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Texans beat Cards 33-20


GLENDALE, Ariz. - If anyone doubted the firepower at the Texans' disposal this year, a five-minute stretch in the third quarter Saturday at University of Phoenix Stadium should dispel any concerns.

The Texans lit up the scoreboard, turning a tie game at halftime into a 30-13 lead that ultimately resulted in a 33-20 victory over the Arizona Cardinals for Houston's first win of the 2007 preseason.

Wide receiver Charlie Adams started the scoring spree with a 40-yard over-the-shoulder catch from Sage Rosenfels, who finished the game with 125 passing yards and a 119.1 passer rating.

A Jamar Fletcher interception set up Kris Brown's 38-yard field goal moments later, and rookie sensation Jacoby Jones returned the Cardinals' ensuing punt 80 yards on a spectacular cut-back run to the delight of the entire Texans' sideline.

In all, the Texans scored on six consecutive possessions, beginning with starting quarterback Matt Schaub's five-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Schaub was replaced after three series with a 102.1 passer rating. He completed nine of his 12 pass attempts for 108 yards with no interceptions.

"(Schaub) played like he practices," coach Gary Kubiak said after the game. "He's got great presence in what he's doing, runs the football team extremely well. I think what you're looking at is you're looking at a player, this is his first time out as a starter, and I would expect him to just get better and better and better. I'm very pleased with his effort tonight."

Schaub completed his first three passes for 20 yards to three different players on the game's opening possession. But on third-and-one at the Houston 39, running back Ahman Green was dragged down short of the first down marker.

{QUOTE}On the Cardinals' first play from scrimmage, wide receiver Anquan Boldin ran a reverse and threw a pass intended for wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Free safety C.C. Brown was flagged for pass interference, giving Arizona a 55-yard pickup to the Houston 24. Later in the drive, on fourth-and-one, rookie defensive tackle Amobi Okoye and linebackers Danny Clark and DeMeco Ryans stuffed running back Edgerrin James short of the first down.

Schaub continued his strong start, completing his first two passes, including a 20-yard dart to tight end Owen Daniels on third-and-11. A seven-yard catch by running back Ron Dayne marked Schaub's sixth consecutive completion, but his seventh pass attempt, intended for wide receiver Andre Johnson, was batted down in the end zone. Two plays later, though, following a 16-yard pass to Daniels, Schaub jogged into the end zone on a naked bootleg to cap off the 11-play, 85-yard scoring drive over 6:08. It was the first rushing touchdown of Schaub's career.

Arizona responded with a scoring drive courtesy of Fitzgerald's 41-yard catch over cornerback Demarcus Faggins and Brown to the Texans' six-yard line. Quarterback Matt Leinart found James open for a five-yard touchdown catch with 13:04 remaining in the first half to help tie the score 7-7.

Schaub lined up behind center for his third series. On the third play from scrimmage, he hit wide receiver Kevin Walter for a 39-yard pass to the Arizona 27. Cornerback Antrel Rolle was flagged for pass interference on Johnson the following play, giving Houston a first down at the six-yard line. A short run by Green and two incomplete passes later, Brown hit his fifth-consecutive field goal of the preseason to give the Texans a 10-7 lead.

Rosenfels stepped in the next series for Schaub, but it was Jones who took over. He caught a 23-yard pass on the second snap of the drive, gained 14 yards on an end around two plays later, and hauled in another pass for nine yards later in the drive to give Houston a first down on the Arizona 36.

"After what we saw (of Jones) last week, we just decided we wanted to seem him do some of those things," Kubiak said of getting Jones involved in the running game. "It helps keep people honest in the run game, so he's going to get on the field. I mean a kid makes plays like this, we've got to get him on the field."

Later the same series, Rosenfels and tight end Jeb Putzier connected for a 15-yard pickup to the Arizona 11. A third down pass to Jones in the back left corner of the end zone was incomplete, leading to another 25-yard field goal by Brown to stretch the Texans' lead to 13-7 with 56 seconds remaining in the first half.

Kurt Warner led the Cardinals' two-minute offense all the way down to the Houston 20 on four completions for 60 yards to set up Neil Rackers' 38-yard field goal to cut Arizona's deficit to 13-10 at halftime.

After Rackers converted a 22-yard field goal on the opening drive of the third quarter to tie the game 13-13, Rosenfels led the offense on a six-play, 75-yard scoring drive thanks to completions to Putzier and wide receiver Charlie Adams for 59 total yards. The touchdown bomb to Adams helped give the Texans a 20-13 advantage with 6:40 remaining in the third quarter.

Less than a minute later, Fletcher's 18-yard interception return to the Arizona 30 set up Brown's seventh consecutive field goal of the preseason, a 38-yarder, to extend Houston's lead to 23-13.

A punt on the Cardinals' next possession resulted in Jones' highlight reel punt return, and Brown's extra point gave the Texans a 17-point lead.

With 12:49 left in the game, the Cardinals made the score 30-20 when wide receiver Sean Morey capped off a nine-play drive with a 10-yard touchdown catch from Shane Boyd, who gained 35 yards on a scramble earlier in the series.

Rosenfels left the game before the next possession, and rookie Jared Zabransky stepped in, handing off to wide receiver Bethel Johnson on a reverse for a 17-yard gain early in the drive. Jerome Mathis hauled in a 19-yard pass to the Arizona 28 on Zabransky's first completion. Brown finished the possession with a 40-yard field goal to make the score 33-20 with 8:14 left in the game. It was Brown's eighth field goal in a row this preseason.

Cornerback Dexter Wynn collected the Texans' second interception of the game seconds before the two-minute warning when he read fourth-string quarterback Toby Korrodi's pass intended for wide receiver Michael Spurlock. A 12-yard return to the Arizona 30 put the offense in good field position, but Zabransky's pass to tight end Joel Dreessen fell incomplete on fourth-and-two from the 22-yard line.

Injury report: Guard Fred Weary left the game in the second quarter with a sprained left ankle. He did not return. Fullback Jon Abbate limped off the field at the two-minute mark with a right ankle injury.

Kubiak spoke about the team's injuries after the game in his press conference.

"N.D. Kalu's got a hip pointer, so that's probably a day-to-day thing as we go to our next week," Kubiak said. "Fred Weary basically sprained the same ankle that he sprained earlier in camp. We don't think it's anything serious and we would expect him to be back this week. Patrick Pass (has) a hamstring, he'll be day-to-day. Chris White sprained his ankle, we do not think it's serious. We expect him back. The most serious looks like Jon Abbate. They're X-raying his ankle right now. We're not sure, but it looks like the most serious of the injuries."

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