The New Orleans Saints fall to the Houston Texans in the second week of NFL preseason action, due to offensive struggles and turnovers.
HOUSTON, TX. — The Saints were hoping to put on a better performance in Houston than the prior week against the Patriots — let’s just say — that didn’t happen.
Saturday marked the second straight loss of the preseason for the Saints and seventh straight dating back to August of 2014. The offensive line couldn’t block a soul which caused the running backs and quarterbacks to have horrible nights (for the most part), and Marcus Murphy still hasn’t fixed his fumbling issues. Oh yeah, did I mention that all of this occurred without the Texans having JJ Watt on the field? Well, it did.
The Texans elected to receive the opening kickoff which gave the Saints’ first-team defense a chance to prove that last week’s strong performance wasn’t just a fluke — they did just that. The defense forced three stops in a row, in which one of the plays included a pass-break-up by second-year star cornerback Delvin Breaux on a ball that was intended for DeAndre Hopkins.
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Here’s where it gets ugly:
After a beautiful three-and-out forced by the defense, the Texans elected to punt, and back to field it for the Saints was second-year RB/KR Marcus Murphy. Judging by his track record, i’m sure you know what happens next, but i’ll tell you anyway — he fumbled, and the Texans recovered.
They went on to score on a Brock Osweiler to rookie WR Will Fuller touchdown, in which PJ Williams was ‘beat’, but really it was more of him not locating the football.
Drew Brees finished the game 5-for-8 for 29 yards with one pick. The interception was due to a blatant missed call by the refs which saw Michael Thomas basically being bear-hugged and prevented him from being in the spot that he needed to be in.
Luke McCown went 14-for-19 with 188 yards, but it seemed like he was running for his life every play. I mean seriously, has McCown ever had to scramble that much in his entire NFL career?… He was the teams leading rusher with 25 yards.
Garrett Grayson played a-bit better than what his stats show — 4-for15 with 50 yards. After a Texans’ fumble, Grayson took over the offense in the red-zone but failed to score a touchdown, as RaShaun Allen couldn’t reel in a fairly catchable pass in the endzone. Grayson also had the chance to possibly bring the game to within an extra point but more drops and poor time-management negated that.
Number one and two WRs Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead sat out this game to presumably rest their bodies. This opened the door for some of the younger guys to step up and make a name for themselves. Rookie second-round pick Michael Thomas had a quiet night with just one catch for five yards. Brandon Coleman, who according to Sean Payton, has been ‘pedestrian’ throughout camp, recorded six receptions for 47 yards. TommyLee Lewis, who saw a lot of reps at kick/punt returner due to Murphy’s issues, had two grabs for 25 yards. Manhertz, Lampman, Harris, Fleener, Hill and Williams-Lambert all had at least one catch.
Not good. Not good at all.
2015 FIRST-ROUND — yes, I capitalized first-round — draft pick Andrus Peat continues to disappoint. Clowney, who hasn’t been the biggest success himself, straight up abused Peat. It was not pretty. Zach Strief also consistently got beat, but that’s nothing new. Armstead made his return but was limited.
Due to the poor offensive line play, the running-backs averaged just 3.2 yards per carry. McCown and Grayson both had big yardage runs, so that number would be way lower if not for that. Ingram couldn’t find a hole to run through. Spiller and Lasco had some decent plays but nothing to noteworthy. We didn’t see Tim Hightower in this game for unknown reasons.
The defense has looked really good these past two weeks. They’re getting lined-up much quicker, hustling and tackling more efficiently. Second-year cornerback PJ Williams got beat for a score early but bounced back in strong fashion that included a interception off of Brock Osweiler in the Texans’ end-zone. Crawley and Harris continue to impress — they both should make the team now that Kennan Lewis has been released. Nick Fairley has looked phenomenal throughout camp and preseason so far which is huge since the news broke that first-round pick Sheldon Rankins suffered a broken fibula. Rookie Vonn Bell had a team-high seven tackles and also recorded a sack.
Overall, it’s just weird to see the Saints struggle so much on offense. I know, its “just preseason,” but even Sean Payton admitted after the game that this was “as bad as we’ve been in a while.”