ARI-HOU grades: Texans QB Brock Osweiler impressive on downfield throws

Top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Texans' 34-24 preseason win at home against the Cardinals.

| 2 months ago
Texans QB Brock Osweiler

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

ARI-HOU grades: Texans QB Brock Osweiler impressive on downfield throws

Houston Texans 34, Arizona Cardinals 24

Here are the top takeaways from the Houston Texans’ 34-24 preseason Week 3 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

Arizona Cardinals

Quarterback grade: Carson Palmer, 64.6; Matt Barkley, 44.1; Drew Stanton, 42.8

Carson Palmer finds success across the middle

After earning the worst playoff grade PFF has ever given to a quarterback in the NFC Championship game last season, Carson Palmer has a lot of critics waiting for him to struggle again this year. Against the Texans, Palmer missed on his only throw of 20 yards or more downfield, but did connect on all three of the passes he attempted between the numbers traveling 10 to 19 yards downfield.

Top offensive grades

G Cole Toner, 84.2

OT John Wetzel, 77.2

WR Brittan Golden, 77.0

TE Darren Fells, 76.0

C A.Q. Shipley, 75.5

WR Brittan Golden gives the Texans problems

Thanks to an interception, passes thrown the way of wide receiver Brittan Golden earned an NFL quarterback rating of just 45.8 against the Texans, but Golden himself had a good game. He caught all six of the catchable targets thrown his way for 80 yards, with those receptions coming against five different Houston defenders.

Top defensive grades

LB Chris Clemons, 88.7

S Marqui Christian, 85.2

DI Robert Nkemdiche, 80.7

LB Kevin Minter, 79.1

LB Alan Fua, 78.3

Rookie Robert Nkemdiche impresses in debut

Cardinals fans got to see their first-round draft pick in action for the first time on Sunday afternoon, and he was far too good for the second- and third-string offensive linemen he went up against. A menace against the run, he registered two tackles resulting in a defensive stop, despite playing just 14 snaps in run defense.

Houston Texans

Quarterback grade: Brock Osweiler, 85.6; Tom Savage, 69.3; Brandon Weeden, 50.6

Texans QB Brock Osweiler finds success downfield

The Texans took a gamble in signing Brock Osweiler for as much as they did this offseason, but with a performance like this, you can see what they like about him. Outstanding throwing the ball downfield, Osweiler completed two of the three passes of 20 yards or more downfield he attempted, with the incompletion coming as a result of a drop. In fact, Osweiler had just two incompletions on his 13 passing attempts, and both resulted from a dropped pass.

Adjusted completion percentage for QBs on deep passes in preseason Week 3

Adjusted completion percentage on deep passes

Top offensive grades

QB Brock Osweiler, 85.6

WR DeAndre Hopkins, 75.1

WR Will Fuller, 73.7

OT Jeff Adams, 71.6

Oday Aboushi, 71.4

DeAndre Hopkins with two missed tackles forced on just a pair of receptions

Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins saw just two passes thrown his way against the Cardinals, but still managed to make an impact. Despite such limited work, he managed to force two missed tackles on one of his receptions, displaying fantastic change of direction to find more yards after the catch.

Top defensive grades

S K.J. Dillon, 84.1

LB Reshard Cliett, 83.6

LB Shakeel Rashad, 83.3

DI Ufomba Kamalu, 82.3

ED Eric Lee, 80.2

OLB Whitney Mercilus makes big impact in limited opportunities

Like Hopkins on offense, outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus (79.0 grade) didn’t see much time on the field against the Cardinals, but still found a way to make an impact. On the field for just 11 defensive snaps—and just five pass-rushing attempts—he still found a way to register a hit and a hurry.

Get ready for the Texans’ 2016 regular season by checking out our Houston team preview (click the image below).

Houston Texans 2016 season preview

| Analyst, Lead Special Teams Analyst

Gordon has worked at PFF since 2011, and now heads up the company’s special teams analysis processes. His work in-season focuses on college football, while he is also heavily involved in PFF’s NFL draft coverage.

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