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How Kyler Murray Boosted His MVP Status Against Texans Defense

Kyler Murray threw for three touchdowns and did much more.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray dazzled and danced behind his offensive line. The Houston Texans were able to add pressure, finishing with four sacks on the day. 

That wasn't enough. 

Murray made the most of his protection for four quarters of action at State Farm Stadium on his way to a 31-5 victory. The Texans return back to NRG Stadium on a six-game losing streak while Murray continues to boost his stock in the race for MVP honors. 

It was one of those days where it didn't just rain. It poured. 

“That dude is changing direction, it’s crazy, and he can still throw a dot,” defensive end Jonathan Greenard said. “It’s hard. It’s like you’re playing a video game." 

Murray finished 20 of 28 passing for 261 yards and threw three touchdowns. He finished with a rating of 121.3, his second-highest of the season. And when no one was opened, Murray used his legs to keep plays alive. 

He only rushed for 10 yards, but what the stats won't tell you are the plays that were kept alive. Several plays on third down could have been stopped behind of the line of scrimmage. 

A quick pivot, a juke and a strike later, the Cardinals had a fresh set of downs. Houston didn't have an answer on how to contain the 6-foot wonder. 

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"We did our best to try and keep him in the pocket as much as possible, but, at the end of the day, he’s still going to make his plays,” Greenard said. 

Greenard, a surprise for the Texans' defensive line, once again made plays. He recorded a pair of sacks and two tackles for losses. Safety Lonnie Johnson recorded an interception in the third quarter on a promising drive. 

Unfortunately, for as many chances Houston's defense provided for the offense, rookie QB Davis Mills and Co. couldn't get it done. The Texans tallied eight total first downs and settled for a 53-yard field goal from Ka'imi Fairbairn as the only offensive-driven points. 

Defensive tackle Maliek Collins made headlines for two different reasons. The veteran recorded his first sack of the season on the opening drive which led to a punt. On the final drive before the half, Collins recorded what likely could have been considered his second sack. 

Instead, referees determined that Collins' body location on the hit was too high, resulting in a roughing the passer penalty. What should have been a loss of nine on third down later resulted in a 31-yard field goal by Arizona's Matt Prater. 

“Some of those things, they just happen,” Texans coach David Culley said. “I thought the one on (Collins) was just one of those things where they were just playing football. He was playing hard and he just happened to hit the guy right in the helmet. 

"We tell them to play hard and keep playing hard like that. But those things happen.”

The Texans return home to face the surging Los Angeles Rams next Sunday before taking on the fellow one-win Miami Dolphins.