- Fox Sports rolled out their Buck/Aikman team for the TV broadcast, as if the people of New Orleans didn't suffer enough 10 years ago. Come on, Rupert!
- Mike Periera briefly stepped into the broadcast booth to explain how NFL officials will now test football air pressure before each game and approve each ball by breaking out the Sharpie pens to mark their zebra number on each one.
- Saints get the ball first. Marcus Murphy returns the kick-off to the 15 yard line.
- Drew Brees took the field to start the first Saints series. Mark Ingram ran the ball on the 3rd offensive play to pick up the Saints' first first down of the game.
- Brandon Cooks caught a 13-yard pass over the middle to pick up the Saints' second first down of the series.
- Saints go to hurry-up offense. Another first down as Mark Ingram reels in a 12-yard pass. Texans get busted for a late hit out of bounds. Saints move well into Texans territory.
- Saints stall in the red zone on first series as TE Josh Hill was too well covered in the end zone.
- Zach Hocker nails a 28-yard field goal to put the Saints on the board first. Score - Texans 0, Saints 3.
- Texans pick up a big reception on their second play of the game to move into Saints territory.
- Texans keep the drive alive with another pass to the right side for a first down. CB Keenan Lewis was attempting to cover but came up short on Texans WR Cecil Shorts.
- Saints pick up their first penalty of the game as Cam Jordan gets nailed for off sides. Texans 1st and 5 from the Saints 31 yard line.
- Keenan Lewis gets nailed for pass interference on a Bryan Hoyer pass to Dustin Hopkins in the end zone. Pass ruled incomplete. Texans get ball on 1-yard line.
- Texans score TD on a 2nd down run and leap over the middle. Score - Texans 7, Saints 3.
- Jalen Saunders takes the kick-off to the 25-yard line. Drew Brees' day is done after only one series.
- QB Luke McCown leads the Saints' second series starting at 6:30 in the 1st quarter.
- Saints go three and out as McCown comes up short on a 3rd down scramble up the middle
- Thomas Morstead punts the ball out of bounds at the Texans 30-yard line.
- Texans start second series with QB Brian Hoyer still in the game. Move the chains on a 2nd down pass.
- Another first down on a Jonathan Grimes run to the left. Texans are in Saints' territory.
- Saints defense holds on 3rd down play from their 31-yard line. Randy Bullock comes on to nail a 49-yard field goal. Texans lead moves to 10-3.
- Saints start third series from their own 16-yard line.
- Willie Snead hauls in a 7-yard pass from McCown to get the first down.
- Tim Hightower comes on to make a 5-yard run to the left side.
- The first quarter ends on an incomplete pass to Brandon Coleman up the deep middle. Another preseason incomplete pass to Coleman. He's had plenty of those so far.
- Saints drive resumes from their 34-yard line with another incomplete pass on 3rd down. This time to WR Willie Snead.
- Texans start their third series from their 31-yard line with a 4-yard run up the middle. Kikaha makes the tackle.
- Jalen Strong hauls in a 3rd down pass to pick up the first down.
- Saints defense blitzs on 2nd down to force Hoyer into a "just get rid of it" incomplete pass.
- Saints D holds on 3rd and 10 to force the Texans to punt. Texans down the ball at the Saints' 2-yard line. Yikes!
- Texans get called for pass interference on a McCown pass from his own endzone. Saints get a 1st down at the 27-yard line.
- Willie Snead picks up the first down on a 11-yard reception.
- Brandon Coleman catches a beautiful 27-yard pass from McCown to move to the Texans 32-yard line.
- RB Marcus Murphy gets horse-collared on a right side run. After the Texans penalty, the Saints start a new set of downs at the Texans 9-yard line.
- Saints again come up short in the red zone on 3rd down.
- Sean Payton goes for it on 4th down from the 2-yard line. CB Kevin Johnson reaches an arm out to block a left side pass to WR Joe Morgan and end the Saints' drive with 0 points. GAAAAHHHH!
- Texans QBs Ryan Mallett makes first appearance to start their drive from their own 2-yard line.
- After two incomplete Texans passes, the Saints D shuts down the drive with a 3rd down stop at the 9-yard line.
- Texans punt, but offsetting penalties erase the play and force a second punt. Marcus Murphy receives and breaks off a big return that ends inside the Texans' 30-yardline, but a Ramon Humber penalty erases all that awesomeness and forces the Saints to start at their own 41-yard line.
- Saints 3rd down and 4 from their 47 is a big pass to Willie Snead for a gain of 23 yards. Snead so far has three receptions for 41 yards in this game, which leads all Saints receivers.
- Texans get a huge 3rd down sack on McCown to stall the drive and move the Saints back 10 yards. Saints punt.
- Texans start their next drive at their own 10-yard line. 1st down pass from Mallett to Strong is too high and incomplete.
- Saints D forces another three and out as CB Damian Swann breaks up a pass from Mallett to K. Martin. Texans are forced to punt.
- Saints get the ball with 2:08 remaining in the first half.
- Saints GIVE the ball with 2:00 remaining in the first half as Luke McCown gives up a clumsy-looking fumble at the NO 46-yard line. Yeesh!
- Texans start next series with an incomplete Ryan Mallett pass to the left side on 1st down.
- Texans move the chains with a 6-yard 3rd down run by Chris Polk.
- Another Saints pass interference penalty on 1st down. This time on CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste. Texans move to the Saints 32-yard line.
- Ryan Mallett throws a nice line-drive pass to Ryan Griffin in the end zone. Pass is ruled a TD on the field, but overturned as an incomplete pass after further review.
- Saints D forces another Bullock field goal attempt, which is good from 29 yards away. Score - Texans 13, Saints 3.
- Saints get the ball at their own 16-yard line with 0:46 remaining in the half.
- On 1st down, RB Marcus Murphy and the Saints O-line rip a successful screen play for 15 yards to their 31-yard line.
- Saints move to the Texans' 35-yard line on a 15-yard reception by WR Willie Snead. Payton calls a time out with 0:04 remaining.
- Zach Hocker comes on and nails a 53-yard field goal. Score - Texans 13, Saints 6.
- Texans start 2nd half on their own 20-yard line.
- Ryan Mallett returns as QB and picks up a 1st down on a 13-yard pass to K. Martin.
- CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste almost hauled in an INT on a Texans 2nd and 8 play from the Saints 49-yard line. He did a good job catching the Mallett pass but fell out of bounds before securing it.
- Texans move the chains on a 17-yard 3rd down pass to TE Anthony Denim with CB Pierre Warren covering.
- Texans were almost stopped on 3rd down, but a defensive holding penalty on LB Henry Coley gives the Texans a new set of downs at the Saints 30-yard line.
- Saints DB Ashaad Mabry gets a nice tackle in the backfield to give the Texans a 3-yard loss and force 2nd and 13.
- Saints D forces a 4th down and 2 at the NO 6-yard line. Texans leave the offense on the field and score a TD on a Mallett pass to Jaelen Strong. Score - Texans 20, Saints 6.
- Jalen Strong receives the kick-off and breaks off a 50-yard run to the NO 46-yard line.
- Payton sends out QB Garrett Grayson to start their first series of the second half. What happened to Ryan Griffin?
- Grayson throws a nice 3rd down pass that WR Josh Morgan was unable to complete. Damn it! That incomplete was totally on Morgan. The coverage was pretty good but not so good he couldn't reel that one in. But, who the hell am I to criticize?
- Saints go for it on 4th and 5 from the HOU 39, but the Texans snuffed it out to force a loss of 2 yards. Drive over. No points.
- Texans start their next drive at their own 41-yard line with 6:00 remaining in the quarter. New QB Tom Savage takes the field.
- Saints D forces a three and out. Texans punt the ball into the endzone.
- QB Garrett Grayson returns to start the drive at the NO 20 with 4:35 remaining in the 3rd quarter. Passes to WR Josh Morgan for a 26-yard gain on 1st down. Nice!
- Grayson gets forced out of the pocket on 2nd down and wisely throws the ball away.
- Saints come up a yard shy of moving the chains on 3rd down.
- On 4th and 1, RB Edwin Baker picks up the 1st down....and a TOUCHDOWN on a 45-yard run! Hell Yes! Finally! A Saints TD! Score - Texans 20, Saints 13. 2:22 remaining in the quarter.
- Texans start their next drive from their own 20-yard line with a 2-yard run by A. Mabry.
- WTF!? The Texans O-line false started all over the place on 3rd down and 3, but it's Saints LB Davis Tull who gets flagged for a neutral zone infraction. Texans get a new set of downs and the quarter ends after a 1-yard Chris Polk run.
- On 3rd down and 14, QB Tom Savage moves the chain with a 17-yard pass to Khari Lee. LB Henry Coley was covering.
- Saints D gives up another 1st down on a 3rd and 1 run by Hilliard.
- Saints S Kenny Phillips gets flagged for pass interference and the Texans get a new set of downs at the NO 6-yard line.
- Texans score on the next play with a Savage pass to Chandler Worthy. Score - Texans 27, Saints 13.
- Jalen Saunders returns the kick-off to the 15-yard line. DOH!
- Garrett Grayson stays in at QB and moves the chains on a 10-yard 3rd and 6 pass to WR Seantavius Jones.
- On 3rd and 8, the Texans D gets called for defensive holding. Saints get a new set of downs at their own 36-yard line.
- 1st and 10 becomes 1st and 20 as OT Bryce Harris gets flagged for holding. Grayson gets flagged for delay of game. 1st and 25.
- On 3rd and long, the Texans get flagged for a 15-yard personal foul to give Grayson and Saints a new set of downs at the 47-yard line.
- On the next play, RB Marcus Murphy takes a short pass 41 yards to the HOU 12-yard line. COOL!
- Saints get flagged for holding and soon find themselves in a 4th and 15 situation. Payton goes for it again and again the offense fails to convert. Texans ball at HOU 17-yard line.
- Texans look like they just want to run out the clock with 4:36 remaining in the game.
- On 1st down with 2:57 remaining, Charles James breaks off a 73-yard run for a TD, but it gets called back after a 10-yard Texas Holdem penalty.
- Saints D struggles to tackle during a short pass to Hilliard, who then runs for 21 yards on the play to set up a 3rd and 1.
- With 2:00 remaining, The Texans get moved back 5 yards after a false start penalty. They then fail to convert on 3rd and 6 as CB Kyle Wilson breaks up the pass. BUT, Wilson also gets flagged for pass interference after not getting his head around during the coverage. Texans 1st down. Saints fans can't wait for this s*** show to end.
- Saints D finally forces a punt with 0:49 remaining in the game.
- QB Ryan Griffin finally enters the game and passes for 11 yards on first down to move the chains.
- On 2nd and 10, Griffin badly underthrows a ball that gets picked off by J. Rolle at the HOU 43.
- Texans take a knee on 1st down to run out the clock.
FINAL SCORE - Texans 27, Saints 13
What did we learn?
Not much. Payton said at halftime that they didn't want to take the typical third preseason game approach in this one. He said it was much more about evaluating players on the roster bubble to make sure they make the right roster cuts this week. I hope he learned more than I did. The starters looked good enough at the beginning of the game, even though Brees wasn't quite able to score the TD on his one drive. After the 1st stringers started getting pulled early in the 1st quarter, there wasn't much for Saints fans to get excited about. The nice Edwin Baker 45-yard TD run was about it.
Willie Snead is outperforming Brandon Coleman and may force his way into the no. 3 receiver discussion. Snead seems better than Coleman at overcoming defenders and reeling in completions. We've heard a lot of good reports on Coleman from Saints camp and practices, but we haven't seen much from him in game situations. Let's hope he figures it out soon and puts our minds at ease. Snead looks like he at least has a good chance of making the final 53 cut.
Where was QB Ryan Griffin today? Does Payton plan to give him more time under center next week and sit Luke McCown? Luke McCown isn't doing a whole lot to show he is the better choice for back-up QB over Ryan Griffin. McCown's drive-killing 2nd quarter fumble must have looked as bad to Payton as it did to us. I'm eager to find out why Griffin only came into the game at the very end with under a minute left.