Sure, it was the preseason opener, not the regular season opener, but the Arizona Cardinals were incredibly impressive in their 32-0 shellacking of the Houston Texans Saturday night at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.
It was about a near perfect outing for the Red Birds. In the long run, it won't count at all but there were some very positive signs.
Here are some game observations:
**What a difference a year makes. Now in the second season of head coach Bruce Arians' offensive system, the Cards were clicking on all cylinders. Starter Carson Palmer was 5-for-5 for 84 yards and a touchdown pass and fellow signal-caller Drew Stanton passed for a game-high 152 yards and another score. Even rookie QB Logan Thomas joined in with a 11-for-12, 113-yard, one TD pass performance.
**The Cardinals outgained the Texans by a whopping 407-172 margin. Rookie wide receiver John Brown, Arizona's third round draft pick this year, had a strong outing with five receptions for 87 yards, all in the first half. With the loss of Andre Roberts to the Redskins, Brown can be an important addition to Arizona's receiving corps.
**Arizona's defense was spectacular – the Red Birds did not allow the Texans to convert a third down in eight opportunities. Linebacker Kevin Minter looked pretty good. He'll be counted on heavily this season now that the Cards are without Karlos Dansby and Daryl Washington.
**Rookie kicker Chris Catanzaro converted field goal attempts from 32, 28 and 25 yards and displayed good distance on kickoffs. Veteran Jay Feely did not play but will get his chance in Arizona's next game at Minnesota. The 38-year-old Feely has a real battle on his hands if he wants to keep his job.
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