Beanie Wells (Getty)
Coach Ken Whisenhunt took the blame for the Cardinals having only four rushing attempts in the second half Sunday against the Texans, even though they led 21-0 at halftime. The Cardinals had enjoyed considerable success throwing in the first half, so Whisenhunt didn't want to become conservative.
On several plays, he gave quarterback Kurt Warner run/pass options whenever the Texans brought a safety near the line of scrimmage.
Warner loves to throw, so he checked into passes on several occasions. The problem came when those passes didn't work.
The Texans mounted a comeback to tie, and the Cardinals needed two great defensive plays late in the game to win 28-21.
Looking back, Whisenhunt regrets not calling more run plays.
"We operated so well in the first half," he said. "The one thing I didn't want to do was lose our aggressiveness. I think when we came out for that first half, we were loose, we were aggressive, we were making plays downfield. And I tried to make a conscious effort of keeping that same mentality in the second half."
Whisenhunt didn't blame Warner for changing the plays from runs to passes.
"I put that on me," he said. "It's not Kurt. Kurt's operating the offense the way he's taught to. If we give him the option to do it, it's pretty clear cut because he's going to get yelled at if he runs the ball into an eight-man front."
--The Cardinals secured the victory against the Texans with a goal-line stand in the final seconds. The Cardinals beat the 49ers last year under similar circumstances, with the same officiating crew, headed by referee Tony Corrente working the game.
"One of the officials came up to me and said, 'We had your game last year against San Francisco,'" coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "So I wish he would have told me that before they ran the fourth-down play, then I would have known they were going to stop them."
--Whisenhunt would like to get more snaps for running back Beanie Wells, who has carried just nine times in the past two games. "He really looked good in a couple of situations," Whisenhunt said. "I think we will integrate Beanie in some of our three-wide-receiver sets."
Wells missed a lot of training camp with an ankle injury, so he hasn't had much work in that formation.
"To think that you can take Beanie and put him in a regular NFL game in those situations puts everybody at risk because of the protection decisions that position has to make," Whisenhunt said. "Obviously, Beanie is getting more comfortable with that."
--Defensive end Calais Campbell saved a touchdown against the Texans when he tackled Jacoby Jones after a 62-yard gain. Campbell wasn't bragging about his speed, however.
"It's angles, all angles," Campbell said. "I may look fast, but it's angles."
--Defensive tackle Alan Branch believes goal-line stands separate the men from, well, lesser men. "I like things that touch your manhood, and I think we did a great job of proving ourselves," he said. "We definitely showed a lot of manhood on that stand."
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--WR Anquan Boldin moved into second place on the franchise's all-time reception list. He has 525 catches, 10 fewer than former fullback Larry Centers. Boldin passed Roy Green last week.
--QB Kurt Warner passed for 302 yards against the Texans, becoming one of only five players in NFL history to throw for more than 300 yards at least 50 times. Warner did it the fastest, in 113 games.
--CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has eight interceptions in 16 career starts, including playoffs. His interception return for a touchdown against the Texans was the second of his career.
--RB Tim Hightower isn't getting many carries, but he's a big part of the passing game. He has 25 catches in four games. That's the second most among NFL running backs, but the Colts' Joseph Addai, who has 28 receptions, has played in five games.
--DE Calais Campbell made two big special teams plays, blocking his second field goal of the season and tackling Jacoby Jones after a 62-yard return. That saved a touchdown.