The New Orleans Saints opened the 2022 preseason schedule in Houston as they took on the Texans. The now Dennis Allen-led Black and Gold dropped preseason game number one as the defense gave up a late touchdown and fell 17-13.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
The defense of the Saints picked up right where they left off as they got a three-and-out. Linebacker Chase Hansen blew up the run play on first down with second-year cornerback Paulson Adebo had secure tackles on second and third and long.
The New Orleans offense came out with veteran quarterback Andy Dalton under center as Jameis Winston was out with a foot injury. Dalton was perfect in his lone drive as he hit four different receivers, including a nine-yard touchdown pass to running back Dwayne Washington.
Following a second short drive from the Texans, second-year signal-caller Ian Book came in. The drive nearly ended right away as Washington fumbled on a hand-off, but was recovered by the offense. Book completed his first pass to Chris Olave, but three plays later, he was intercepted as his pass was too high.
The defense stood tall once again for the Saints as they only gave up three points on a 49-yard Ka’imi Fairbairn field goal. Book the next drive bobbled the under-center snap and the ball was recovered by the Texans.
Houston found themselves in the red zone early in their possession on a 20-yard run by running back Dameon Pierce. On 1st & GOAL, backup quarterback Jeff Driskel connected with wide receiver Jalen Camp on a fade route in the endzone. The Texans now led 10-7 with 11:50 left in the second quarter.
At the 5:54 mark, Hansen intercepted Driskel and returned it 44 yards to the Houston 42-yard line. New Orleans drove down the field, but Tre’Quan Smith couldn’t corral a potential touchdown catch on 3rd & GOAL and settled for a chip shot by kicker Wil Lutz to tie the game with under two minutes to go in the first half.
New Orleans started with the ball in the second half, but both teams would punt after neither could get anything going.
On the Saints’ third possession of the third quarter, Dai’Jean Dixon came up with a couple of catches to extend the drive, including a 17-yard catch on 3rd & 13, but would still punt back to the Texans after a Book incompletion on the next third down.
At the 1:34 mark of the third quarter, the defense came up big for New Orleans again as safety Justin Evans picked off Driskel’s tipped deep pass near midfield.
Off the pick, the Saints drove into the red zone but would have to settle for a John Parker Romo 36-yard field goal and took the 13-10 lead with 12:26 left to go in the game.
After a Texans punt, Book got into a rhythm as he completed the first five passes of the drive and got deep in Houston’s territory, but Abram Smith fumbled at the one-yard line, and Texans defender Fabian Moreau scooped up the loose ball.
New Orleans would get the ball right back after corner Brian Allen picked off Driskel on another deep shot. The offense couldn’t extend the lead or bleed the clock out and Driskel led a late-game comeback as he connected with Jaleel Johnson for the six-yard game-winning touchdown with 25 seconds left in the game. Houston won 17-13.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Jeff Driskel
Even though he threw three interceptions, Driskel led the game-winning drive with under 30 seconds to play.
BIG NUMBER: 165
Driskel’s 165 yards and two touchdowns were what elevated Houston over New Orleans in Saturday’s 17-13 win.
UP NEXT: Saints (0-1) will head up to Green Bay to play preseason game number two against the Packers (0-1) on Friday, August 19th. The kickoff will be at 7:00.