DeMeco Ryans and the Texans' offensive playmakers were quick to praise the offensive line after Sunday night's preseason win at New Orleans.
C.J. Stroud looked crisp on the Texans' first scoring drive, and the run game was able to rumble for 131 yards on 31 carries in the 17-13 triumph at the Caesars Superdome.
Left to right up front, Laremy Tunsil, Michael Deiter, Juice Scruggs, Shaq Mason and George Fant started and led the way for the Texans offense.
The rookie quarterback guided Houston on a crisp 6-play, 43-yard drive in the first quarter that ended with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Nico Collins. The head coach pointed the finger squarely at the blocking up front as one of the key reasons for Stroud's success.
"He can't do that without the offensive line up front," Ryans said. "They deserve the credit. He had the time to make those throws. Credit to the offensive line. They did a really good job of protecting him. That's what we want up front and it all starts there. Happy with those guys tonight."
Stroud, who was officially named the Week 1 starter, completed two of the four passes he threw for 16 yards. He agreed with Ryans about the o-line's impact.
"Oh, it's been amazing," Ryans said. "It feels good to have some time back there to really try to pick apart defenses. I think we got a good rhythm and we've just got to try to keep that going in Week 1."
On that touchdown drive, running back Dameon Pierce carried four times for 27 yards. He finished with five carries or 30 yards, and explained what the line did so well on Sunday.
"When they're moving guys that far across the ball, running with that intent off the ball, when they get to those targets in the run game, that makes my job easier," Pierce said.
Running back Mike Boone scored the Texans' other touchdown with an 11-yard scamper in the third quarter. He finished the evening with seven carries for 51 yards.
"The offensive line, they got on blocks early and often," Boone said. "They opened up holes for us. The rest is easy for us. When they give us a lane, we just do what we do, what got us here. Big credit to those guys. Those guys were blocking good downfield."
The Texans will trim the roster from 90 players to 53 over the next couple days. Their first game of the regular season is at Baltimore on September 10.