The red hot Texans look to build on their current 3-game winning streak against the NFL’s 2nd best offense
The Saints won the coin toss and elected to receive the football.
It was strength against strength to start out the contest.
The Texans surrendered one first down, but then forced a 3rd and 9, where they shine as the #1 defense on 3rd down in the NFL. They held strong and forced an early punt.
The offense came out firing and started with two gains over 10 yards to move the chains on two quick first downs.
They continued forcing the issue to DeAndre Hopkins, connecting on two early passes and a first down.
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The offense looked sharp to start the game, getting down into the red zone with methodical movements and then capped it off to Ryan Griffin with a beautiful touchdown toss off of a scramble. The Texans took a 7-0 lead with 6:57 to go in the first quarter.
When the Saints took over on their next drive, they went backwards on two straight plays, and the Texans forced yet another 3rd and long. With 14 yards to go, the Saints ran a screen and were easily forced to punt.
Special teams started the game well, as the Texans were able to start their ensuing drive on the 50 yard line. The offense then drove the ball again with ease, and it looked like the defensive coordinator change for the Saints was a non-factor.
The Texans capped the drive off with a jet sweep to Cecil Shorts III. They took a surging 14-0 lead with 1:29 remaining in the first quarter.
The Texans came out on defense and picked up right where they left off, and forced the saints to go absolutely nowhere. They forced a three and out, giving the ball right back to the offense.
The offense came out and drove the ball with consistency, and then Hoyer made a terrible pass that was inaccurate over the middle for an interception. It set up the Saints to get right back into the game with good field position right around the 50 yard line to start their drive.
Fortunately, the defense did their job tremendously and forced a 3rd and 23 with a subsequent punt.
The offense was held to a three and out, setting up the Saints in good field position again around the 47 going in.
This time, the defense gave up a chunk play down the sideline and let the Saints get inside the red zone for the first series all game.
They bent, but did not break. The defense forced New Orleans to kick a field goal and held a 14-3 lead with 6:35 remaining in the 2nd quarter.
The offense for Houston came back out and attempted to establish the running game. They did just that successfully and ran for two straight first downs to open up the drive.
They were held at midfield, and forced to punt the ball away. They gave the Saints the ball at the 20 yard line after a touchback by Shane Lechler.
The defense surrendered a 57 yard field goal, and the Saints drew closer to make it 14-6 just before halftime, and that’s what the score stayed as they headed into the locker room.
The Texans received the kickoff to open the second half, and they came out firing again early. The forced a pass interference call on the Saints defense, gaining a quick ten yards and automatic first down.
Ryan Griffin produced numbers that have been sorely missing from the tight end position since letting Owen Daniels leave the team. He had over 80 yards and a touchdown to his name by the first drive in the third quarter.
Houston capped off a big touchdown drive with a great run by Alfred Blue of 8 yards. Houston took a 21-6 lead with 11:28 to play in the third period.
The Texans defense came out and forced a quick punt again, not giving an inch to one of the top offenses and best quarterbacks in the NFL.
The offense came out and moved the ball against the Saints defense easily again, getting into scoring territory quickly and with few plays. They were eventually held to a field goal, and went up 24-6 with 6:09 remaining in the third quarter.
The Texan defense forced another quick three and out for the Saints offense, and their amazing play continued against the number two overall offense in the NFL.
The offense took over, and sputtered after a first down run was brought back on a holding penalty. They were forced into a 3rd and 15 and subsequent punt.
J.J Watt had another multi-sack game, notching his second during the next New Orleans drive in the 3rd quarter.
At the end of the third quarter, Houston held a comfortable 24-6 lead against the Saints.
Kareem Jackson’s return had an instant impact, as he stopped as Saint’s scoring threat in the end zone and picked off a pass with a 50 yard return to set up the team to take an even more commanding lead.
The offense squandered the opportunity, after Hoyer held the ball entirely too long and was sacked. The Texans offense was forced to punt the ball away.
The Saint’s offense came out and tried to play tempo against Houston, and had some success as they moved down the field it minimal time and into the red zone.
The defense held on a 4th and 1 play to protect the lead late in the 4th quarter. They were up 24-6 still with 5:43 remaining to play.
The offense then came out and churned the ground game to drain some clock. They accomplished that goal handily, and never gave the ball back to New Orleans.
Houston won 24-6 and went to 6-5 on the year, remaining on top of the AFC South and right in the mix for a Wild Card spot, should they not win the division.
The turnaround has been impressive to watch, let’s see if they can keep it going when they travel to Buffalo next weekend.