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Notes from the Nest: Cardinals vs. Texans

Game over

That was about as good as it gets — for the Cardinals, anyway. QBs were all efficient, WRs were open, defense was solid.

32-0 final in Glendale. Time to hear from Arians and the players.

1:28 left in fourth quarter

JoJo Dickson shoots the gap on a blitz and sacks Savage in the end zone for a safety. Score is 32-0. Not bad, Cardinals. Not bad at all.

1:48 left in fourth quarter

Texans will take over at their own seven.

1:53 left in fourth quarter

Thomas does a great job to avoid the pressure, step up and find former Arizona Wildcat Dan Buckner all alone in the back of the end zone for the touchdown.

Thomas looked outstanding in his action tonight.

The PAT is good, and it’s 30-0.

2:00 left in fourth quarter

This drive is exactly what the Cardinals wanted. Thomas has been making good reads and throws, while NAU product Zach Bauman has been picking up yards on the ground. Arizona has the ball at the Houston 12.

It’s also third down.

10:57 left in fourth quarter

Defenses forces a punt. That’s a theme for tonight.

Cardinals take over at their own 31.

Still 12:28 left in fourth quarter

Catanzaro’s kickoff sails out of the back of the end zone. Guess that answers those questions, huh?

12:28 left in fourth quarter

A disappointing run into the line doesn’t go anywhere, but Catanzaro connects from 25 yards out to extend the lead.

23-0 Cardinals.

13:10 left in fourth quarter

The Cards call timeout facing a 3rd and 5 at the Houston five. It’s touchdown or bust here. Thomas has led a nice drive, but it would surely feel a little empty if the team is unable to punch it into the end zone.

I wonder if his mobility will factor into this play call.

End of third quarter

Thomas hits Dan Buckner for four yards and a first down. When we get back the Cards will have the ball at the Houston 25 with a 20-0 lead.

Logan Thomas looks OK. He’s been fairly accurate with the ball and is finding open receivers. That’s what you’re hoping to see, right?

3:02 left in third quarter

The defense got a stop and got the offense the ball back. Thomas just hit Kevin Ozier on a nice pass for 22 yards, and the Cardinals have it at the Houston 49.

7:20 left in third quarter

Did Logan Thomas hold onto the ball too long or did the offensive line set him up for failure? Either way, following a couple of nice completions led to first downs the offense stalled as Thomas got sacked a couple of times. Punt is returned to the Houston 15.

13:14 left in third quarter

Cardinals force a punt. A few penalties in this half so far, so that’s nice.

Logan Thomas in the game at QB for the Cardinals. Interested to see what this kid looks like. Plenty of tools, just has to learn how to play QB.

14:53 left in third quarter

Texans begin their first drive at their own 10. Check that, now their own five after a delay of game.

End of first half

The Texans were driving and in field goal range, but Marcus Benard picks off Fitzpatrick’s pass — with one hand, mind you — to end the drive. Safety Anthony Walters provided the pressure.

Cards go into the half up 20-0.

1:20 left in second quarter

Darren Fells drops what may have been a TD pass and ultimately the Cardinals are forced to settle for a 28-yard field goal. Catanzaro remains perfect on the evening, and the Cards are up 20-0.

3:46 left in second quarter

Stanton hits Walt Powell for 45 yards on a pass Dave Burns referred to as “special” in real time. Cardinals at the Texans 26.

4:41 left in second quarter

Defense does its job and forces a punt. Golden with a nice return, but an illegal block in the back on Justin Bethel during the play pushes Arizona back to its 15.

Second team offense still out there, though Jonathan Cooper is still on the field at left guard.

7:50 left in second quarter

The Cardinals move the ball out away from their end zone but an underthrown pass from Stanton leads to Arizona’s first punt of the game. Dave Zastudil makes it a good one, and it’s downed at the Houston three.

11:03 left in second quarter

The Texans don’t go anywhere closer and are forced to punt. Golden fair catches it at the Arizona five (not great), which is where Stanton and the offense will begin from.

12:42 left in second quarter

A penalty on Curtis Taylor for illegal hands to the face gives the Texans a first down at the Arizona 47.

15:00 left in second quarter

Another kickoff into the end zone, another Demens tackle. Texans pick up a first down though and now have it at their 33.

The first-team defense is out of the game.

1:35 left in first quarter

Cardinals go backwards on the drive and, after a pass goes off John Brown’s hands, settle for a 32-yard field goal from Catanzaro.

17-0 home team.

2:34 left in first quarter

Kevin Minter tips the pass, Antonio Cromartie picks it off. Defense gets the turnover, Cards have the ball at the Houston 13.

3:50 left in first quarter

Different drive, same result. Stanton hits Jaron Brown for a five-yard score. Drive was highlighted by some more big catches from John Brown, who is proving on yet another level how much of a playmaker he may be. In fact, if not for a severely underthrown ball by Stanton (that ended up as a pass interference), he would have had a long TD reception.

Worst thing to happen on the drive was Jonathan Cooper getting his leg rolled up on by Stepfan Taylor on a run, but the guard got up and stayed in the game. Was limping a bit, but him staying in is a good thing.

Still 9:29 left in first quarter

Carson Palmer’s day is done. That’ll do, Q, that’ll do.

Drew Stanton in the game, and the offensive line looks a little different as well. Cooper and Larsen still in, though.

9:29 left in first quarter

The D held up pretty good. The first play from scrimmage should have been a loss, but Kevin Minter missed the tackle. The following two passes were nearly picked off, and the Texans were forced to punt.

A penalty on the return pushes the offense back to the 17.

Still 10:37 left in first quarter

Catanzaro boots the kickoff into the end zone, no return. Texans will start on their 20. Good start for the rookie kicker, by the way.

10:37 left in first quarter

Well that works. A couple plays after losing the touchdown pass, Palmer hits Larry Fitzgerald for a seven-yard touchdown. Chandler Catanzaro converts on the extra long extra point, and the Cardinals are up 7-0.

Besides the sack and the penalty, that was an excellent drive for the Cards. Palmer looked incredibly sharp.

11:24 left in first quarter

Palmer hits John Carlson for a 13-yard TD, but an illegal hands to the face on center Ted Larsen negates the play.

12:30 left in first quarter

The offense is rolling. One player after getting crushed by JJ Watt on a sack, which saw Jonathan Cooper get beat, Palmer hits John Brown for a long gain. A couple plays later Palmer hit Rob Housler in stride on a nice looking play for another long gain.

Cards in the red zone.

14:56 left in first quarter

Brittan Golden returns the kick 15 yards, Cards take over on their 21.

3:00 until kickoff

It’s that time, folks. The Cardinals are set for their preseason opener and thus another unofficial start to the 2014 season. They’ll be taking on the Houston Texans and, while you really won’t be able to learn much from this game, there are still a few things worth keeping an eye on.

For one, how will Jonathan Cooper and Bobby Massie fare along the offensive line? Will the ILB duo of Kevin Minter and Larry Foote hold up? Is Carson Palmer as comfortable in the offense as he says?

And, later in the game, has Logan Thomas improved as a quarterback?

Looking forward to finding out.

Oh, the Texans just won the coin toss and elected to defer. Cards will get the ball first.