Standout rookie C.J. Stroud threw for 336 yards with two touchdowns, and the Houston Texans overcame his season-high three interceptions to beat the Arizona Cardinals 21-16 on Sunday.
The Texans (6-4) have doubled their win total from last season and have won three games in a row for the first time since a nine-game streak in 2018.
The Cardinals (2-9) had a chance to win late. Kyler Murray threw a deep pass on fourth-and-8 that was intended for Marquise Brown, but Steven Nelson batted it down with 35 seconds left.
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Houston didn’t score after halftime and Stroud was picked off on consecutive drives in the fourth quarter. He had thrown just two interceptions in his first nine games.
Houston rookie Tank Dell had a season-high 149 yards on eight receptions and set a franchise rookie record with his sixth touchdown catch.
Murray threw for 214 yards with a touchdown and an interception in his second game back after recovering from a torn ACL. He also rushed for 51 yards and a score.
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The Cardinals failed to convert on fourth down with about 7 1/2 minutes to go to give the Texans the ball on their 45. But Stroud was intercepted again on the ensuing drive when Antonio Hamilton Sr. hopped in front of Dell on the 25.
Murray scored on a 1-yard run with about three minutes left in the third quarter to get the Cardinals within 21-16, but his run for the 2-point conversion was short.
The Cardinals were stopped on fourth-and-3 from the Houston 23 early in the fourth quarter. After a Houston punt, the Cardinals fumbled on the return and the Texans recovered at the Arizona 31.
Stroud was then intercepted in the end zone by Krys Barnes.
Stroud got a pass off under heavy pressure and found Dell in the end zone for a 40-yard touchdown that made it 21-10 just before halftime. Dell leaped into the crowd and was pulled into the stands where he stood among a group of cheering fans for a few seconds before returning to the field.
Soon, chants of “M-V-P! M-V-P!” rained down on Stroud, who has completely transformed this team just 10 games into his career.
The Cardinals took an early lead when Rondale Moore caught a 48-yard touchdown pass on their first drive.
Houston tied it when Stroud connected with Dalton Schultz on a 20-yard TD pass with about six minutes left in the first quarter.
Matt Prater’s 57-yard field goal put Arizona ahead again.
An 11-yard run by Devin Singletary gave Houston a 14-10 lead early in the second quarter. After the score, Stroud mimicked taking photos while the rest of the offense posed in the end zone.
Cardinals LB Kyzir White injured an elbow in the second quarter. … NT Leki Fotu left with a hand injury in the second quarter. … Hamilton injured his groin on the interception and was carted to the locker room.
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Cardinals: Host the Los Angeles Rams next Sunday.
Texans: Host Jacksonville next Sunday.