Rapid Reaction: Arizona Cardinals


GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A few thoughts on the Arizona Cardinals' 27-24 win against the Houston Texans.

What it means: There's still work to do, but the Cardinals seem to have found an offensive rhythm. Sunday's win against the Texans showed two things: a running game does wonders for an offense and the Cardinals can come back. Everyone knows how good the defense is, and while it produced a touchdown on Sunday, the offense finally came into its own. The Falcons' win could've been considered a fluke, but the Cardinals' win over the Texans showed this offense can win games, unlike in the first seven. A few tweaks, such as on third down and red zone -- the two areas that plagued Arizona all season -- could make this a fully-operational, and highly dangerous, team down the stretch.

Stock Watch: Rob Housler finally broke out of his slump with a 12-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter and finished with 57 yards receiving. His return signifies the addition of another playmaker on offense, rounding out a tight-end unit that benefited from the addition of Jake Ballard. Housler's role may increase if Michael Floyd's shoulder injury ends up being serious. Throughout the game, Housler seemed to become more comfortable, shedding the burden that followed him because he wasn't living up to expectations.

He's still got it: The Cardinals' defense played well before John Abraham became an every-down linebacker but they've flourished with him playing the majority of the snaps. His two sacks against the Texans showed it. The sack on the first play of the game, in which he stripped Houston quarterback Case Keenum led to Cards linebacker Matt Shaughnessy scooping and scoring. Sunday was Abraham's 30th multi-sack game of his career.

Up and running: At first, it didn't look like the Cardinals learned a lesson from their win over the Falcons, but as the game progressed coach Bruce Arians went to the running game more, even lining rookie running back Andre Ellington at quarterback for three straight plays. Having a running game has opened the passing attack for the Cardinals, proved by wins against Atlanta and Houston.

What's next: The Cardinals travel to Jacksonville to play the Jaguars at 11 a.m. MT on Sunday at EverBank Field.