Digging Deep: New Orleans Edition
Patrick D. Starr
The Texans lost 34-27 to the Saints on Saturday night to move to 2-1 on the season. The starters saw their longest action of the preseason, playing throughout the first half before the reserves entered a very physical game. Going inside the box score reveals the positives that they need to carry into the regular season, as well as the negatives that caused them to lose their first game of the preseason.
Matt Schaub improved on his numbers from last week against the 49ers completing 15 of 18 passes (83% completion) for 194 yards and a TD in only a half of play. With such a dominant run game, if the Texans can continue to be this effective through the air, it balances out the offense and makes it a lot more unpredictable.
The number of receiving yards #2 tight end Garrett Graham had on four catches. Performances like this make it a lot easier to forget losing Joel Dreessen to the Broncos in the off-season.
The number of points the Texans’ starters scored in the first half. In most games, this should be enough to establish a solid first half lead, but unfortunately the Saints matched them.
The Texans’ red zone efficiency in this game. They were inside the twenty-yard line four times on offense and scored touchdowns on 3 of these trips. This is an improvement from previous preseason games.
The number of fumbles EACH by Trindon Holliday and Keshawn Martin. The Texans lost both of Martin’s fumbles and one of Holliday’s. Both of the young players had looked really good in the previous two games, but fumbling is one of the easiest ways to lose playing time in Martin’s case, and perhaps to lose a spot on the team in the case of Holliday.
The number of sacks the Texans’ defense had, compared to 6 by the Saints. The Saints threw the ball over 40 times and the Texans only sacked them once. That number needs to improve, especially against teams with explosive passing offenses like the Saints have.
The Texans’ turnover differential in this game. They lost three fumbles while the Saints lost two (forced by Glover Quin and Danieal Manning). The Saints scored a total of 10 points off two of these turnovers. Against a good team, losing the turnover battle makes that good team even harder to beat.
The Texans’ third down efficiency. While the offense seemed to play well, they didn’t do a good job of staying on the field on third down. They only converted 1 out of 9 third down attempts. For a team that prides itself on controlling the ball and therefore the clock, this number needs to go up.