You wouldn't know it by looking at the scores of the last three road games but the Texans had reasonable chances to make second-half runs and be there in crunch time with opportunities to win. They haven't been able to finish scoring drives and put the needed pressure on their opponents.
The running game has been challenged to hit the 100-yard mark, 50 in the case of the most recent outing, a 31-5 loss to undefeated Arizona. And there just haven't been the necessary big plays through the air to keep defenses off balance and find a way into the end zone.
The last time the Texans scored a touchdown on the road was when Davis Mills hit Brandin Cooks for a TD in Cleveland in Week 2. The last three road affairs have seen Houston score a combined total of eight points.
Don't bother going to the record book to see how tough this has been. Take my word for it, it's historically difficult. Maybe it shouldn't be a surprise that a rookie quarterback-led offense with a newly assembled crew is having trouble finding the end zone but it doesn't make it any easier for the team to take. Now the crew comes back home, looking to get back to moving the ball the way it did two weeks ago in the last NRG Stadium appearance.
The Cardinals were thrown off by the Houston defense early. The Texans came up with key stops and even scored a safety when Jacob Martin tackled Kyler Murray before he could get out of the end zone in the first quarter. Ka'imi Fairbairn later drilled a 53-yard field goal to put Houston ahead by the unusual score of 5-0. But Arizona responded with a hurry-up drive that ended with DeAndre Hopkins catching a one-yard TD to give the Cardinals a lead they would never surrender.
The game really changed on the next possession. Houston got moving, getting the ball into Cardinal territory with an 18-yard pass from Davis Mills to Brandin Cooks. On the next play, Mills was strip-sacked by Markus Golden, setting up a short field for Arizona. The Cards converted on a third-and-23 as Kyler Murray got the ball to former Bengal and familiar foe A.J. Green for 41 yards to set up a first-and-goal. After the ensuing TD, the Texans failed to respond, going three-and-out, which led to a Cardinals field goal drive to close out the half.
The second half was no picnic but there were moments. Lonnie Johnson Jr. had his third interception of the year. Jonathan Greenard had his second sack, giving him two in a game for the second straight week. The offense still struggled, at one point starting back-to-back possessions in Arizona territory and coming away with nothing while the game was still within reach.
The bottom line is that the season is stuck at 1-6 with an excellent Rams team coming into town. Houston is better at home and needs to be ultra-opportunistic to have a chance to win. It'll be good to smell some home cooking. Let's hope it's a happier meal.
The next time you can see the Texans at NRG Stadium will be on October 31 as they host the Los Angeles Rams in Week 8. Kickoff is set for noon CT. Click here for tickets.
Check out the top photos as the Houston Texans take on the Arizona Cardinals in Week 7 of the 2021 NFL Season.