And it has nothing to do with his side of the ball.
"We're a tough, grind-it-out defensive team," he said.
That was apparent on the first play from scrimmage against Houston on Sunday, when the Cardinals forced a fumble and returned it for a touchdown.
It was a sign of what would come in the second half.
"All in all it seems like the same theme," Phillips said. "Team is playing tremendously hard but not enough plays. One play here, one play there, and they really dominated us in the second half on their defensive side of the ball."
"As a defense, we just told ourselves '17 is the max,'" linebacker Daryl Washington said. "'No more points to be scored. Let's play nasty, let's play dirty.' "
J.J. Watt forced two fumbles, recovering both of them for Houston. The second one set up Johnson's 5-yard TD catch that cut the lead to three with 4:34 to play.
"We made good adjustments," Arizona coach Bruce Arians said of the second half. "The running game was kind of gone. We felt if we could get them in a one-dimension game we could get after the quarterback, and we were able to do that."
Palmer completed 20 of 32 for 241 yards. Keenum was 22 of 43 for 201 yards no interceptions, but was just 7 for 17 for 42 yards in the second half.
Arizona reeled off 13 consecutive points and Palmer's 19-yard touchdown pass to Andre Roberts put Arizona up 27-17 with 6:42 to play.
On third down, Johnson gathered in Keenum's pass and was able to get both feet inbounds for the touchdown. He had scored on a similar catch in the first quarter.
"Those were two of the best catches I have ever seen in my life," Keenum said. "You can't even describe it. You have to watch it to see how awesome those catches are. "
After his first-play miscue, Keenum completed 4 of 4 for 44 yards in an eight-play, 49-yard drive. Johnson got his left foot down then barely dragged his right foot inbounds on a 7-yard touchdown catch and it was 7-all.
Arizona regained the lead with its only touchdown drive of the first half. Recently signed tight end Jake Ballard had a 15-yard catch, his first reception since 2011, and Rob Housler got his first pro touchdown catch on a 12-yard screen pass to put the Cardinals up 14-7 with 13:57 left in the half. It was Palmer's 200th career touchdown pass.
But Keenum responded, going 5 for 6 for 55 yards in a nine-play, 80-yard TD drive. Keenum threw 2 yards to wide open tight end Ryan Griffin for the touchdown that tied it at 14-14 with 9:37 left in the half.
Arizona committed another turnover late in the second quarter.
Palmer's 26-yard pass to Housler gave Arizona a first-and-goal at the Houston 5 in the final seconds of the third quarter. Feely's 21-yarder put Arizona back on top 20-17 entering the fourth quarter.
NOTES: The Texans were without running back Arian Foster and won't have him the rest of the season after he decided to undergo season-ending back surgery. During the game, Houston lost starting cornerback Kareem Jackson (ribs), Griffin (concussion) and backup cornerback Elbert Mack (hamstring). ... Arizona lost wide receiver Michael Floyd in the first half with a shoulder sprain.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press