NFL: Cardinals maul Texans to improve to 7-0
Kyler Murray passed for 261 yards and three touchdowns as the Arizona Cardinals overcame a slow start and cruised to a 31-5 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday at Glendale, Ariz.
Murray produced scoring passes to DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk and Zach Ertz in what was a somewhat uneven performance for the Cardinals (7-0) and their standout signal caller. Murray was sacked four times, including by Texans defensive end Jacob Martin for a safety in the first quarter, and had his streak of pass attempts without an interception snapped at 135 when Texans safety Lonnie Johnson Jr. picked him off in the third quarter.
Still, with the Texans (1-6) unable to muster a legitimate threat offensively, the Cardinals easily overcame an early five-point deficit and rebounded after totaling zero yards on their first three possessions and posting their first scoreless opening period in eight games.
The Cardinals are unbeaten after seven games for the time since 1974 when they resided in St. Louis and were coached by legendary Don Coryell.
Murray completed 5 of 7 attempts for 39 yards on a 14-play, 75-yard drive that culminated with his 1-yard pass to Hopkins with 9:01 left in the first half. Ertz appeared to fumble on the previous play, but Arizona retained possession after a review and took a 7-5 lead on the ensuing snap.
The Cardinals needed to cover just 49 yards en route to a 14-5 lead after linebacker Markus Golden recorded a strip-sack on Texans rookie quarterback Davis Mills and also recovered the fumble at the Houston 49-yard line. Arizona converted a third-and-24 with a 41-yard pass play from Murray to A.J. Green before Kirk snagged a 5-yard touchdown with 2:45 remaining in the first half.
Houston trailed 17-5 at the break after amassing 83 total yards and going 0 for 5 on third downs. Ka’imi Fairbairn kicked a 53-yard field goal to set a franchise record with his 15th field goal of at least 50 yards. However, the Texans failed to score a touchdown for a third consecutive road game and were outscored 102-8 in losses to the Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts and Cardinals.
The Texans produced 160 total yards and 80 penalty yards against Arizona.
Ertz added a 47-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter, his first score with Arizona following his acquisition from the Philadelphia Eagles.
Mills completed 23 of 32 passes for 135 yards for Houston.