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Game balls from the Saints exhilarating comeback win over the Texans

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A roller coaster ride of emotions and momentum ends in jubilation for the Saints in their season opener.

Houston Texans v New Orleans Saints Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints broke their five game losing streak in season openers, but did so in heart stopping fashion and needed every second of the game to do it. The Saints trailed for most of the game, squandered a red zone opportunity in the first half, and had putrid deep coverage defensively with the game on the line. New Orleans did not take their first lead (24-21) until the first play of the final quarter, and the entire 4th period resembled a heavyweight bout between two contenders that each sensed a knockout blow. The Saints prevailed though, and will go into the NFL's second week with a 1-0 record for the first time since 2013. Here are some of the biggest stars from their instant classic against the Houston Texans.

Alvin Kamara

Houston Texans v New Orleans Saints Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

There were actually some that still questioned whether Kamara was ready to take on the reins of the featured back in this offense after the offseason departure of Mark Ingram. He answered that question with a resounding yes, as the third year back totaled 169 yards from scrimmage on 13 rushes and 7 receptions. Kamara was heavily involved in the offensive game plan from the start, even though he had just 29 yards at half. His athleticism and superb versatility took over down the stretch, weaving and slashing his way through the Houston defense for 140 second half yards, showing yet again that he is among the top offensive weapons in the NFL.

Ryan Ramczyk

NFL: Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Houston defensive end J.J. Watt is one of the most devastating defensive forces in the league. His stat line last night against New Orleans: 0 sacks, 0 quarterback pressures, 0 tackles. Watt was completely neutralized by Saints right tackle Ryan Ramczyk, with occasional double team help from guard Larry Warford. Ramczyk keyed a New Orleans line that paved the way to 148 rushing yards, a seven yard average per carry, and allowed their quarterback to be sacked just once against a talented Texans front.

Trey Hendrickson

Houston Texans v New Orleans Saints Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Hendrickson had 2 second half sacks that ended Houston drives. He was a key up front for a New Orleans team that sacked quarterback Deshaun Watson six times and hurried him many others. Cameron Jordan (1 sack) and Demario Davis also had standout games, putting heavy pressure on Watson numerous times. Hendrickson was especially effective in the second half of last night's game, and even lined up at defensive tackle in some alignments. His emergence, coupled with the hopeful progression of Marcus Davenport, should allow the Saints defense to capably pressure the passer opposite Cam Jordan.

Drew Brees

Houston Texans v New Orleans Saints Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Saints quarterback Drew Brees trotted onto the field with just 37 seconds remaining with one timeout left after his team had just stunningly surrendered their lead just moments earlier. Three completions and 34 yards later, the 40-yr. old quarterback had his offense in position for an improbable game winning field goal. Brees was 8 of 10 passing through the 4th quarter, with his only incompletions being to stop the clock. He threw for 370 yards and two touchdowns on the day, completing nearly 75% of his 43 throws while still showing the arm strength necessary to beat defenses deep. A terrifying scenario for the rest of the NFL that may have been hoping for a dropoff in the legendary quarterback's play.

Wil Lutz

Houston Texans v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

New Orleans kicker Wil Lutz stepped onto the field after Brees' last second heroics, facing the daunting task of having to convert a career high 58-yd. field goal to complete the comeback. Lutz drilled his kick with plenty to spare, showing yet again why he should be considered among the best kickers in the league. He went 3/4 on the night in field goal attempts, only narrowly missing a 56-yd. attempt to end the first half, and extended his streak of successful conversions under 50 yards to 31 straight.

NFL: Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Saints now take to the road next week in a title game rematch against the Los Angeles Rams. While the week will be full of juicy storylines for the national media, the Saints have proven that once again they have the enormous never-say-die heart to match their overwhelming talent.

Poll

Who was the Saints biggest star in their stirring win over Houston?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Alvin Kamara
    (96 votes)
  • 4%
    Trey Hendrickson
    (30 votes)
  • 31%
    Ryan Ramczyk
    (207 votes)
  • 14%
    Drew Brees
    (94 votes)
  • 34%
    Wil Lutz
    (223 votes)
650 votes total Vote Now