The 'cardiac kids' were at it again. Coming down to the wire, Houston would need great crunch time execution to win. This time it was the defense stepping up in the moment of truth.
Steven Nelson's bat-down on fourth down stopped the Cardinals' final drive as the Texans notched their 3rd consecutive victory for their longest winning streak since 2018.
At the half, it felt like this could be a lopsided win. C.J. Stroud threw two TDs, including a 40-yard bomb to Tank Dell, on his way to yet another 300+ yard game. Devin Singletary went over 100 yards for the second consecutive week, including an 11-yard touchdown run.
But after intermission, momentum shifted. A missed field goal on the opening drive of the third quarter sparked an Arizona touchdown drive that cut an 11 point Houston lead down to six. Both teams went scoreless the rest of the way but that doesn't mean the drama ended.
Houston went three-and-out following the Cards' TD. Then Arizona drove to the Texans 23-yard-line and turned the ball over on downs. Another three-and-out produced a punt that touched a Cardinal before the Texans jumped on it. But Stroud threw his second pick of the game. The ensuing Arizona possession produced another 4th down stop by the Houston D. Yet the next possession ended with Stroud's third pick.
That's when things got very dicey. The Cardinals drove to the Texans' 27 and turned it over on downs again. Stroud took a knee to end the afternoon as everyone exhaled.
Stroud entered the game with just two picks on the season and now has five. But no one is complaining. He'll learn from those smudges and move forward. And it's always better to learn while winning.
Two huge plusses are the Texans coming up another big game on the ground and a terrific, clutch defensive day. Derek Stingley Jr. came up with his second career pick, in the first half. Blake Cashman tied a team record with 19 tackles Will Anderson Jr. had a sack and two TFLs.
No matter how it happened, the team needed this one to set up what will be a much and properly hyped showdown with the Jags. If you had told me back in May that the Texans would play in the final week of November for the division lead, I might have spit up my club soda and cranberry juice. But here we are, and it's AWESOME.