Much like last August 25th, the Houston Texans dropped their first preseason game of the year to the New Orleans Saints on national TV. This year, the score was 31-23 in favor of New Orleans.
Early on, the Texans came out like men on fire. They raced to a 10-0 lead behind a resurgent and physical Ben Tate, who had 74 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Like many other teams, the Saints also could not contain Andre Johnson who added seven receptions on 131 yards.
The Saints would strike back with a 51-yard Drew Brees to Pierre Thomas reception, with an assist by Shiloh Keo who missed his tackle on Thomas and took out Joe Mays, his Texans teammate. A pair of 50-plus yard field goals were exchanged by Fat Randy Bullock and Garrett Hartley, but then Brees left the game and the Saints took over.
Kenny Stills, with help from backup quarterback Luke McCown, made both Kareem Jackson and Johnathan Joseph look silly as the Saints took a 17-13 lead. In the second half, Andy Tanner caught touchdowns from McCown and something called Ryan Griffin, sandwiching an Alec Lemon 11-yard touchdown pass from T.J. Yates.
On the whole, the Texans second and third defensive units struggled. There was a real lack of pass rush and the secondary was turned inside out by guys like Stills and Tanner. On the bright side, defensive end Jared Crick and outside linebacker Willie Jefferson stood out in spot starter duty with consistent pressure on Brees.
The first team cooled off once Tate was pulled and a running threat wasn't established, but we did learn that David Quessenberry is for real and T.J. Yates has probably won the back-up job with a sharp 7-for-9 for 73 yards and a touchdown.
The return and coverage units still looked like typical units from Marciano, but Bullock and Shane Lechler did show why they were brought in. Bullock went 3-for-3 on field goals, including a 55-yard field goal, with five touchbacks. Meanwhile, Lechler downed a punt at the 2-yard line, another at the 12-yard line, and booted one 60 yards to flip the field position. The special teams units may not be a total bag of suck after all.
Another positive from the game? Houston escapes without any serious injury of note. We can all praise that. The Texans will wrap up their preseason slate with the backup fest against the Dallas Cowboys this Thursday at 7 pm in JerrahWorld.