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Big Play Breakdown: Texans handle Murray, earn another home win


After the past three years, I'll take a win no matter how it happens, but my goodness, my heart is having a hard time with these insanely close endings. But, BUT, like I said, I'LL TAKE IT.

The Texans are 6-4. Say it with me, y'all. 11 weeks in, there isn't ANYONE that saw this happening, this year, but after a 21-16 win over the Cardinals, here we are. How did it happen? Let's dive into the Big Plays from this win over Arizona.

1st Quarter - Texans Ball

5:54 remaining

3rd and six

+20 yard line

Cardinals ahead 7-0

The Texans put together a second consecutive drive into the Cardinals red zone. On the first drive into the red zone, the Texans were stopped on 4th down. So, instead of getting to fourth down, the Texans just decided to go get a touchdown on a key 3rd and six. The Texans had 11 personnel in the game and came out in a 3x1 formation with TE Dalton Schultz flexed out as the one into the boundary. The Cardinals looked like they were playing some version of cover three, middle of the field closed coverage. Either way, given the Texans alignment, Schultz was the key. He widened the CB to that side a bit then just as he turned his route back to the inside. As he did, QB C.J. Stroud threw a low laser to keep it away from that outside defender and the safety breaking on the ball from the inside. Schultz went low to get it and slidddddd right into the end zone. No Cardinals player touched him so when Schultz broke the plane of the goal line, the Texans had a touchdown to even the score.

2nd Quarter - Texans Ball

11:29 remaining

2nd and ten

+11 yard line

Cardinals ahead 10-7

The Texans came out in 12 personnel and put both tight ends to the right side of the formation with WR John Metchie III in a tight split to that right side next to them. The Texans ran DUO to that right side and the interior of the OL just mashed the Cardinals front. From TE Brevin Jordan through to OC Michael Deiter, they hammered the Cardinals inside and RB Devin 'Motor' Singletary had a head of steam into the LOS and a MASSIVELY wide hole. Jordan peeled off to kick LB Kyzir White out of the hole and Motor was clean into the secondary. When he cut back off of S Budda Baker, he ran right into Shaq Mason who was blocking the other Cardinals S Jalen Thompson. Baker made contact at the five and Singletary wiggled out of the tackle attempt but was hit by two Cards at the three yard line. Motor, then, powered his way through those tackle attempts and dove into the end zone with his second rushing TD in as many weeks.

2nd Quarter - Texans Ball

11:20 remaining

1st and ten

-25 yard line

Texans ahead 14-10

Deep Shot time. The Cardinals had an early lead, but Motor's rushing TD put the Texans ahead. As a result, the Cardinals decided they would try to get the lead back with a deep TD. So, the Cardinals put their fastest WR Hollywood Brown on the same side as CB Derek Stingley Jr. As soon as the ball was snapped, my view through QB Kyler Murray was right to Brown. I saw him explode off the ball and I knew that's where Murray was going to throw and he did. Murray launched all the way down the field and Sting played the deep ball about as well as any CB could play it. He saw Brown look up for the ball and that's when Sting looked up too. When the ball descended, Sting just went up and snatched it away for his second career INT. What a play that was!

2nd Quarter -Texans ball

0:34 remaining

1st and ten

+41 yard line

Texans ahead 14-10

The Texans executed the end of half drive as they've done all year - brilliantly. At the 41-yard line, they had one timeout remaining and we were discussing on the broadcast that the Texans were setting up for the field goal. Well, C.J. Stroud and Tank Dell had other ideas. The Texans came out in a three WR set with TE Dalton Schultz in an offset FB position in the backfield to help in protection. Tank was in a condensed split on the right side. On the snap, Tank took off downfield; now, I can't see exactly where he ended up, originally, but I do know where he ended up, eventually. Stroud took the snap and dropped to throw with a little pressure in his face. So, he escaped the pocket to the right side. When he did, Tank took off for the end zone. Stroud launched and it just flew over Cardinals CB Marco Wilson's head…

…right into the hands of Tank Dell for a TD. Unreal. A HUGE TD just before the half.

4th Quarter - Cardinals ball

14:16 remaining

1st and ten

+31 yard line for the Cards

Texans ahead 21-16.

Cardinals RB James Conner gave the Texans fits in the run game throughout the contest, so when the Cardinals got into Texans territory, down by five, early in the fourth quarter, I was a little worried. But, Will Anderson Jr eased my worries with one of the most physically impressive plays I've seen in a while. The Cardinals came out in a balanced Pro set (TE/WR to each side - a formation I call Tech). They ran a zone read and Anderson Jr did something that he did a ton at Alabama - he ran right to the mesh - the handoff intersection between RB and QB. As soon as the ball was snapped, Anderson Jr took off and Murray saw him, but it was a half second too late because he couldn't pull the ball from James Conner's belly. Anderson Jr made contact with Conner immediately but it looked like Conner was going to spin out of the tackle attempt. However, the rookie from Alabama SNATCHED Conner with one hand and tossed him down for a HUGE TFL to start that fourth quarter drive.

4th Quarter - Cardinals ball

0:35 remaining

4th and eight

+27 yard line for the Cards

Texans ahead 21-16

The Final Play. The ending of the Atlanta game resonates so much with me and I know that it resonates with DeMeco Ryans as well. He just will not let a QB sit still and make an easy throw late in any game. So, on this final play, the Cardinals had QB Kyler Murray in the gun with 3rd down RB Tony Jones to his side and a 2x2 set in the formation. Coach Ryans overloaded the left side of the formation with three down lineman, Jerry Hughes by himself to the right side and pressure coming…FAST. S Jalen Pitre blitzed off the right edge with Hughes, but the Cardinals did a decent job sliding the protection toward Hughes and Pitre. But, what they didn't do was have an answer for Will Anderson Jr on the left side. Anderson Jr FLEW off the ball, beat TE Trey McBride inside easily and was in Murray's face as he hit the final step of his drop. The DBs matched the routes and CB Steven Nelson was on Hollywood Brown immediately. Anderson was ON Murray so quickly that he just had to chuck it up in the air to avoid a sack. Nelson timed his break and swatted the ball away on its descent for the game ending play. Wow!

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