Josh Woods has been on teams that have not been good. This is not one of them.
"If you think we are a bad team," the linebacker said, "you don't watch football."
In the aftermath of what could've been in Houston, that was the prevailing feeling in the locker room. That and frustration, whether it came out in well-measured words or just sullen faces. Wide receiver Greg Dortch had his best offensive showing since last season with six catches, and his effort looked like it would spark a game-winning, last-minute drive. He declined an interview.
Kyler Murray was in uniform as long as humanly possible before he had to get ready for the soon-to-depart buses, and safety Budda Baker understood. "We're all not feeling well," Baker said. "At the end of the day, I'm feeling like he feels."
Jonathan Gannon never looks overly excited when the Cardinals have won, but he has impressively handled the losses with the even-keeled personality he often talks about. This is a process, and Woods said that himself, with a little bit of Sixers-esque "we have to trust the process" in his response.
That doesn't mean it was any easily to sit in the feelings after such a game. But it was also only the second game back for Murray, who did look like a guy who hasn't ironed everything out after 11 months away.
That's what this second half of the season is all about. The results will be what they will be.
-- The Cardinals went for it on fourth down three times in the fourth quarter, all while they were down five. The first came at the Houston 23. Needing three yards, Murray's pass was complete to Dortch but only for two yards and Dortch was tackled immediately. The second was at the Houston 45, and a pass to Trey McBride was slightly behind, and it looked like it came out of Murray's hand wrong. The final one was necessary with 35 seconds left, but the deep pass to Hollywood Brown was easily batted away.
"We were trying to win the game," Gannon said of going for it on fourth downs. "When you make those plays you have to live with the results."
-- Have we mentioned that Matt Prater is a machine? Another long field goal, this one 57 yards, and really there was no doubt.
-- Safety Jalen Thompson not only had a crucial interception – it came in the first half in the end zone as the Texans threatened to pull away – but he also had his first career sack.
"Five years," Thompson said with a smile. "Hopefully I can get more down the road."
-- Another big name on IR is eligible to return to practice this week. Tight end Zach Ertz has missed the minimum four games with his quad injury, so the Cardinals can open his practice window when needed. With how McBride has been playing, seeing how Drew Petzing integrates the two tight ends will be a storyline to watch, whenever Ertz returns.
-- With Trystan Colon available again, the Cardinals nevertheless kept Carter O'Donnell in the lineup as left guard. Dennis Daley was the healthy scratch. Opening day starter Elijah Wilkinson, who has been on IR, is like Ertz eligible to return as soon as this week.
-- Linebacker Kyzir White, who played 100 percent of the snaps every week, came out with a biceps injury. Krys Barnes, his fill-in, had a key interception inside the Arizona 5. But the Cards lost White, defensive lineman Leki Fotu (hand) and cornerback Antonio Hamilton, who made a crucial interception late in the game but left after hurting his groin on the play.
-- Murray ended up only taking five snaps under center, although he opened under center and ran a perfect play-action that resulted in a 13-yard gain to McBride. It seemed that Murray made a great effort to remain in the pocket at times – he did so on his TD bomb to Moore, although his bomb to an open Brown in the first half was short and Derek Stingley was able to catch up and make an interception.
That's it for tonight. Time to fly home.