Brock Osweiler was sharp for Houston and Carson Palmer was not for Arizona as the Texans rode a huge first half and held on for a 34-24 victory over the mistake-prone Cardinals on Sunday at NRG Stadium in the third preseason game for both teams.
Houston (3-0) racked up 31 points in the first two quarters and 14 of those came as a direct result of interceptions thrown by Palmer.
Palmer was picked off by the Texans' Andre Hal at the Arizona 26-yard line on the Cardinals' first possession and Houston made the most of the opportunity by moving to a 1-yard touchdown run by Lamar Miller in five plays.
After a 3-yard run by Arizona's David Johnson tied the score and a 44-yard field goal by Nick Novak put the Texans back on top, the Houston defense victimized Palmer for a second interception. This time, the Cardinals' veteran quarterback attempted screen pass tipped up the air by Houston linebacker John Simon, who grabbed in out of the air and returned it 59 yards for a touchdown.
Palmer ended up 5-of-9 passing for 64 yards, no touchdowns and the two interceptions in 1 1/2 quarters. Conversely, Osweiler was on track, hitting on 11 of 13 passes for 146 yards and a 26-yard touchdown to Will Fuller.
Osweiler gave way to Tom Savage midway through the second quarter. Savage hit Jaelen Strong on a 17-yard scoring pass before halftime.
Arizona (0-3) got a 38-yard field goal by Chandler Catanzaro in the second quarter.
Third-string quarterback Matt Barkley made things interesting late in the game with two touchdown passes against the reserve Houston defense, producing a 5-yard strike pass to Jaxon Shipley in the third quarter and a 43-yard catch-and-run to Chris Hubert with 8:59 to play.