Houston dropped its seventh-straight game for the first time in franchise history, falling to the Arizona Cardinals 27-24.
After a disastrous start for the Texans' offense that resulted in a Cardinal touchdown on the first play of the game, Case Keenum threw for three touchdowns, including two to Andre Johson. Houston's defense forced a season-high three turnovers. J.J. Watt had one sack and two fumble recoveries. D.J. Swearinger had his first career NFL interception.
The Texans continued their pattern of struggling to move the ball offensively in the second half. After a dismal third quarter with no first downs and zero net yards on offense, big plays gave the Texans a jump-start in the fourth quarter. Watt's second fumble recovery gave the Texans possession in the red zone and led to a five-yard touchdown pass to Andre Johnson.
Mounting injuries also plagued Houston. With no Arian Foster, a banged-up Ben Tate was the starter and finished with 56 yards on 15 carries and three catches for eight yards. More injuries took place as Kareem Jackson left with a rib injury in the first half after recording four solo tackles. Linebacker Joe Mays suffered an oblique injury. Ryan Griffin took a hit on the opening kickoff of the second half and would be ruled out with a concussion.
On the first play of the game, Keenum was sacked and had the ball stripped by linebacker John Abraham. Matt Shaughnessy recovered the fumble and returned it six yards to give the Cardinals a 7-0 lead.
Two drives later, Andre Johnson caught the 60th touchdown of his career on a 7-yard pass from Keenum. The Texans offense moved the ball 49 yards on eight plays for its first score.
The Cardinals found the endzone again in the second quarter as Carson Palmer threw a 12-yard touchdown to tight end Rob Housler.
Houston fired back with ten unanswered points in the second quarter. The ensuing 80-yard drive ended in rookie Ryan Griffin's first career NFL touchdown. Keenum completed passes to four different receivers on the drive: Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins, Ben Tate, and Dennis Johnson.
Two plays later, D.J. Swearinger had his first career interception off Carson Palmer to give Houston possession at the Arizona 45-yard line. Randy Bullock's 48-yard field goal tied his career high and gave the Texans their first lead of the game, 17-14 with 6:36 remaining in the second quarter.
J.J. Watt's sack on Palmer forced a fumble with 0:43 remaining in the first half. The Texans, however, were unable to capitalize on their second turnover. Randy Bullock's second field goal, a 40-yard attempt, was deflected by Justin Bethel as time expired in the half.
Houston struggled in the second half on both sides of the ball. The offense had a net gain of zero yards in the third quarter. Ben Tate was sidelined but returned in the fourth quarter. The defense allowed the Cardinals to put up points on their next three drives. Arizona added two field goals in the third quarter with kicks from 35 and 20 yards. Palmer's 19-yard touchdown pass to Andre Roberts capped off a nine-play, 67-yard drive that consumed 4:48 off the clock. Houston trailed 27-17 in the fourth quarter for its largest deficit of the day.
On the Cardinals' next offensive series, Rashard Mendenhall's fumble gave Houston some much-needed momentum. Recovered by Watt for his second of the game, the Texans took over at the Arizona five-yard line. Twelve seconds later, Keenum's five-yard touchdown pass to Johnson closed in on Arizona to get Houston to within three points.
With no timeouts remaining, Houston regained possession in the final two minutes. On fourth-and-three, Keenum was unable to complete a pass to Hopkins. Arizona would take over on downs and run out the clock. The Texans dropped to 2-7 on the season.
Keenum finished 22-of-43 for 201 yards and three touchdowns for a passer rating of 87.5. Hopkins led the receivers with six catches for 69 yards. Johnson scored two touchdowns on five receptions for 37 yards.
• Andre Johnson passed Hines Ward (12,083) to move into 19th place on the NFL's all-time receiving yards list with his second reception of the game.
• Deji Karim made his Texans debut as kick returner on the opening kickoff of the game.
• Punter Shane Lechler became the sixth player in NFL history to reach 50,000 punting yards in his career on his second punt of the game.