HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – The Houston Texans picked off Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer twice including a John Simon returned pick for a touchdown in a 34-24 win over Arizona Sunday afternoon at NRG Stadium.
The Texans improved to 3-0 in the 2016 preseason.
Simon brought the Texans fans to their feet when he batted the Palmer pass out of the air and found his way under it and took it 59 yards for the score to put the Texans up by 10 at 17-7. The touchdown was Simon’s second of the preseason.
The Texans passing offense was sharp led by Brock Osweiler who had his best game of the pre-season going 11-for-13 with 149 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions .
The Texans defense, despite struggling at times with the Cardinal running attack, was solid with their pass rush. Both Palmer interceptions were off deflections, the first by Vince Wilfork on the third play from scrimmage which allowed Andre Hal to haul it in.
The Texans elected to go for it on a 4th and 3 from the Cardinals 19 yard line and Osweiler found Braxton Miller for an 18 yard reception that gave the Texans a first down on the one yard line. Lamar Miller punched it in on the next play and the Texans took a 7-0 lead with 11:38 remaining in opening quarter.
The Cardinals evened things up at 7-7 after an eight play 75 yard drive that led to a David Johnson score.
After a Novak 44-yard field goal and the Simon interception for a touchdown, the Texans went into the second quarter leading the Cardinals 17-7.
Palmer did not return after the Simon pick and finished the game 5-for-9 for 64 yards and the two interceptions.
Will Fuller, who dropped a pass earlier in the quarter that would have likely resulted in points, made up for that mistake as he scored on a 26 yard pass from Osweiler that pushed the Houston lead to 24-17.
The Texans led at the half 31-10 as To Savage led the Texans down the field in just 55 seconds after the two-minute warning that ended with a 17-yard touchdown reception by Jaelen Strong pushing the lead to 31-10.
The Cardinals chipped away at the Texans lead in the second half. Matt Barkley, the Cardinals third string signal caller, had a pair of touchdown passes in the second half. The most impressive was a 43 yard play to Chris Hubert to pull the Cardinals within a score at 31-24.
The Texans added a 42 yard field goal by Nick Novak on their final drive to earn the 10 point victory.
The Texans defense forced five Cardinal turnovers with 4 picks and one fumble recovery.
The Texans and Cardinals will both have to trim their roster down to 75 players by Tuesday at 3pm. The Texans will finish their preseason schedule on Thursday night in Arlington when the face the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. The Cardinals host the defending champion Denver Broncos on Thursday for their final preseason game of 2016.
Alex Del Barrio can be heard on Saturday afternoons with Matt Murphy from 3-7 pm and on Sunday afternoons with Jeremy Branham on Sportsradio 610. Follow Alex Del Barrio on Twitter: @alexdelbarrio