:25 left in first quarter
Peterson returns the punt to the Arizona 42. Offense showed signs of life last drive but, as has been the case much of the season, couldn't convert on 3rd down.
Gotta do better.
3:12 left in first quarter
Cardinals move it to the Houston 41 before stalling, and Zastudil punts it away. Ball takes a great bounce (planned that way, I'm sure) and is downed at the Houston 1.
You're up, defense.
Even still 5:55 left in first quarter
Kickoff sails into the end zone, Cards start at their own 20.
Still 5:55 left in first quarter
Refs confirm the ruling on the field, and the PAT means this game is all tied up at 7.
5:55 left in first quarter
Keenum drives the Texans down the field and appears to hit Andre Johnson in the back corner for a 7-yard touchdown. It is under review, and the fanferees in the stadium don't think the wideout got his second foot down in time.
It was real close, and my guess here is the ruling on the field will stand.
10:47 left in first quarter
Offense does nothing and Carson Palmer throws his first near-pick of the game. Punt leaves the Texans on their own 49.
12:43 left in first quarter
Cardinals force a three and out on Houston's next possession, and Patrick Peterson gets little on the punt return. Cardinals will start from their own 13.
Offense has been spotted a 7-0 cushion.
14:46 left in first quarter
The opening kickoff was returned to the 15. On Houston's first play, Case Keenum is stripped of the ball by John Abraham. Matt Shaughnessy picks up the fumble and takes it to the end zone. Tack on the PAT, and it's 7-0 Cardinals.
Tough to start a game any better than that, folks.
2:00 until kickoff
The national anthem has been sung, the giant flag has been put away and the coin has been flipped.
The Texans won the toss and have chosen to receive the football.
It's another sellout here at University of Phoenix Stadium, but the stands are not exactly full. At any rate, this is a big game for the Cardinals as they need to knock off a struggling Texans team to advance to 5-4 on the season.
Oh yeah, Cards are wearing their alternate black jerseys for the final time this season.
Adam Green, Web Content Editor - ArizonaSports.com
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