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Williams, defense show up big


The marquee said it was Mario Williams vs. Reggie Bush. The Texans' defense decided to get into the act, too.

Williams, the first pick in last year's NFL draft, got his career-best fifth sack of the season and contributed six total tackles.

The rest of the defense chipped in with three turnovers and big plays all over the field and held Bush, the second pick a year ago, to 34 yards rushing and 70 yards receiving as the Texans beat the Saints 23-10.

"It was all about Reggie Bush," cornerback Von Hutchins said. "Everybody loved Bush. He's a finesse player, a great player with a lot of respect around this league, so our front seven put it on their shoulders that he's not going to show us up today. They did a great job."

Instead, the Texans' defense, playing without star cornerback Dunta Robinson, showed up big.

Hutchins, who switched from safety to cornerback, was a big part of holding down the Saints' offense, which had been effective in winning four of its previous five games. Hutchins got one of two interceptions off Drew Brees.

{QUOTE}C.C. Brown recovered a fumble by Bush in the first quarter and linebacker Morlon Greenwood intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter that set up a 53-yard field goal by Kris Brown.

Rookie Fred Bennett, starting his second NFL game, made a big play on fourth down with 7:21 to play that stopped one of the Saints' final drives at the Houston 43.

"I just made a play," Bennett said. "The team needed a play, so I made a play. I put it on my shoulders. It was fourth-and-two or whatever, so I said I'm going to make the play."

The Saints' 10 points equaled a season low they scored in a 41-10 season-opening loss to Indianapolis.

And Williams impressed his defensive line mate, tackle Travis Johnson.

"Mario was out there in a whole other world," Johnson said. "He was in Super Mario World. Up up, down down, left, right, B A, B A, you know what I mean? He was playing original Super Mario, just enjoying himself."

The Texans had a week off to get ready for the Saints. They had a lot of changes to make after Robinson was lost for the season with a knee injury. After Hutchins moved from safety to corner, Will Demps stepped up the depth chart at safety.

"We were hungry and ready for the challenge," Demps said. "The media wrote us off. The challenge was there, guys being undrafted, who's playing corner, safety and nickel? We didn't buy into that. We were just happy to go out there and make plays."

Williams got a cheer from the home fans when he tackled Bush in the first quarter. It was the first time the two players met in a game since they were the first and second picks in last year's draft.

"To me, we're playing the Saints, we're not playing one person," Williams said. "Obviously, he's part of the team and we've got to stop the run before we get to the pass and things like that."

The Texans were more worried about Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

"The whole emphasis has been basically on Drew," Williams said. "When he's hot, he's hot. So we had to stop the run and keep us in the game. It wasn't like we were sitting there playing Reggie."

Bush acknowledged the Texans' defense and Williams.

"They did a good job today getting penetration with their D-linemen and really just creating havoc for us within the running game and not giving us a chance to get started," Bush said.

And Williams?

"He did a good job," Bush said. "The whole defense did a good job and I wasn't really worried about one guy. At the end of the day, there are 11 guys on that defense and that's what we needed to focus on, not just one guy.

"Other than that, the defense, you've got to give them credit. They stopped us."

Bush had an 11-yard run and caught an 11-yard pass. Those were his longest gains of the day.

Williams is feeling good after getting through last season and getting past the meeting with Bush.

"I'm just getting comfortable," Williams said. "Everything I went through last year, it couldn't get any worse."

Williams got a big pat on the back from coach Gary Kubiak.

"I'm so proud of him," Kubiak said. "I just stopped by his locker on my way over here (to the team auditorium). I think today is probably as good as he's played since he's been here. He's consistent. He's been getting a lot of respect around the league and from his teammates and should only get better."

Kubiak liked the entire defensive effort.

"I think we won some one-on-ones," Kubiak said. "Drew is going to get rid of the football. He's not going to hold the ball. He's the least sacked guy in the league. What I told them is, 'Let's come out and see if we can disrupt him. We don't have to sack him. Let's disrupt him, let's get our hands up, let's bat a few balls.' I think that's what we accomplished."

Linebacker DeMeco Ryans said the Texans' defense went quietly about its business after losing Robinson.

"Everybody knew that in the back of their minds, but nothing was said about it," Ryans said. "We kind of just let that slide and everybody knew that the corners had to step up and make plays. The safeties knew they had to make plays and all those guys did that today.

"Collectively, they stepped up and took over for Dunta."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Michael A. Lutz worked for The Associated Press for 38 years covering news and sports in Louisville, Ky. Dallas and Houston. Most of that time was spent in Houston covering the Oilers, Astros, Texans and other college and pro sports.

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