Saints game review: vs. Texans
Marques Colston (Rogelio V. Solis/AP Photo)
Marques Colston (Rogelio V. Solis/AP Photo)
Saintsinsider.com Editor
Posted Aug 17, 2008
Matthew Postins


The New Orleans Saints lost to the Houston Texans, 31-27, on Saturday night of Week 2 of preseason action. Saintsinsider.com brings you the good — and the bad — performances from the loss in this exclusive piece.

THE GOOD

Drew Brees: The Saints QB looked like he was in midseason form, going 12-of-17 for 147 yards and 2 touchdowns. As always, coaches love to see a QB with no interceptions. Brees is easily looking like a guy who could have another 4,000-yard season.

Marques Colston: The WR didn’t play last week, but he caught one of Brees’ two touchdowns and caught 4 passes for 22 yards. No Saints WR had more receptions on Saturday night.

Deuce McAllister: Everyone in the building was encouraged by what they saw out of the Ole Miss product. He only carried the ball four times, but he had a robust 4.0-yard average. He also caught two passes for 10 yards. The Saints have been cautious with him, but I think next week’s game we’ll see McAllister really test those knees in earnest.

Lance Moore: The wide receiver battle is crowded right now but Moore did some things to separate himself. He caught 3 passes for 65 yards, including a 42-yard reception. He’s speedy enough to separate from corners and has the hands to catch deep passes. Consistency has been his only fault.

Orien Harris: With Hollis Thomas out for two months and Brian Young coming back slowly, the Saints could use a swing tackle-end to provide depth. Harris could be the guy. He led all Saints with six tackles on Saturday, and this was a week after netting five against Arizona. The guy’s proving he can play and is deserving of regular season PT.

THE BAD

The pass rush: No sacks. No flippin’ sacks? When did the Texans get an offensive line? That performance couldn’t have made DC Gary Gibbs the least bit happy. The Saints need a pass rush because …

The secondary: … if they don’t it leaves the secondary vulnerable, and Houston QB Matt Schaub took full advantage. He went 14-of-16 for 187 yards and two scores. The Saints didn’t manage an interception and Texans WR Kevin Walter put together a 100-yard game. With all the changes the Saints made defensively in the offseason, this simply could be a growth experience. But, if it’s a sign of things to come, the Saints could be involved in plenty of shootouts and that’s not the recipe HC Sean Payton wants.

Taylor Mehlhaff: The sixth-round pick attempted just an extra point on Saturday, while veteran Martin Gramatica was perfect on field goals and finished with eight points. It may simply be by design and Mehlhaff will get his reps next week (Mehlhaff did kick the Saints’ only field goal against Arizona). But the third preseason game is always considered the dress rehearsal game, so keep an eye on who kicks and their performance. It may give an indication of who will ultimately win the job.

Time of possession: In the NFL, you don’t win many games with just 24:36 in time of possession. You can blame the Saints’ third-down efficiency — 3-of-9. The Texans were 10-of-14.

Jason David: The corner gave up four receptions early in the game, and then gave up Walter’s TD pass. The Saints desperately need McKenzie to get healthy.

OTHER NOTES

The Saints run defense won’t get a lot of attention, but it did limit the Texans to 3.6 yards per carry. … The Saints averaged the same amount per play (6.6 yards) as the Texans on 11 fewer plays. … The Saints kicked off six times but had no touchbacks. Questions about the leg strength of Gramatica and Mehlhaff still linger. … The Saints were a plus-1 in turnovers and didn’t commit a miscue. … Perhaps the difference in the game was goal-to-go efficiency. The Texans were 2-of-2, while the Saints were 2-of-3. They settled for a 25-yard Gramatica field goal early in the contest. … Pierre Thomas carried the ball just one time for nine yards, but led the Saints in kickoff returns, returning four for 25 yards. … CB Tracy Porter had five tackles in his preseason debut. … CBs Mike McKenzie (knee) and S Josh Bullocks (knee) didn’t play, further depleting the Saints’ secondary. … WR Adrian Arrington (toe), TE Jeremy Shockey (leg), LB Mark Simoneau (back) and DT Hollis Thomas (triceps) also sat out. CB Randall Gay (triceps), DT Brian Young (foot) and CB Usama Young (hamstring) left the game with injuries.


Matthew Postins is the editor and publisher of saintsinsider.com.


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