Every-Thing Sports

Saints vs. Texans: Good, Bad & Ugly

Photo by New Orleans Saints/Facebook

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:

The Good

-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.

The Bad

-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.

The Ugly

-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.

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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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