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Of Snap Counts And Grades: Texans Game

Defense shines and Kyler Murray has top PFF game of year

The Cardinals couldn't have been more dominant defensively against the hapless Texans on Sunday, and so it's probably not a surprise to see the Pro Football Focus grades coming out of the game reflected that. A whopping 13 Cards on defense fell into the "green" good category. Four players ended up with a grade of 80 or more -- linebacker Markus Golden (88.5), who is been on a tear of late; defensive lineman Michael Dogbe (81.4) with his best game to date; linebacker Devon Kennard (81.2) and defensive lineman J.J. Watt (80.9).

Six more players all graded between 75 and 77: safety Jalen Thompson, linebackers Isaiah Simmons, Jordan Hicks, Zaven Collins and Dennis Gardeck, and cornerback Robert Alford. Cornerback Marco Wilson, defensive lineman Josh Mauro and defensive lineman Jordan Phillips also fell inside the green.

That was good. But perhaps even better for the Cardinals on the short week is the fact they were able on that side of the ball to manage reps. Only Wilson played more than 80 percent of the 56 snaps Sunday on defense. Safety Budda Baker (42) and Hicks (36) played a lot less than normal, and Watt only played 30 snaps -- fewer, in the end, than Collins (32). Phillips also continued to get a little more work, with 23 snaps.

Offensively, the grades weren't as gaudy, but quarterback Kyler Murray had by far his best game of the year overall (89.0) and passing (89.5) as he continues to make his case for potential MVP. Given the fact Kliff Kingsbury said he wished there would've been better pass protection, it was interesting to see tackles Kelvin Beachum (84.6) and D.J. Humphries (77.9) with the next two best grades.

New tight end Zach Ertz stood out (70.2), and other "good" grades included running back James Conner (77.4), wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (73.8), wide receiver A.J. Green (69.4) and wide receiver Christian Kirk (67.2).

Chase Edmonds, looking healthier than he had in a couple of weeks, logged 49 snaps Sunday, compared to only 21 for Conner. Edmonds had 81 yards on 15 carries, and Conner had 64 yards on 10 carries, excellent days for both. Ertz played 35 snaps -- 49 percent of the time -- in his first game with the Cardinals.

DL J.J. Watt after a play watched by Jordan Hicks and Isaiah Simmons in a 2021 home game against the Texans

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