Rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud overcame his first career multi-interception game and the Houston Texas survived a ragged second half to post a 21-16 victory over the visiting Arizona Cardinals Sunday at NRG Stadium.
Stroud passed for 336 yards and two touchdowns but also tossed three interceptions – two in the red zone. Those turnovers helped offset strong efforts from rookie receiver Tank Dell, who had eight catches for 149 yards, and running back Devin Singletary, who rushed for 112 yards.
After closing to within five points on a Kyler Murray 1-yard run with 2:52 left in the third quarter, the Cardinals (2-9) could not get over the hump, finishing 3 of 10 on third downs and 0 of 3 on fourth downs following the Murray scoring dash en route to their ninth consecutive road loss.
Murray passed for 214 yards and rushed for 51 yards in his second start of the season.
The red-zone opportunities the Texans (6-4) failed to convert in the first half were significant.
Houston surged into the red zone on all five of its first-half possessions, but was stopped on its first when running back Mike Boone was stuffed on fourth down at the Arizona 15 by Cardinals linebacker Kyzir White.
The Texans trailed 7-0 at that juncture, courtesy of a 48-yard scoring pass from Murray to Rondale Moore, but Houston pulled even with a five-play 61-yard drive capped by a 20-yard touchdown pass from Stroud to Dalton Schultz with 5:48 left in the first.
The Texans answered a 57-yard Matt Prater field goal with a 10-play, 75-yard march concluded with an 11-yard Singletary touchdown run with 11:20 left in the half.
But instead of capitalizing on a Derek Stingley Jr. interception of Murray on the next drive, the Texans pushed into the red zone only for Stroud to throw the first of his interceptions, this one to Arizona safety Jalen Thompson.
Stroud appeared to shake off that miscue on the following possession, engineering a six-play, 74-yard march that resulted in a 40-yard touchdown pass to Dell and a 21-10 lead with 26 seconds left in the half. It marked the sixth scoring reception for Dell, a franchise rookie record.
The Texans amassed 333 yards and 18 first downs prior to the intermission while converting 6 of 7 third downs. Stroud passed for 259 yards in the first half while Dell had 120 yards receiving.
– Field Level Media
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