GLENDALE, Ariz. — For the first time in franchise history, the Houston Texans have lost seven in a row.
The latest loss followed a depressingly familiar theme.
The Texans (2-7) played well at times, and even led at halftime. They got some superb play from stars J.J. Watt and Andre Johnson, but succumbed to Arizona’s defensive pressure in the second half in a 27-24 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday.
‘‘We put ourselves in this position,’’ Johnson said. ‘‘There is no reason to sit around and whine about it. There is nothing we can do about it now. We just have to look forward to the games that are ahead and try to win as many as we can.’’
Watching from home where he is recuperating from a mini-stroke, coach Gary Kubiak must have found it all too familiar. Wade Phillips, filling in as interim coach, certainly did.
‘‘All in all it seems like the same theme,’’ Phillips said. ‘‘Team is playing tremendously hard but not enough plays. One play here, one play there, and they really dominated us in the second half on their defensive side of the ball.’’
The Texans also got bad news in regards to running back Arian Foster. He didn’t dress for the game and has decided to undergo season-ending back surgery.
Arizona (5-4) got off to a quick start when linebacker John Abraham knocked the ball out of quarterback Case Keenum’s hand and Matt Shaughnessy returned it 6 yards for a touchdown only 14 seconds into the game.
It was the second week in a row that the Texans led at halftime. They were up against Indianapolis last Sunday night when Kubiak collapsed and was rushed to a hospital.
But after building a 17-14 lead against Arizona, Houston managed just 41 yards in the final two quarters.
Keenum threw three touchdown passes, two on remarkable catches by Johnson.
Watt forced two fumbles, recovering both of them. The second one set up Johnson’s 5-yard TD catch that cut the lead to 3 with 4:34 to play.
‘‘We made good adjustments,’’ Arizona coach Bruce Arians said of the second half. ‘‘The running game was kind of gone. We felt if we could get them in a one-dimension game we could get after the quarterback, and we were able to do that.’’
Arizona reeled off 13 consecutive points and Carson Palmer’s 19-yard touchdown pass to Andre Roberts put Arizona up, 27-17, with 6:42 to play.
The Cardinals, coming off a bye, had trouble holding on. Rashard Mendenhall was stripped of the ball by Watt in a crowd on a run up the middle and the standout Houston lineman recovered at the Arizona 5.
On third down, Johnson gathered in Keenum’s pass and was able to get both feet inbounds for the touchdown.
‘‘Those were two of the best catches I have ever seen in my life,’’ Keenum said. ‘‘You can’t even describe it. You have to watch it to see how awesome those catches are. ‘‘
Houston got the ball back with just over two minutes to play but, facing third and 3, Keenum threw two incompletions. Jerraud Powers knocked the ball away from receiver DeAndre Hopkins on fourth down to seal the win.