After receiving to start the game, Drew Brees and the offense could only pick up one first down before punting the ball away. Brian Hoyer and his Texans took over and converted three 3rd down conversions on their way to an 11 play, 70 yard drive that was capped off on a 10 yard touchdown pass to Ryan Griffin to take the 7-0 lead.
After a three and out, New Orleans gave the ball right back to Houston with great field position at midfield. The Texans offense once again marched right down the field on a 7 play, 50 yard drive as Hoyer threw his second touchdown of the day, this one to Cecil Shorts III from 3 yards out to jump out to a quick 14-0 lead.
Once again, the Saints quickly went three and out and gave the ball right back to their opponents. This time, Dennis Allen’s unit stepped up. Jairus Byrd came up with his first interception as a Saint on an over-thrown pass, giving his team great field position just short of midfield. Brees and the offense went backwards again, despite picking up one first down, punting the ball right back to Houston. The defense stepped up again, though, forcing a three and out.
Starting inside of Houston territory, New Orleans was able to get down in to the red zone, but stalled out. Kai Forbath knocked through a 30 yard chip shot field goal to put the black and gold on the scoreboard at 14-3. The ensuing Texans drive resulted in another punt, which the Saints then converted in to a 57 yard field to make it 14-6 before half time.
Receiving to start the third quarter, Houston got back to the early success they had on their first two drives of the game. A six play, 80 yard drive was capped off by Alfred Blue on an 8 yard touchdown run to push the score back up to a two touchdown game at 21-6. The Saints offense remained stale, punting after just four plays and giving the ball back to Houston at their own 30 yard line. Hoyer drove his offense down in to the red zone, but for the first time in four tries, they failed to convert with a touchdown. Nick Novak booted a 34 yard field goal, his only of the day, to extend the lead to 24-6.
After a punt by each team, Brees and the offense finally put a good drive together early in the fourth quarter, but Kareem Jackson made a great interception on a pass intended for Brandin Cooks in the end zone, crushing any hopes that the Saints could mount a comeback. After a punt, New Orleans took over with 9:06 left in the game with what turned out to be their last chance to extend some very long streaks with a touchdown. Brees needed a touchdown pass to extend his streak of 45 straight games with a touchdown pass, while the team as a whole needed a touchdown to avoid their first ever game under Sean Payton without getting in to the end zone. Neither happened. They got close, but a 4th and 2 pass for Brandon Coleman fell to the ground in the end zone and New Orleans was set to lose their streaks and the game. Houston held on to the ball for the final 5:43 and the game ended with the final score, 24-6.
- Drew Brees – 25-44 / 228 yards / 0 TDs / 1 INT / 56.8% completions / 61.6 QB rating / 2 times sacked
- Mark Ingram – 9 carries / 52 yards / 5.8 yards per carry / 6 receptions / 45 yards
- Ben Watson – 4 receptions / 53 yards
- Willie Snead – 4 receptions / 50 yards
- Brandin Cooks – 5 receptions / 35 yards
- Marques Colston – 3 receptions / 38 yards
- Kenny Vaccaro – 13 tackles
- Stephone Anthony – 10 tackles / 1 tackle for loss
- Ramon Humber – 9 tackles
- Jairus Byrd – 7 tackles / 1 INT / 1 pass defended
- Cam Jordan – 4 tackles / 1 tackle for loss / 1 sack
- Kai Forbath – 2/2 FGs (30, 57)
- Brian Hoyer – 21/27 / 205 yards / 2 TDs / 1 INT / 77.7% completions / 107.6 QB rating
- Alfred Blue – 16 carries / 77 yards / 1 TD / 4.8 yards per carry
- Ryan Griffin – 4 receptions / 72 yards / 1 TD
- Nate Washington – 3 receptions / 43 yards
- DeAndre Hopkins – 5 receptions / 36 yards
- Cecil Shorts III – 3 receptions / 18 yards / 1 TD
- Johnathan Joseph – 7 tackles / 1 tackle for loss / 1 pass defended
- J.J. Watt – 5 tackles / 2 tackles for loss / 2 sacks
- Quintin Demps – 5 tackles / 1 pass defended
- Kareem Jackson – 4 tackles / 1 tackle for loss / 1 INT / 1 pass defended
- Nick Novak – 3/3 XPs, 1/1 FGs (34)
- Total yards: Saints-268, Texans-362
- Pass yards: Saints-218, Texans-195
- Rush yards: Saints-50, Texans-167
- 1st downs: Saints-14, Texans-23
- 3rd down conversions: Saints-3/12 (25%), Texans-6/13 (46%)
- Red zone TD conversions: Saints-0/3 (0%), Texans-3/4 (75%)
- Turnovers: Saints-1, Texans-1
- Points off turnovers: Saints-0, Texans-0
- Penalties: Saints- 10/82, Texans-6/40
- Possession: Saints-36:23, Texans-23:37
The New Orleans Saints (4-7) will return home to welcome the undefeated Carolina Panthers (11-0) next Sunday. The game was originally scheduled for noon, but has since been flexed to 3:25 pm central on Fox in their “America’s Game of the Week” slot. Carolina is thriving in all facets of the game and will surely present the toughest match-up that New Orleans has seen so far this season. No one, probably including Carolina themselves, knew just how good they were when the two teams faced off way back in Week 3, when Luke McCown nearly led the Saints to a comeback victory on the road. With a win, the Panthers will clinch the NFC South with four weeks left in the season.
The ugly season continues, but as always…Who Dat?!