The Texans went to New Orleans to take on the Saints in another showdown between two high-powered offenses. The Texans came out firing on all cylinders in the first quarter. Matt Schaub was red-hot and hitting various different receivers and mixing in the run. The Texans came out of the gate fast and from the looks of things it looked like they had a chip on their shoulder from last year's close loss. The Texans and Saints battled it out, but the end result was still the same, the Saints had too much offense for the Texans' second teams to overcome and thus the Texans left New Orleans with yet another close loss. Here is the breakdown of the game.
Final Score: Saints 34 Texans 27
Texans Preseason Record: 2-1
Total Yards: 309Total Yards: 412
Passing Yards: 228 Passing Yards: 281
Rushing Yards: 88 Rushing Yards: 161
TOP: 28:48 TOP: 31:12
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Turnovers: 3 Turnovers: 2
Matt Schaub came into the game on fire hitting several different targets and leading the Texans' offense on a 9 play 76 yard scoring drive. Next, the first team defense came on and made the Saints turn the ball over which led to another scoring drive by the Texans giving them an early 14-0 lead on the Saints. The first score was made on a 1 yard run by Ben Tate and the second score came on a crossing route underneath the defense to rookie receiver Keshawn Martin, which led to the 14-0 score. Unfortunately, this offensive domination by Houston didn’t last because of mental errors and mistakes in ball security.
The Texans defense wasn’t as effective in this game as they have been in the previous two games. There were too many instances where the Texans defense didn’t finish plays. During the game at various times, the Texans got significant pressure on Drew Brees and could have had a couple of sacks, but the Texans defense whiffed on the tackle at times. Next, the Texans had problems with gap discipline when Drew Brees and Chase Daniel picked up crucial third downs that would have gotten the defense off the field.
After seeing Lance Moore pretty much do what he wanted against Kareem Jackson, I can't help but wonder was that just a bad series for him or a sign that things haven’t quite changed. The Texans still need to fix their inside run defense because the Saints continued to run up the A and B gaps of the Texans defense for significant gains. There were several aspects of the game to be concerned about but can be overlooked due to the fact that several of the starters were missing. Once Shaun Cody, J.J. Watt and Brian Cushing return to the lineup, I believe these minor issues will be rectified.
Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers killed the Texans momentum in the first half of the game. The first turnover came on a fumble by Trindon Holliday. The very thing we have been saying all along is that if Holliday is to make this team he couldn’t turnover the ball. This is the very thing that could kill his opportunity to make the roster. Fortunately, Holliday recovered with a long return two possessions later but was unable to replace the points he gave up on the fumble.
The next two turnovers came from rookie receiver Keshawn Martin, both being after the catch. Martin caught a pass from Schaub and while trying to fight for extra yards a Saints defender knocked the ball loose and the Saints recovered giving them a short field.
The second fumble came on an end around play by Martin which was executed perfectly, but when Martin was trying to cut the ball upfield he was cut off and tackled by Malcolm Jenkins who put his helmet on the ball and the Saints recovered the fumble once again. If it had not been for the fumbles and mental errors by the Texans, the game could have easily gotten away from the Saints and the Texans could have virtually run away with this game.
The game was tied going into halftime even with the all the miscues from both teams, but in the second half the Texans' second teams couldn’t stop the Saints nor could they move the ball against the Saints. T.J. Yates had problems going through his reads and didn’t go through his progressions quickly enough which caused him to get sacked several times. The only successful drive Yates had led to a 52 yard field goal by Shayne Graham.
The Texans starters will not play in the final preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings but it will be a make or break opportunity for the remaining players on the bubble that want to make the final roster. As of now, there have already been several cuts on the roster to get down to 75 and you can see them here. The kicking competition has been settled and the Texans will move forward with kicker Shayne Graham and are placing rookie kicker Randy Bullock on injured reserve seen here.