Things looked bleak for the Saints first team defense at the start of the game as they got gashed on the ground by Ben Tate en route to a 10-0 deficit. Their coverage was weak, at best, and they gave up a ton of yards. This definitely wasn't as strong a showing as their performance last week against the hapless Raiders.
But like their first preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs, they were able to tighten up and began shutting the Texans down when it mattered with their typical bend-but-don't-break style of defense and limiting Houston to field goals.
The offense continued to roll as usual both on the ground and through the air, particularly with their backups late in the game. Luke McCown, Ryan Griffin, Andy Tanner and Travaris Cadet all helped the Saints get the come-from-behind victory.
The final score doesn't matter as much as how well each individual played, of course, and for the most part we saw some impressive performances on both sides of the football. Here are a few notes about some of the more notable individual standouts. The Saints are definitely going to have some tough decisions to make when they're required to cut down to 75 players by Tuesday afternoon.
- Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas both looked solid in the run and pass game.
- Kenny Stills is the real deal. He showed incredible concentration on a sideline catch and also grabbed a touchdown for the Saints. He finished with 54 yards on just two catches.
- Backup quarterback Luke McCown was been impressive in his backup duties. He went 10/14 and threw two touchdowns.
- Ryan Griffin was equally impressive. If the Saints try to put him on the practice squad this year, he might not clear waivers and get picked up by another team in need of a quarterback.
- Andy Tanner made a seriously strong case for that fifth wide receiver roster spot. He had two touchdowns and contributed on special teams with two tackles as well.
- Khiry Robinson and Travaris Cadet both played well in late-game action. At this point, it's Sophie's Choice as to which one will make the roster, assuming there's only room for one. Based on an unofficial Twitter survey I conducted during the game, Who Dat Nation seems to want Robinson.
- Saalim Hakim took a hit late in the game, appearing to hit his head against the turf.
- Ramon Humber was probably the defensive standout of the game. He led the team with 5 total tackles. The play of the game, however, was on a crucial 3rd quarter goal line stand, stuffing Deji Karim on 4th down right on the goal line.
- Cameron Jordan and Glenn Foster both had a sack each. Both have been great this preseason.
- Kenny Vaccaro played with his usual aggression. Love to see that.
- Tackling looked a bit sloppy. A lot of ankle biting out there by Saints defenders. Would really like to see that get cleaned up.
- Keenan Lewis didn't have a great game. He was abused a couple of times by Andre Johnson. The good news is that Andre Johnson is one of the best on the league.
- Will Smith left the game early with an apparent knee injury. Fortunately, it didn't look too serious. More on that later.
- Garrett Hartley was perfect for the day, nailing a 51-yard field goal, his only attempt of the game.
- Preston Parker helped himself with a sweet 52-yard kickoff return to start the second half.
- The Saints didn't give up any huge kick/punt returns, so that's positive.
Complete stats from the game can be found below.
|Time of Pos.||25:04||34:26|
|NEW ORLEANS SAINTS|