Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints came from behind to defeat Matt Schaub and the Houston Texans 40-33, in what was a very physical offensive shootout.
In a game in which the Texans moved the ball with relative ease in the first half, Gregg Williams’ bunch tightened the noose in the 4th quarter and made enough plays to hold on for the win
The Saints first quarter woes continued, being out scored 38-10 thus far this season, and Coach Sean Payton and crew trailed 10-0 entering the second period.
The Texans had the Saints defense on its heels for much of the afternoon, adding 6 points on two Neil Rackers feild goals, but their inability to score touchdowns in the red zone would prove to be costly as Darren Sporles and the New Orleans offense closed the gap to 16-10 by halftime.
Spoles scored on a 30 yard scamper to the endzone, and Saints kicker John Kasay added 3 more on a 35 yard kick with 3:18 remaining in the half.
After receiving the 2nd half kickoff, Drew Brees led the Saints on a 8 play 68 yard drive before finding wide receiver Robert Meachem open in the end zone to give the Saints their first lead of the day 17-16.
The lead wouldn’t last for long as Matt Schaub once again began his methodical dissection of the Saints secondary, moving the ball down to the New Orleans 17 before an incomplete pass on 3rd down forced the Texans to settle for 3 once again.
On the ensuing drive, Brees would throw his second interception of the day, giving the Texans possession at the Saints 42. It would only take four plays for Schaub to find tight-end Casey in the end zone for a 26 yard score , putting the Texans ahead 26-17 as the 4th quarter began.
Both teams were unable to move the ball on their next drives and the Saints would take over at the Houston 49 after a short punt by Houston punter Brett Hartman.
Drew Brees took adavantage of the good field position, completing passes of 10 and 9 yards to Sproles before hitting tight-end Jimmy Graham in the end zone for a 27 yard score.
Jabari Greer intercepted a short pass by Schaub at the Houston 47 on the following drive, and the Saints once again found themselves in scoring position and a chance to take the lead.
Brees completed his first four passes of the drive moving the offense down to the Texan 16. On 3 and 6, Lance Moore hauled in Brees’ 3rd touchdown pass of the afternoon, putting the Saints ahead once again. After a successful two point conversion, the Saints led 32-26.
Matt Schaub and the Texans battled back, driving 80 yards in 9 plays, finding pay dirt when a tipped ball found it’s way into the hands of Houston wide receiver Kevin Walter, and he tiptoed into the endzone to give the Texans a 1 point lead with just over 4 minutes left to play.
In what has become typical of a Drew Brees led team, the Saints determination to overcome prevailed once again.
Brees went to work, completing passes of 15, 13 and 11 yards moving the Saints down the field in chunks.
On 3rd and 10 from the New Orleans 46, Brees connected with Graham for 28 yards to the Houston 26. Following a half the distance personal foul on the Texans, the Saints had the ball 1st and 10 at the Houston 13 yard line.
On the following play, first round draft pick Mark Ingram would give the saints the lead for good when he bulldozed his way into the end zone, taking a slew of would be tacklers and the Texans’ hopes and dreams with him.
Brees and Moore hooked up to convert on their second two point try of the day, and the Saints never looked back, holding on for a 40-33 victory.
The Saints travel to Jacksonville to face the Jaguars next week, while the Texans face Pittsburgh at home.
NFC South Scores
Saints 40 Texans 33 Final
Panthers 16 Jaguars 10 Final
Falcons 13 Buccaneers 16 Final