Andre Cat: Last year it was the Pat Cat. This year it'll be the Andre Cat. The Cardinals unveiled a Wildcat package Sunday with rookie running back Andre Ellington behind center. He took three straight snaps early in the third quarter, running for 12 yards on two of them and handing off to Patrick Peterson on the third.
“It was a little bit different flavor,” Ellington said.
Ellington ran it in college, but was surprised when coach Bruce Arians introduced the package Monday. Arians will only run the Wildcat if his quarterback isn't on the field, he said. But don't expect Ellington to throw the ball. It's not his forte, the rookie added.
Expect more of it, maybe a little spicier, throughout the season, Ellington said.
“It was a good little change of pace,” Arians said.
Adjusting on the fly: At halftime, the Cardinals heard about how much they were letting the Texans move the ball. And they did something about it. Arizona allowed 41 total yards in the second half -- 32 passing and just 9 rushing. They turned the Texans into a one-dimensional team, taking away the run and turning up the pressure on quarterback Case Keenum.
“I thought he had a lot of time in the first half, patting the ball back there and [we] couldn't cover him quick enough,” linebacker Daryl Washington said. “So we was able to come out [in the] second half and play our game of football.”
Bethel blocks: Even when they prepared specifically for Justin Bethel, the Texans couldn't stop the second-year gunner from having an impact on special teams. Bethel blocked his second career field goal with four seconds left in the first half, coming off the left side. It turned out to be the difference in the Cardinals' 27-24 win.
“You never know,” he said. “You never know what could happen. I made the play, it happened and I'm just happy we won.”
Texans interim coach Wade Phillips said his team singled Bethel out, but even then Houston couldn't block him.
“[No.] 31 is the guy that we emphasized,” Phillips said. “It's the guy that we've got to stop because he's the field goal blocker, and he did it.”
Just enough: Ellington had 15 touches Sunday -- 11 rushes and two catches -- which was mostly in line with his past few games. He had 55 yards on the ground and 18 yards through the air, but Arians feels that's the right mix for now.
“I think it's right where it needs to be,” Arians said. “He had plenty again today.”
Rashard Mendenhall fumbled late in the fourth quarter as the Cardinals were trying to seal the win, but that didn't diminish Arian's belief in his starter. It's still the same.
“Oh yeah,” Arians said. “There's no doubt.”