Recap Houston at Arizona
Glendale, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald connected on a score on the first drive of the game, and the Arizona defense stuffed Houston as the Cardinals thumped the Texans, 32-0, to open the preseason.
Arizona is coming off a 10-6 season, the best record among the teams that failed to make the postseason.
The Cardinals defense suffered several blows in the offseason, as linebacker Daryl Washington is out on a yearlong drug suspension and fellow linebacker Karlos Dansby went to Cleveland via free agency. In addition, linebacker John Abraham was recently charged with a DUI.
However, the defense shined in the preseason opener as it held the Texans to just 172 yards of offense and nabbed two interceptions.
Houston finished an NFL-worst 2-14 last season and have a new coach in Bill O'Brien.
Top overall pick Jadeveon Clowney saw limited play and had one tackle in his first professional action. He had sports hernia surgery in June.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was signed as a free agent in the offseason and will be the starter when the regular season begins, had an inauspicious debut as he went just 6-for-14 for 55 yards and was picked off twice.
Palmer played one series under center for the Cardinals and he made it count as he went 5-for-5 on the drive and found Fitzgerald for a 7-yard score and a 7-0 lead.
Drew Stanton took over on Arizona's next drive and repeated Palmer's success, connecting with Jaron Brown on a 5-yard score for a 14-0 lead.
Chandler Catanzaro connected on a field goal of 32 yards in the first quarter, which followed an interception of a Fitzpatrick pass, and a 28-yard field goal in the second quarter to give the Cardinals a 20-0 lead.
Houston followed that second field goal with its best drive of the game, marching to the Arizona 22, but Fitzpatrick was picked off for a second time to kill the drive.
Catanzaro's 25-yard field goal 2 1/2 minutes into the fourth quarter, a 12- yard touchdown catch by Dan Buckner from Logan Thomas and a late safety accounted for the final score.
The Texans didn't make it past midfield for the entire second half.