Texans run game is starting to hit its stride.
"I thought we did a great job up front of running the ball," left tackle Duane Brown said. "We knew that was a point of emphasis, as always. We still have some things to clean up, penalties, turnovers, things like that we don't want to have going forward, but overall I thought it was a great effort."
With a quartet of backs, Houston rushed for over 100 yards for the second week in a row and controlled the clock with a season-high 36:23 time of possession.
"Running backs are running hard," Brown said. "Sometimes it's not always clean, but we're getting three or four yards when there is nothing there."
Alfred Blue, who scored his second touchdown in as many weeks, led the backs with 77 yards rushing and averaged a season-high 4.8 yards per carry. The second-year back is finding his rhythm, in his seventh start this year.
In his second career NFL game, rookie Akeem Hunt had just three carries, but added a big 12-yard gain on third-and-2 on the second series. It would set up a touchdown pass to Cecil Shorts III on the very next play.
"He's a smart guy so he came in here and he was able to pick up the system pretty quickly while he was on the practice squad," head coach Bill O'Brien said Monday. "Then we promoted him a couple weeks ago. He's got some speed."
Establishing the run has made Brian Hoyer's job easier, the quarterback said after the 24-6 win over the Saints.
"Today we started off with a long run for a first down, then we get moving, we get a few no-huddle plays and then really the second drive we hit a few big passes," Hoyer said. "I think it's just good when you get that rhythm and we have to do a better job of continuing to do what we did today and really start fast and get those positive plays. Then when you do get to third down it's third-and-2, third-and-4, it's not third-and-8, third-and-10. It's tough to convert in this league when it's that down and distance."
O'Brien and offensive coordinator George Godsey had a mix of run and pass plays (38 of 66 offensive plays were rushing plays) and wanted to spread the ball around against New Orleans. Between Blue, Hunt, Jonathan Grimes, Chris Polk, and even Shorts, the Texans rushed for a net 167 yards.
"We knew that they were probably going to try to double (DeAndre) Hopkins," O'Brien said. "Obviously we target Hopkins quite a bit. The other guys had to make plays versus man coverage. Whether it was Nate Washington, Cecil Shorts, Ryan Griffin, the backs, checking it down to Grimes and I thought Alfred Blue had a nice game. Chris Polk did a good job. C.J. Fiedorowicz. It was important to keep spreading it around."
The (6-5) Texans will travel to (5-6) Buffalo in Week 13. Kickoff is set for noon CT on CBS KHOU-11 and SportsRadio 610.
Check out some of the best action shots from Sunday's game against the Saints.