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Game Recap: Texans defeat Saints 17-13 in preseason finale



After the Saints won the coin toss and elected to receive, Ka'imi Fairbairn and the Texans kicked off to start the game, and good coverage had the Saints starting the possession on their own 15-yard line. From there, the Texans defense yielded a pair of first downs before stiffening up. Safety Jalen Pitre corralled running back Kendre Miller for a loss of one at the 50-yard line, and a play later on 3rd-and-5, cornerback Desmond King broke up a Jameis Winston pass intended for Jimmy Graham.

New Orleans' ensuing punt went into the end zone, and the Texans offense started its first possession at its own 20-yard line with 12:04 remaining in the opening quarter.

Dameon Pierce picked up three yards on a run to the right side, but the next two C.J. Stroud passes were caught just out of bounds by Nico Collins and then Robert Woods.

Ty Zenter, punting in place of an injured Cam Johnston, boomed a 52-yarder to the New Orleans' 25-yard line, and it was returned for six yards. The Saints offense began its second drive at the 31-yard line with 11:02 left in the first quarter.

The Texans defense forced a 3-and-out, as Winston fired incomplete on a trio of pass attempts.

Tank Dell pulled in the Saints punt at the Houston 30-yard line, started right, reversed field to the left side and zipped 27-yards off before getting dropped at the New Orleans' 43-yard line with 10:34 left in the first quarter.

That Dell return set the Texans up nicely, and the offense took advantage.

Stroud handed to Pierce for gains of two and six yards, and then found tight end Dalton Schultz on third down for a pickup of 13. On the next snap, Pierce broke free into the New Orleans secondary for a gain of 13, and then gained six on the next play.

Facing a 2nd-and-Goal at the 3-yard line, Stroud zipped a touchdown pass to the left side to Nico Collins. It was his first scoring strike of the preseason, and Ka'imi Fairbairn's extra point try was successful. The Texans led, 7-0, with 7:17 remaining in the first quarter.

The Texans defense answered with another 3-and-out, and after the New Orleans punt, Davis Mills entered at quarterback.

The offense stalled, punted after three plays, and the Saints offense went to work. A 25-yard completion to tight end Jimmy Graham up the right side, followed by a Miller run of four yards staked New Orleans to a 2nd-and-6 at the Texans' 7-yard line when the quarter ended.

The Texans led, 7-0, going into the second quarter.


On the next play, Winston found Graham in the endzone on a three-yard touchdown pass. The Saints and Texans were tied 7-7 with 14:20 left in the second quarter.

Rookie Jake Haener took over at quarterback for the Saints on their next possession, but the Texans defense forced a three-and-out on his opening series.

On fourth-and-1, Desmond King sacked Haener for a loss of three yards. Houston's offense took over at the New Orleans 47-yard line. Mills started the drive with a 16-yard completion to rookie WR Xavier Hutchinson. On third-and-6, Devin Singletary caught a short pass to for seven yards to get Houston to first-and-goal territory. Ka'imi Fairbairn kicked a 28-yard field goal to give the Texans a 10-7 lead with 1:49 left in the first half.

Following a stop by their defense on the next Saints possession, Houston held onto its 10-7 lead heading into halftime.


New Orleans began the third quarter by blasting the kickoff deep into the end zone for a touchback.

Mills and the offense came back on the field and quickly picked up a first down with an 11-yard completion to running back Mike Boone.

Boone then carried for two yards and four yards, and on 3rd-and-4 Mills fired incomplete deep to the right side on a pass intended for rookie receiver Xavier Hutchinson.

Zentner skied a 43-yard punt that was fair caught by the Saints at their own 15-yard line. It was the second of Zentner's five punts on the night that was downed inside the New Orleans 20-yard line.

Twice on third down during the ensuing drive, the Saints came up with first downs to move the chains. But the Texans defense stopped a New Orleans run on third down, and the Saints tied the game at 10-apiece with a 38-yard Blake Grupe field goal. In all, the drive went 65 yards on 12 plays, and burned 6:28 off the game clock.

On the next Texans' possession, E.J. Perry entered at quarterback. His first pass fell incomplete, but Boone then motored for a 21-yard gain to the right. That run gave the Texans a fresh set of downs at their own 47-yard line. A few plays later on 3rd-and-6, Perry found Adam Humphries for a gain of seven yards and a first down.

On a 3rd-and-3 later in the drive, Perry went deep to the right side for Hutchinson, and the rookie came down with the ball and a gain of 24 yards. The next play saw a dazzling 11-yard scoring run by Boone. He carried up the middle, broke some tackles, was spun around and still managed to get into the end zone.

On the drive, which went 74 yards on nine plays and lasted 4:04, Boone carried thrice 36 yards and caught a pair of passes for seven yards.

Houston's defense gave up a 3-yard run, and then forced a pair of incompletions. The Saints punted back to the Texans.

Perry and company then answered with a 3-and-out of their own, and the third quarter ended with Houston on top, 17-10.


Haener completed a 31-yard pass to TE Lucas Krull but was sacked on the following play by Texans DT Khalil Davis. The Saints would settle for a 50-yard field goal to end the drive. New Orleans trailed 17-13 with 9:03 left in the fourth quarter.

DL Adedayo Odeleye had a tackle for a loss of five yards to start the Saints next offensive series. On fourth-and-15, the Saints opted to kick a 60-yard field goal, but rookie Blake Grupe's kick was no good and the Texans took over at their own 42-yard line.

The Texans defense would end the next two Saints drives with back-to-back interceptions to finish the game.

At the two-minute warning, Haener's deep pass to Krull was intercepted by Texans DB Grayland Arnold in the endzone, resulting in the first turnover of the game. The Saints final possession of the game ended in another interception. CB Cameron Dantzler, who signed with Houston on Aug. 22, picked off Haener on his final pass of the game. The Texans sealed their final preseason game with a 17-13 win in New Orleans.

Next up for the Texans is a September 10 opening week showdown at Baltimore, then the home opener at NRG Stadium on September 17 against Anthony Richardson and the Colts.

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