Saints vs. Texans: Good, Bad & Ugly
The Saints got more of a game than what they are used to in prime time at home in a stunning 30-28 win over the Texans. This game encompassed a lot of what football fans love about the game: defensive plays, hard runs, great pass plays, lots of offense, and a game winning play as time expired! Here's how I saw it play out:
-Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson held his own against Saints quarterback Drew Brees. It was very exciting to watch one of the game's up and coming stars face off against a future Hall of Famer at the game's premier position. Watson totaled 274 total yards and four touchdowns to Brees' 362 yards and two touchdowns. Contrasts of styles make fights and this was a classic!
-For as much potential as both teams have for creating turnovers with pass rushers like the Texans' JJ Watt and Saints' Cam Jordan, the two teams combined for only two turnovers. They also combined for 924 total yards of offense and 58 points scored. Both offenses and defenses came to play and the better team ultimately won.
-Saints kicker Will Lutz won the game on a 58-yard field goal as time expired. He recently signed a 5 year/$20.25million dollar extension this offseason and earned every penny with his game winner. Lutz has been the offense's saving grace on several drives since coming to the team as an undrafted free agent the Saints picked up less than a week after the Ravens cut him in the 2016 offseason.
-Texans left tackle Laremy Tunsil's first true test came on 3rd&15 in the 1st quarter. Saints defensive end Cam Jordan beat him, Senio Kelmete, and Nick Martin on an inside move. Chemistry is big on the offensive line and they don't have it yet.
-Bill O'Brien called a timeout, then challenged the spot and lost on a 3rd & 9 play that made it 4th & 1. Not only did he lose a challenge, but consequently lost two first half timeouts. Deshaun Watson was able to convert the 4th & 1 and scored. Had O'Brien simply called that play, he could've saved the timeouts and challenge.
-328 of the 924 combined yards gained came on the ground. The Saints were missing their top three defensive tackles for various reasons, and the Texans traded their top run stuffer for some ramen noodles, malt liquor, and loose cigarettes. Needless to say, both run games had a field day.
-I try not to use the word "hate" much, but I HATE ESPN's yellow down graphic on the lower third! It changes after every down to show the down and distance. Always a great idea, but it makes you think there's a penalty coming. Poor choice by someone who makes big money to make these decisions.
-Watson went to the Texans' medical tent for a good amount of time after his touchdown run because he took a hit to one of his legs as he went airborne for the score. He also got sacked several times this game. He's too important to take unnecessary risks and to not be given better pocket protection.
-What kind of clock running fiasco did the refs pull on the Saints at the end of the first half? It cost them about 10-15 seconds and a chance to score before the half. The Texans' defense did a tremendous job keeping this high-powered offense in check as much as they could. The ESPN referee analyst (or whatever they're called these days) agreed that the call was wrong and they should've had more time on the clock given that they didn't challenge the ruling on the field. Helluva job by the Texans defense to hold this offense to "only" 30 points.
WOW! I thought the LSU/UT game was the game of the weekend when it came to football. However, the pro teams from the same respective states provided an even more exciting game and ending. As a life-long fan of one team, and a professional interest in the other, I have a unique perspective on both teams. I was impresed by both teams. Both teams have a lot to lok forward to this season. I can see both making deep playoff runs. Health will be a factor. But if it isn't, I can easily see both teams in a Super Bowl rematch...provided other outsode factors break their way.