After a crushing end to their 2018-2019 season in the NFC Championship Game, the New Orleans Saints were back on an NFL regular season field, trying to exorcise the demons of “The NOLA Non-Call,” a blatantly-ignored pass interference that denied them a sure trip to the Super Bowl last season.
Tonight, the Saints were tasked with defeating a good Houston Texans team led by quarterback Deshaun Watson and defensive end/tackle J.J. Watt in New Orleans’ season and home-opener. Winning the game would mean the first season-opening win for New Orleans since a 23-17 victory against the Atlanta Falcons in week one of the 2013 season. A dubious and incredible five-game losing streak in season openers.
In the first half, the Saints’ offense looked like the Saints’ offense between the 20s, but couldn’t find the end zone. New Orleans settled for a Wil Lutz field goal, as it went into halftime trailing the Texans 14-3. After recording only five interceptions in 2018, Drew Brees threw his first interception of the season in the first game of 2019, a red zone pick by Whitney Mercilus with the teams tied 0-0.
On the very next drive, the Texans would take advantage of their good fortune and go on a 94-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown for a 7-0 Texans lead. After the Saints had narrowed the Texans’ lead to 7-3, Houston would go on a lengthy touchdown drive of over seven minutes to increase their lead to 14-3 on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Watson to DeAndre Hopkins, to give the Texans a 14-3 lead. That advantage would remain until halftime, with Wil Lutz missing a 56-yard field goal attempt with 4 seconds left in the half.
The Saints started the second half with a bang, with Brees finding Alvin Kamara for a 41-yard pass, then Latavius Murray finding the end zone two plays later to bring the Saints within four points of the Texans at 14-10.
On the ensuing possession, Houston quarterback would prove elusive again, leading the Texans to a 75-yard drive in 4:31 min that culminated in a touchdown pass to the inevitable DeAndre Hopkins to restore the Texans’ 11-point lead at 21-10.
On the following Saints drive, New Orleans would go right back down the field, with an 11-play, 75-yard drive that took 5:41 min and ended with a touchdown pass from quarterback Drew Brees to quarterback Taysom Hill and once again bring the Saints within four points of the Texans, at 21-17.
On the next Texans drive, the Saints would record their first takeaway of the season, when on 3rd-and-8 from the Texans’ 18-yard line, Marcus Williams would intercept a deep pass from Watson.
Taking over at Houston’s 49-yard line, the Saints would drive in just four plays and 1:53 min and find the end zone on a scramble play when Drew Brees found second-year wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith for a touchdown and New Orleans’ first lead of the night at 24-21.
On the Texans’ ensuing drive, the Saints’ defense would finally impose its will on the Texans’ offense, recording two sacks and forcing Houston to punt.
Having the lead and the ball for the first time, the Saints next drive would fizzle, with Brees getting sacked for the first time of the night and the Saints punting the ball back to the Texans.
Starting at their 3-yard line, the Texans make their way to the Saints’ 44-yard line, but on 3rd-and-11, Trey Hendrickson beats left tackle Laremy Tunsil and sacks Watson, forcing the Texsans to punt and giving New Orleans a chance to close the game on offense, with 3:29 left in the game.
Starting from their 7-yard line, the Saints would play their usual “no holds barred” brand of football, with Brees finding Ted Ginn Jr. for a 40-yard bomb on 3rd-and-2 from New Orleans’ 9-yard line. The Saints would eventually manage a 47-yard field goal by Wil Lutz, to force the Texans to try and win the game with a touchdown with 55 seconds left and no timeouts left.
Deshaun Watson however did not care and in two plays, Watson would find DeAndre Hopkins and Kenny Stills for a touchdown to give the Texans a 28-27 lead.
Saints would not be deterred, as Brees would guide his team into Texans territory with 37 seconds left on the clock and one timeout, giving Wil Lutz and opportunity to redeem himself from an earlier miss with a 58-yard field goal that the Saints kicker converted for a 30-28 Saints win!
Here is a quarter-by-quarter timeline of the game:
- Saints won the toss and deferred to the second half. On Houston’s first drive, Cam Jordan sacks Deshaun Watson on 3rd-and-15, forcing the Texans to punt from their own 27-yard line.
- Saints take over from their 14-yard line and get just into Texans territory, but stall and punt.
- On their second possession, the Texans go three-and-out and have to punt once again. On the drive, Watson is sacked again.
- Saints start their second drive of the night at Houston’s 49-yard line and find their way into the Texans’ red zone, but Drew Brees throws his first interception of the season trying to find Latavius Murray, a pick by Whitney Mercilus at the Texans’ 6-yard line.
- On the very next play, Deshaun Watson finds Will Fuller for a 54-yard pass into Saints’ territory. The Texans reach the Saints’ 29-yard line as the quarter ends
- Saints: 0 - Texans: 0
- On 4th and inches from the Saints’ 29-yard line, Deshaun Watson takes the ball into the end zone for a touchdown on a zone read play.
- Saints: 0 - Texans: 7
- Saints take over from their own 21-yard line and get into Texans territory on Brees’ passes to Jared Cook and Michael Thomas. Saints once again get into the Texans’ red zone. Saints stall again and have to settle for a field goal. Wil Lutz converts a 32-yard field goal attempt.
- Saints: 3 - Texans: 7
- Texans take over at their 25-yard line after a touchback and get into Saints’ territory. Texans run the ball well and are aided by a penalties on P.J. Williams and Cam Jordan to get into the Saints’ red zone. On 3rd-and-goal from the Saints’ 2-yard line, Deshaun Watson finds DeAndre Hopkins for a touchdown.
- Saints: 3 - Texans: 14
- Saints take over at their 25-yard line after a touchback and drive the ball to the Texans’ 38-yard line. With 4 seconds left on the clock, Wil Lutz attempts and narrowly misses a 56-yard field goal.
- At halftime, the Texans lead the Saints 14 to 3.
- Saints receive the kickoff and Deonte Harris returns the kick to New Orleans’ 17-yard line. Brees finds Alvin Kamara for a 41-yard pass into Texans territory. two plays later, Latavius Murray runs into the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown.
- Saints: 10 - Texans: 14
- Texans start from their 25-yard line and move into Saints’ territory on the prowess of Deshaun Watson extending plays. Texans once again get into the Saints’ red zone as New Orleans’ defense is unable to get off the field. Watson finds DeAndre Hopkins for a touchdown, as the Texans extend their lead back to 11.
- Saints: 10 - Texans: 21
- Saints take over at their 25-yard line after a touchback and Saints drive methodically into the Texans’ red zone and Drew Brees finds Swiss army knife Taysom Hill for a 9-yard touchdown.
- Saints: 17 - Texans: 21
- Texans take over at own 16-yard line after the Saints’ kickoff. On the third play of the drive, Watson launches a pass deep that is intercepted by Marcus Williams, the first takeaway for the Saints in the 2019 season.
- A penalty on the Texans gives the Saints the ball at Houston’s 49-yard line. New Orleans gets into the Texans’ red zone in two plays, one being a 28-yard run by Alvin Kamara.
- On the first play of the fourth quarter, Drew Brees finds Tre’Quan Smith for touchdown, giving the Saints their first lead of the night.
- Saints: 24 - Texans: 21
- Texans take over at their 25-yard line and get into Saints’ territory in a blink, but two Saints sacks force Houston back and forces the Texans to punt.
- Saints take over at their 28-yard line, and after a holding penalty, Alvin Kamara goes for a 28-yard run to get the Saints out of a hole. Brees gets sacked for the first time of the night and the Texans force the Saints to punt.
- Thomas Morstead pins Houston to their 3-yard line and but the Texans find a way into Saints’ territory on the incredible play of Deshaun Watson. On 3rd-and-11 from the Saints’ 44-yard line, Trey Hendrickson sacks Deshaun Watson and forces Houston to punt.
- After a penalty on the punt, Saints start from their 7-yard line. On 3rd-and-2 from the Saints’ 9-yard line, Drew Brees finds Ted Ginn Jr. for a 40-yard pass as the two-minute warning hits. Saints run the ball to force the Texans to burn their timeouts. Stalling at the Texans’ 29-yard line, the Saints go for a field goal and Wil Lutz converts a 47-yard field goal to give the Saints a 6-point lead at 27-21.
- Saints: 27 - Texans: 21
- Texans take over from their 25-yard line and in two plays, Watson finds DeAndre Hopkins and Kenny Stills for a touchdown, giving the Texans the lead at 28-27.
- Saints: 27 - Texans: 28
- Saints take over at their own 25-yard line with 37 seconds left on the clock and one timeout. Brees guides his team to the Texans’ 40-yard line and Wil Lutz drills a 58-yard field goal as the clock expires, for the win!!!!
- Saints: 30 - Texans: 28
- Saints Win! Saints Win!!!
Who was the Saints’ player of the game tonight?
This poll is closed
Drew Brees, who rebounded nicely from his early INT
Alvin Kamara, he carried the offense
Wil Lutz, with his clutch game-winning 58-yard field goal
The crowd, they were outstanding tonight!
All the burgers that helped me through this game!