Nothing about this football season has been, or will be, easy for the Cardinals. Nor will it be pretty.

They confirmed that again on Sunday.

The Cardinals nearly blew a 10-point lead in the final five minutes against the Texans, but hung on to a 27-24 victory by the tips of their gloves.

The Cardinals took over at their 5 with a 10 point lead and 4:53 left. But running back Rashard Mendenhall lost a fumble on first down, and Texans receiver Andre Johnson made a fabulous touchdown catch to close the gap to 27-24.

The Texans had one more chance to tie. The Cardinals came up a yard short of a first down and had to punt

The Texans (2-7) took over at their 17 with 2:06 remaining and no timeouts. The Texans gained one first down, but three consecutive incompletions ended the game.

The victory improved the Cardinals record to 5-4, and the loss was the Texans’ seventh consecutive one.

The Cardinals trailed by three points at the half but the defense took the life out of the Texans offense early in the quarter, and the Cardinals offense finally showed it had a pulse.

The Texans led 17-14 at halftime, and the defense nearly opened the second half as it did the first: by scoring a touchdown.

But linebacker Daryl Washington couldn’t hang on to an interception that he could have returned for a touchdown. His partner at inside linebacker, Karlos Dansby, could have had two interceptions in the first half.

Sluggish would be a kind word to describe the Cardinals offense for most of the game. It did manage 43-yard drive in the third quarter, which Jay Feely capped with a field goal that tied the game at 17 with 6:06 left.

Feely made another field goal late in the quarter after the Cardinals failed to score despite having a first down at the Texans 5.