The New Orleans Saints fell to the Houston Texans 20-13 inside NRG Stadium on Sunday afternoon in Houston. The loss moves New Orleans back to even .500 at 3-3 heading into a short week in which they play on Thursday night.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
The Texans received the ball first, putting rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud on the field. They moved the ball, but eventually the Saints defense was able to force a stop and gain possession for the offense.
Derek Carr and the offense had a similar result, driving down the field but then stalling out. Blake Grupe attempted a 51-yard field goal, but was unsuccessful, giving the Texans good field position.
On the ensuing Houston drive, Zack Baun intercepted Stroud, ending the long interception-free streak to start the rookie’s career. However, Baun fumbled on the interception return and the Texans got the ball back essentially where they started the play. They were then able to navigate the drive down the field and score a touchdown on a pass to Dalton Schultz, making it 7-0 Texans.
The New Orleans offense had an answer in store. Carr and company went nine plays and 75 yards, capped off by a 34-yard strike to Rashid Shaheed to tie the game at 7. The touchdown to Shaheed came on 3rd and 7.
The Texans offense answered with another good drive, extended by an excellent throw and catch on third down from Stroud to Nico Collins. The Saints defense stiffened in the red zone and forced a 24-yard field goal try from Ka’imi Fairbairn. The try was good, giving Houston a 10-7 lead.
The Saints offense failed to get anything going, and that put the ball back in the hands of Stroud and the Houston offense, which had found a rhythm at this point. He led them on a 10 play, 65 yard drive that ended with a touchdown to Robert Woods and made it 17-7 Texans.
Before the half, Carr led the offense down the field in an effort to get points before the break. The drive eventually was stopped, but Grupe nailed a 48-yarder to make it a 17-10 deficit at the intermission for the Saints.
The Saints were unable to use the last drive of the first half as any sort of momentum in the second. They had no answers early, and the second empty drive gave the Texans great field position. A goal like stand is the only thing that saved the drive, with a Fairbairn 22-yard chip shot extending the lead for Houston to 20-10.
The next drive gave the Saints hope, as they drove 10 plays and 48 yards into Texan territory. Penalties and sacks derailed the effort, and a 45 yard field goal is all they could salvage, making it 20-13.
After another defensive stop and a promising Saints’ drive stalled once again, Grupe missed a 29-yard chip shot to leave the deficit at 7 and hurt the Saints’ chances greatly. It was the same story on the next possession. Another stop, but the offense failed inside the red zone and could not convert a 4th and 4 and turned the ball over.
The Saints’ defense would make one last stand, giving Carr and the offense the ball down by seven with just over two and a half minutes left. However, much like throughout the day, the Saints could not get it done in scoring territory. Carr’s pass was intercepted to seal the game.
BIG NUMBER: 430
The Saints had 430 yards of offense. However, it only led to 13 points, as the red zone offense was inept in this one.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Nico Collins
The Texans’ receiver stepped up with rookie Tank Dell out. He ended up with four catches for 80 yards on the day.
UP NEXT: The Saints will not have much time to think about this one. They host the Jacksonville Jaguars at home inside the Caesars Superdome on Thursday, October 19th at 7:15 P.M.