DeAndre Hopkins caught a touchdown pass against his former team, Zach Ertz caught a touchdown pass for his new team and the Arizona Cardinals scored 31 unanswered points to roll past the Houston Texans 31-5 on Sunday.
The Cardinals remain the NFL’s only undefeated team and improved to 7-0 for the first time since 1974. The Texans (1-6) — who looked totally overmatched for three quarters — have lost six straight games.
Arizona fell into an early 5-0 hole after a slow offensive start, but recovered to win easily. The Cardinals were a 20.5-point favorite, according to FanDuel, which is a massive spread for an NFL game.
Kyler Murray completed 20 of 28 passes for 261 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. The interception was his first since Week 3, but it was one of the rare bad moments in another solid day. James Conner added an 18-yard touchdown run and Ertz had a 47-yard touchdown reception, which was the longest of his career.
It was the first time Hopkins and J.J. Watt had played against Houston, which is where both grew into stars before coming to the Cardinals. Watt signed with Arizona during the past offseason while Hopkins was acquired by the Cardinals in a trade in 2020.
Both had good moments on Sunday. Hopkins caught a 1-yard touchdown in the second quarter while Watt added a tackle for loss.
The Texans jumped out to a 5-0 lead after a terrible offensive start for the Cardinals.
Houston earned a safety and a 2-0 advantage late in the first quarter when Murray tried to scramble out of the end zone and was sacked by Jacob Martin. Murray was shaken up on the play and briefly went into the sideline medical tent for evaluation before returning for the next drive.
Houston’s Ka’imi Fairbairn added a 53-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter for a 5-0 lead.
The Cardinals restored order in a hurry, responding with two touchdowns and a field goal before the break for a 17-5 halftime advantage. The second touchdown was set up by a beautiful throw and catch from Murray to A.J. Green down the sideline that went for 41 yards on third-and-24. Murray found Christian Kirk for a 5-yard touchdown two plays later.
Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury was back on the sideline Sunday after eight days away from the team because of a positive COVID-19 test. The 42-year-old, who is fully vaccinated, was cleared early Sunday morning, several hours before the game.
The Texans once again didn’t score a touchdown, failing to find the end zone for the third time in four weeks. Rookie Davis Mills is now 0-5 as the team’s starting quarterback. He completed 23 of 32 passes for 135 yards.
Ertz was making his debut for the Arizona Cardinals, a little more than a week after he was acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles.
The three-time All-Pro had a spectacular first catch with his new team. Murray threw over the middle to Ertz, but the ball was behind the tight end, who reached behind his body and with his left hand and was able to corral the one-handed grab.
The crowd cheered after the catch and roared even louder when they realized it was Ertz.
The Texans host the Rams next Sunday.
The Cardinals have a quick turnaround, hosting the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night.