The Houston Texans improve to 2-1 on the postseason after defeating the New Orleans Saints by a score of 27-13. The Texans went on the road for the first time this preseason and the first string offense looked sharp.
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After the Saints marched down the field quickly, the defense held them for only 3 points. The offense got going quickly as newly named starter Brian Hoyer connected on several passes, including what should have been a beautiful lob touchdown to DeAndre Hopkins.
The NFL referees were in postseason form as they once again could not grasp that when a player moves a ball from one hand to the other, this means they had possession. Instead, the completely incompetent men in stripes called Nuk’s play incomplete, stating he never gained possession.
There was a pass interference call on the play, which allowed the Texans to work on their goal line offense. It took two attempts from the one-yard line, but running back Alfred Blue crossed the goal line seconds before fumbling the ball, giving the Texans a 7-3 lead.
Hoyer was sharp and led the team on another scoring drive and left the game with a 10-3 lead after completing seven of 11 passes for 82 yards. He looked poised and ready for the regular season.
Then entered Ryan Mallett and the second-string quarterback struggled to get going. He was a little off and seemed to be trying too hard to show “touch” passes. Once near the goal line Mallett finally let loose and threw a strike to tight end Ryan Griffen on what was originally called a touchdown, but overturned after being reviewed.
Mallett finally connected with rookie receiver Jaelen Strong for a six yard score in the third quarter. This was the first touchdown of the preseason for Mallett and the second for Strong, who has really turned things around after a slow start to training camp.
Mallett finished with 77 yards on 9 of 17 passing and checked down far too often in my opinion. Third string quarterback Tom Savage again looked to be much improved from his rookie year as he finished the game for the Texans under center.
On the night Savage had 58 yards and a touchdown on 5 of 8 passes. He hit rookie wide receiver Chandler Worhty for a six yard score late in the fourth quarter. Savage looks to be in line for extended playing time in the final preseason game.
The running game for Houston did nothing to impress as only Jonathan Grimes averaged more than four yards per carry after getting 14 yards on three carries.
The two guys who seem to be battling for the last spot at running back, Kenny Hilliard and Chris Polk, both turned in subpar performances. Hilliard had 25 yards on 10 carries and Polk managed just 22 yards on 11 carries.
Defensively linebackers Akeem Dent and Tony Washington, Jr. both recorded sacks and Washington caused a fumble. In a reoccurring trend, linebacker Kourtnei Brown made a big play as he scooped up the fumble.
Also showing up big were converted safety Andre Hal, who was all over the field and finished with six tackles. Hal also had solid coverage on Saints tight end Josh Hill on a goal line fade from quarterback Drew Brees in the first quarter.
Rookie cornerback Kevin Johnson had a big pass deflection on a fourth down play as well as downing a punt at the one-yard line. He looks to be a great selection by the Texans front office with their first round pick.
The Texans final game is Thursday, September 3rd on the road against the Dallas Cowboys.