Final

Texans 21

(2-3, 1-1 away)

Cardinals 28

(2-2, 1-2 home)

Coverage: CBS

4:15 PM ET, October 11, 2009

U of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ 

1 2 3 4 T
HOU 0 0 7 1421
ARI 7 14 0 728

Top Performers

Passing: M. Schaub (HOU) - 371 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: S. Slaton (HOU) - 13 CAR, 39 YDS

Receiving: A. Johnson (HOU) - 8 REC, 101 YDS, 2 TD

Interception return gives cushion, stops at 1-yard line win game for Cardinals

Associated Press

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Cardinals' passing game was nearly perfect in the first half. Houston's was just as good in the second.

In the end, it was the Cardinals' defense -- torn apart by the Texans' Matt Schaub most of the final two quarters -- that made the game-saving plays Sunday as Arizona eked out a 28-21 victory.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, playing with a fractured right index finger, returned an interception 49 yards for a touchdown, high-stepping the final 20, to put Arizona back in the lead with 2:20 to go after Schaub had rallied Houston from a 21-0 halftime deficit.

Sando: Best of West?

The Cardinals added to the perception that the NFC West is hard to get a handle on, writes Mike Sando. Blog

• NFC West blog

The Cardinals held three times at their 1-yard line in the final minute to preserve the victory.

"The defense bailed us out," said Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald, who caught two touchdown passes late in the first half. "We're just glad those guys came to our rescue."

Schaub had completed 11 straight when Rodgers-Cromartie stepped in front of intended receiver Kevin Walter.

The young Cardinals cornerback intercepted, raced down the sideline, then high-stepped the final 20 yards for the score.

"It's a play that I'll run back in my head for the next week," Schaub said, "until I get a chance to go back and make it better."

A 60-yard kickoff return by Andre' Davis helped set up the final Houston threat. Schaub quickly moved the team to the 1, but Chris Brown was stopped on second down, there was an incomplete pass on third and Brown was stopped again on fourth down with 40 seconds left.

Receiver Showdown

The top two receivers on the Texans -- Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels -- kept pace with the dynamic duo on the Cardinals -- Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald.

Receiver Matchup
Texans Cardinals
Targets 24 16
Rec 16 12
Yards 195 160
TD 2 2

-- ESPN Stats and Information

"When we got to the 1 we should have scored on the second play. We should have scored on the pass and on the last run," Houston coach Gary Kubiak. "We have to be good enough to make a yard in the National Football League when it counts and we didn't."

Kurt Warner topped 300 yards passing for the 50th time in his career but he and the Arizona offense struggled after a near-perfect first half.

Warner completed 26 of 38 passes for 302 yards, but almost all of them came in the first half. In the first two quarters, the 38-year-old quarterback was 20 of 23 for 262 yards, including a pair of touchdown passes to Fitzgerald in the final 1:44 to give Arizona a 21-0 lead at the break.

He went 9 of 9 on those final two scoring drives.

Arizona had 18 first downs in the first half and one in the second. Houston had five first downs in the first half and 18 in the second.

"Guys stepped up and made plays at the end. You leave with a good feeling in your mouth," Warner said. "But it shouldn't have been that close. We had too many opportunities that we left out there that kind of leaves me a little frustrated that that game ended the way it did, even though you're happy to walk out of here and have it go in your favor."

The Texans felt the same way, only in reverse order.

"We didn't do nothing in the first half of the game," Houston's Andre Johnson said. "We battled back but maybe if we scored some points in the first half we would have won the game."

Schaub set franchise records for completions and attempts, going 35 for 50 for 371 yards. In the second half, he was 25 of 32 for 279 yards. He threw two touchdowns to Johnson. The second, with the big receiver bowling over three defenders on a 17-yard scoring play, tied it at 21 with 6:59 still to play.

"He's a scary player," Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said.

Fast Facts

• Larry Fitzgerald had 79 yards receiving and two TDs, the ninth time in his career he had multiple TD receptions in a game.

• Kurt Warner threw for 302 yards, his second straight game with at least 300 yards passing.

• Andre Johnson had 102 receiving yards and two TDs, his sixth career game with 100 yards and multiple touchdowns.

• Matt Schaub (35-for-50, two TDs and one INT) had a season-high 371 passing yards, his fourth career game with at least 350 passing yards.

-- ESPN Stats & Information

The Cardinals (2-2) couldn't move after that, but they pinned Houston (2-3) on its 11-yard line. The Texans methodically advanced to their 47, and on third-and-7, Schaub threw to the sideline toward Walter. Rodgers-Cromartie got there first and there was no one who could stop him, even though he high-stepped nearly the final half of the way.

"Once I got it in my hands, the first thing I was thinking about was which celebration I should do," Rodgers-Cromartie said.

Houston seemed destined to tie it again when Schaub's 5-yard shovel pass to Steve Slaton made it second-and-goal at the 1. Brown was stopped just inside the 1, then on a play action pass, Schaub threw too high to Joel Dressen, who was open in the back of the end zone.

That made it fourth down, and with the noisy home crowd at its loudest, Brown again failed to make it to the goal line.

"We just looked at each other and said 'Man, this is it,'" defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said. "We can either make this game hard and go to overtime or we can just put this thing away right now."

Schaub thought Brown got in on the final try.

"But they called it the other way and obviously on a replay like that, the call on the field is confirmed," Schaub said.

Game notes


Houston was 6-2 against the NFC the past two seasons. ... Warner passed 13,000 yards passing with the Cardinals, making him the second quarterback to do so with two different teams. The other was Fran Tarkenton. ... Arizona's 6-foot-8 Calais Campbell blocked a field goal try for the second time this season. ... The same officiating crew worked the game as did Arizona's game against San Francisco last season, which ended exactly the same way in the same end zone.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
HOU
ARI
1st Downs2319
Passing 1st downs
1715
Rushing 1st downs
53
1st downs from Penalties
11
3rd down efficiency
4-132-9
4th down efficiency
0-20-0
Total Plays7155
Total Yards416340
Yards per play5.96.2
Total Drives1312
Passing371296
Comp - Att
35-5026-38
Yards per pass
7.47.8
Interceptions thrown
10
Sacks - Yards Lost
0-01-6
Rushing4544
Rushing Attempts
2116
Yards per rush
2.12.8
Red Zone (Made-Att)3-52-3
Penalties6-537-40
Turnovers11
Fumbles lost
01
Interceptions thrown
10
Defensive / Special Teams TDs01
Possession33:2526:35

Passing Leaders

HOUC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Schaub35/503717.4210-0
ARIC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Warner26/383027.9201-6

Rushing Leaders

HOUCARYDSAVGTDLG
Slaton13393.0016
Schaub351.703
ARICARYDSAVGTDLG
Wells7243.409
Hightower6172.8111

Receiving Leaders

HOURECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Johnson810112.622114
Daniels89411.802710
ARIRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Boldin78111.602012
Fitzgerald57915.82266

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERHOUARI
ariTD09:29Tim Hightower 1 Yd Run (Neil Rackers Kick) 07
SECOND QUARTERHOUARI
ariTD01:44Larry Fitzgerald 9 Yd Pass From Kurt Warner (Neil Rackers Kick) 014
ariTD00:21Larry Fitzgerald 26 Yd Pass From Kurt Warner (Neil Rackers Kick) 021
THIRD QUARTERHOUARI
houTD03:39Chris Brown 1 Yd Run (Kris Brown Kick) 721
FOURTH QUARTERHOUARI
houTD12:18Andre Johnson 11 Yd Pass From Matt Schaub (Kris Brown Kick) 1421
houTD06:59Andre Johnson 17 Yd Pass From Matt Schaub (Kris Brown Kick) 2121
ariTD02:20Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie 49 Yd Interception Return (Neil Rackers Kick) 2128