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Cardinals 31, Texans 5: Top 10 Observations For Bottomed-Out Houston

Here are 10 observations from the Houston Texans' 31-5 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

The Houston Texans now find themselves 1-6 after a sixth straight defeat, this time losing 31-5 at the hands of the undefeated Arizona Cardinals.

Here are our top 10 observations from this latest setback for the Texans.

Spoiler Alert: Finding any positives was like finding a needle in a haystack.

1 - Costly Penalties

As has been the story all year, the Texans continued to shoot themselves in the foot with unnecessary penalties. This was particularly the case on offense where penalties killed any momentum their stale offense could muster. In total, Houston racked up eight penalties for 80 yards.

2 - What Offense?

It may not have been a legendary game from rookie quarterback Davis Mills, but credit where it's due: He was mostly accurate and kept the ball safe. Arizona's defense had another excellent game, shutting down Houston's receivers consistently and giving Mills next to no time to pass. Mills did his best with what he had, remaining calm and on relatively on target, when the offensive line gave him a chance. He completed 23 of 32 (including one costly Brandin Cooks drop) for a mind-numbing 135 yards and one fumble. However, that particular forced fumble was simply an excellent play by Cardinals linebacker Marcus Golden, and a terrible block by tight end Antony Auclair.

As a whole, regardless of Mills' accuracy, this offense had no momentum. The run game was non-existent yet again, and a swarming Cardinals defense smothered Houston's receivers giving Mills no real threats. Throw in the penalties, some poor blocks from the tight ends and receivers, and a few misread protections by Mills, and it was another no-show on offense.

3 - Anyone Got A Cornerback?

As if it wasn't already perfectly clear, Houston needs cornerbacks. Badly. 

Up front the Texans played solidly, made some big plays and pressured Kyler Murray on more than one occasion. But as soon as Murray was given a little breathing room in the pocket, you could all but guarantee the play would end in a completion. The corners were all over the place, outmaneuvered and outplayed by a deep and speedy Cardinals receiving corps.

Murray finished 20 of 28 for 261 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

4 - Haunted By Their Past

Today felt a little like seeing your ex who is in a happy relationship with a nice house, happy family, and succeeding at work...

J.J. Watt and DeAndre Hopkins, both former cornerstones of the Texans had impressive games.

Hopkins finished with seven receptions for 53 yards and a touchdown, while Watt recorded one tackle for a loss and one QB hit.

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5 - Linemen

One positive to have come out of today was the pass-rushing performance of Houston's defensive line. It set the tone early with a Maliek Collins sack on the first drive, followed by a Demarcus Walker sack on the second, and a Jacob Martin safety on the third.

Second-year defensive end Jonathan Greenard had another strong performance, recording his second straight multi-sack game with two on the day. In five games this season Greenard now has six sacks and seven tackles for a loss.

6 - Slow Second Half

Somewhat of a common theme this season, once halftime was over the Texans began to slump. In total, Houston had just 58 yards of offense in the second half today, scoring zero points.

7 - Third Down Woes

Houston converted just two of 13 third-down attempts and 0 of 2 fourth-down attempts. 

In fact, the Texans had just six first downs all day, none of which came from their 15 rushing attempts.

8 - Johnson Interception

Safety Lonnie Johnson isn't yet the finished product, but after failing to record a single interception his first two seasons. Now in his third year, Johnson has three in four games after intercepting Murray in the third quarter. Murray had just four interceptions all year entering today's game.

9 - Return Of The King

Desmond King may not be having a particularly memorable season at cornerback, but he's a heck of a returner. 

The Texans finally threw the towel in on Andre Roberts as their return specialist this season during the week, and King took full advantage of his opportunities. A shifty King finished the game with 51 yards on four returns and gave the special teams a spark they've missed so far this year.

10 - Defending The Run

The Texans seem to hate the run game. Not only can they not use it to their advantage on offense, rushing for just 42 yards today, but defensively they continue to struggle to contain rushers.

Arizona finished with 172 yards and one touchdown rushing meaning the Texans have allowed at least 170 yards rushing in each of their three games this month.