Texans aftermath

Posted by Darren Urban on October 11, 2009 – 10:08 pm

Tim Hightower had one of those smiles, one of those Sure-I’m-happy-but-I-know-better-than-to-be-too-happy looks.

“We won,” the Cardinals’ running back said. “At the end of the day, you want to play better and we’ve got to play better, but in this league when you get wins, we appreciate it, thank God for it, learn from it, and move on.”

That’s probably the best way to view Sunday’s 28-21 win over the Texans. Fans didn’t get cheated in terms of having their heart tested; they got 21 points (and what should’ve been 28) in the first half, and then, just when those hearts may have been ripped out, they got DRC’s Pick-6 and a goal-line stand. Whew. But here we are, Sunday night, and the Cards are right where they hoped they’d be when the day dawned. They are 2-2, the 49ers were run out of Candlestick Park (is that what they are still calling it?) by the Falcons, and the Cards are back to controlling their own destiny starting with a trip to Seattle next weekend.

“It’s gonna be a helluva week this week at practice because this is personal between us and Seattle,” defensive end Darnell Dockett said. “We know for a fact we’ll get their best shot and I’ll probably send Matt Hasselbeck a Twitter message later this week, so stay tuned.”

But first, cleaning up some thoughts from the Houston game:

— The good, obviously, was what the defense did at the end of the game, both with the DRC interception and prevention of the final touchdown. It would have felt a lot better had the unit not surrendered TDs on three straight possessions, but coach Ken Whisenhunt talked afterward about how his team responded to the change in momentum and Rodgers-Cromartie was even more specific.

“Being up 21 points at the half, coming back and giving up three touchdowns you kind of think,TexansAfterMath2 ‘Oh snap.’ You want to hit the panic button,” DRC said. “Our captains, Darnell and Adrian (Wilson) came up and were like, ‘Don’t panic just yet. It’s still 0-0.’ That stuck with me.”

Did it lead to the interception? Who knows? DRC clearly felt like he got a little something back after all the slings and arrows he had endured following his less-than-memorable Colts’ game.

— That last goal-line stand wasn’t the only stand the defense made. Remember the key one early in the third quarter, in which the Texans had a second-and-1 on the Arizona 22 and the defense held up as follows: Stuff Steve Slaton for no gain, stuff Steve Slaton for no game, force a bad deep pass to Andre Johnson that DRC had perfect coverage upon. Zero points (think the Texans would have liked a field goal there by the time the game was over?).

— That third-down play on the final stand, the pass to tight end Joel Dreessen, was the key play. That was the play call on which the Texans needed to score. “That kind of scared me,” Dockett said. “He was wide open.” But linebacker Karlos Dansby forced Matt Schaub throw it justabit too high.

— Hope you didn’t blink because you might’ve missed it, but the Cards ran a version of the Wildcat for a play Sunday. Not with Anquan Boldin taking the snap but instead Beanie Wells. Not sure there’s much threat of a pass there. Beanie gained two yards.

— Boldin was a big part of the game plan and had seven catches, but he fell into the trap of turning the ball over inside the 10-yard line. Turnovers kill, but ones that close to paydirt usually are devastating. That’s what made Calais Campbell’s blocked field goal so huge, because it stopped the Texans from using the turnover for their own score.

— Not sure the extent of the ankle injury to tight end Stephen Spach, but the Cardinals get previously suspended tight end Ben Patrick back tomorrow. A roster move will have to be made to bring back Patrick.

— There will be more talk about running more often. Whisenhunt said he wanted balance if possible and the 21-0 lead would seem to have played into that possibility. But if Kurt Warner is going to have to option to have a run/pass check at the line of scrimmage, he’s going pass if he determines that’s what the defense dictates. Can it be argued the Cards need to force the run game sometimes in certain situations, especially with the lead? Maybe. But again, I think the thought process is, this is our offense, these are our stars – Q, Warner, Fitz – and they will sway the thinking.

OK. That’s plenty for now. Like Hightower said, a win is a win in the NFL. The Cards will take it and move on — even if it comes down to (almost) the final play.

UPDATE: OK, couldn’t go to bed without watching the final stuff one more time. While the players all said it was a team effort — and it was — nose tackle Gabe Watson got off the snap incredibly quick (with Dockett right after) and the Texans’ o-linemen weren’t as quick. That penetration, along with a perfect get-lower-than-the-opponent move by DT Bryan Robinson, created the push the Cards needed. Alan Branch and Calais Campbell pinched from the sides, and Chris Brown never had a chance.


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7 Responses to “Texans aftermath”

  1. By shannon robinson on Oct 12, 2009 | Reply

    What a great goal line stand – an epic play! And a tip of the Cardinals hat to DRC!
    If Beanie Wells is the next Adrian Peterson we might not know until next preseason. If all you have to do to stop Arizona’s rushing attack is pretend to put eight guys in the box then that’s a pretty good run defense. Kurt checks out of the run to pass every time and as we all know occasionally in even winning games he goes on a streak of three and outs. So opponnents always get to decide if we run the ball?

  2. By Rugbymuffin on Oct 12, 2009 | Reply

    Tell DRC to keep that grill out… is obviously bad luck.

  3. By Tim on Oct 12, 2009 | Reply

    A tale of 2 halfs. On offense the first half was the Cards being the Cards and not trying to be something they are not. We are not a team that can control the ball by running. Haley realized that when he was here. Not having an offensive coordinator may be our downfall this season. Why???

    On defense we provided a lot of pressure, shut down the run and prevented the deep pass in the first half. Houston made an adjustment and threw at will underneath our coverage in the 2nd half. We didn’t make an adjustment and they could have easily won this game. A lot of Houston fans will be 2nd guessing going for it on 4th down early in the 2nd half instead of kicking the field goal which clearly would have changed the game. Poor coaching on our part not to see how they were playing in the 2nd half. Unbelieveable that our defense had the gas after being out there almost the entire 2nd half to stop Houston inside the one.

    Special teams didn’t look very special and easily could have been blamed for Houston scoring again late.

    Happy DRC made the big play with a cast mitton on his right hand. Now he just needs to work harder at being consistent. Perhaps another coaching issue.

    When do you think Grimm will be held accountable for the play of the offensive line. Hightower did a great job picking up Antonio Smith as he blew by our tackles.

  4. By Dave on Oct 12, 2009 | Reply

    The Cards first drive on offense was the kind of meat and potatoes they should have employed at some time during the 2nd half. That was the sole drive that employed a good mix of run along with their passing game and it would have been a good idea at some point to remind Houston that there was at least the threat of a run.
    Is coach breaking Warner in to be the OC with a little OJT? Typically the OC that is calling plays is over on the sideline with the head coach, but I guess Whis is experimenting with new and different ways to manage a game besides the publicized “mixing” of OC duties that are supposedly split between Grimm and Miller. Whis might be better off if he tells Warner,”
    I get to call ONE play out of every 4! PLEASE!!??!!

  5. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Oct 12, 2009 | Reply

    GREAT GOAL LINE STAND CARDINALS!!! That series may end up being the most important of the season if things continue to go well. Let’s hope it builds confidence and momentum on the way to a more consistently productive rest of the season. Onto Seattle!

  6. By Ditship on Oct 12, 2009 | Reply

    I love the way Kurt slings the ball but the dude really needs to let us run the ball a little more. I honestly think that this game would have been ours if we had just ran the ball in the second half.

    Also.. I think there is a pretty easy game plan to beating our Defense. Play us the way we like to play. Don’t bother running the ball and just pass it Mid to Deep almost every play. Our D will kill any running play and during pass plays we seem to just stand and watch (This includes our D line.. Where is the pressure?(kudos to DRC for finally doing something different)). I think Hasselback might just end up having a field day with our D this coming weekend. I just hope Levi Brown can keep Kerney off Warner so we can get a shoot out going.. Otherwise we’re in for a LONG day. One thing to note though.. DRC had Hasselback’s number last year.. I think he was half his picks.

  7. By Robert on Oct 12, 2009 | Reply

    Great win!
    I wanted to talk about the run game. Does it seem obvious when we are about to run. The formations that we line up with just scream WE ARE GOING TO RUN THE FOOTBALL. Maybe it’s just me. I think the D played well. Just started getting tired once the cards offense slowed down, and they were on the field more. Thanx Darren.

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