The Texans offense made big strides in their 16-9 preseason win over the New Orleans Saints on Saturday night.
"I thought offensively, we definitely improved," head coach Bill O'Brien said after the game. "I thought there were some good things in the passing game. Still some work to be done, obviously, but it was definitely better. I thought our two-minute drill at the end of the half was a good one where we came up with a field goal. That was good to see because we work very hard at that type of stuff. There was a lot more good than bad."
In the final two minutes, Tom Savage orchestrated a seven-play, 56-yard drive that set up a 46-yard Nick Novak field goal in just 1:33. The Texans took a 13-0 lead as time expired in the second quarter.
Houston's starters accumulated 214 net yards of offense (175 passing, 39 rushing) and 11 first downs in the first half. Brock Osweiler threw for 124 yards before exiting the game midway through the second quarter. Rookie Will Fuller caught his first touchdown pass on the team's second offensive possession.
Last week against the 49ers, a defensive touchdown by John Simon was the lone score of the first half.
"I think just the results of what we did on offense tonight were certainly better than what we did in San Francisco," Osweiler said. "We were able to put some points on the board, we were able to get some first downs, and I think it really all stemmed from our defense and our special teams. They gave us some short fields, they made some big plays to really give us some momentum and then it was our job as a unit to take that momentum and try and turn it into points."
With the exception of an interception on his last drive, Osweiler and the receivers' chemistry was also improved. The pass, intended for Fuller, was picked off in the endzone as the Texans were driving down the field. Osweiler called it "the cardinal sin," committing a turnover in the red zone. The starting quarterback said he knew better, and promised to not make the same mistake again.
"I will certainly learn from that play and I'll make a better check next time in that situation," Osweiler said. "There's never a good time to have a play like that but the one thing that I've always said is that it's all about learning from your mistakes and making sure they don't happen a second time and that's going to be the case there."
The Texans won despite a significant number of starting players out on offense. The offensive line was without four of its five starters in the game, Duane Brown, Nick Martin, Derek Newton, and Jeff Allen.
"I think you have to watch the film on that, but it seems like there was probably some good and some not so good," O'Brien said. "Just happy that we came out with a win and I thought that our first teams were improved from last week, so that was probably a pretty good sign. Injuries, those things, that's pro football. The next guy has to step up."
The Texans improved to 2-0 on the preseason and will next host the Arizona Cardinals. Kickoff is set for Sunday at 3 p.m. CT.
Check out the best photos throughout #TexansGameday vs. the Saints.