Tom Savage had his best game of the season Sunday as he led the Houston Texans to victory over the Arizona Cardinals. This was the Texans first win this season without rookie sensation Deshaun Watson. The 31-21 victory improves Houston to a record of 4-6 on the year.
Savage completed 22 of 32 passes for 230 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Savage was sacked once on the day. Houston’s rushing attack got back on track this week to aid Savage in the contest. As a group the Texans rushed 34 times for 134 times and two touchdowns. Lamar Miller rushed 22 times for 61 yards and D’Onta Foreman rushed 10 times for 65 yards and two touchdowns.
DeAndre Hopkins was the leading receiver for the Texans Sunday, hauling in four passes for 76 yards and one touchdown. Hopkins had his way all game long against the Cardinals secondary. Bruce Ellington also had a big day as he caught six passes for 63 yards. The contributions from Ellington were needed as Will Fuller was inactive for the contest. Miller also provided a target out of the backfield for Savage as he had four receptions for 22 yards and one touchdown.
The key to the Texans offense on Sunday was Savage avoiding sacks. While he was sacked only once, the Cardinals registered eight hits against the Houston signal caller but were unable to bring him down consistently. Avoiding sacks was key as Savage has been frequently sacked this season. However the issue with Savage fumbling the ball still remains. Savage fumbled yet again and it was recovered by the Arizona defense. Savage’s seven fumbles on the season are tied for fourth in the NFL. This is an issue and will continue to be with Savage in at quarterback.
Defensively Houston shut down Cardinals running back Adrian Peterson. Peterson rushed 14 times for only 26 yards, Peterson’s longest run on the day was seven yards. There was the possibility that Peterson could have had a big game against Houston. Houston’s run defense has not been stellar and Peterson had a week and a half to prepare for this game.
Houston’s pass defense however was a completely different story. Blaine Gabbert completed 22 of 34 passes for 257 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions in his first game this season. This was a predictable outcome against a porous Houston secondary. While testing Gabbert in his first game this season was the right move, it backfired. Gabbert performed well enough to give Arizona the lead heading into the 4th quarter but Houston was able to take back the lead in the 4th quarter and never looked back.
Gabbert’s performance led to Larry Fitzgerald having a great day against the Houston secondary. Fitzgerald was able to catch nine passes for 91 yards and one touchdown. Ricky Seals-Jones had a surprise performance as he caught three passes for 54 yards and two touchdowns.
Houston managed to salvage a much needed win against an injury plagued opponent. This was one of the few remaining chances for Houston to win this season. Next week will be a much tougher test as a road trip to Baltimore to face the Ravens is up next. Facing the Ravens at home is a tough task. Facing them without a quality quarterback and expecting a win is impossible. However stranger things have happened.
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