The New Orleans Saints are tied with the host Houston Texans 10-10 after one half of play in their preseason opener.
Houston started with the ball but immediately went three-and-out, giving Saints fans their first look at Andy Dalton in black and gold. Starting quarterback Jameis Winston missed the game while recovering from a foot injury. Dalton looked sharp on his first and only drive, completing all five pass attempts for 51 yards and a touchdown pass to running back Dwayne Washington.
Washington got the starting nod at running back with Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram II sitting out and totaled nine carries for 19 yards and three receptions for 18 yards and the receiving touchdown. Tony Jones Jr. came in as the second running behind Washington in the second quarter, finishing with six carries for 21 yards and one catch for 13 yards.
The touchdown pass from Dalton to Washington was the first time the Saints scored on their first offensive drive of a preseason game since the 2012 Hall of Fame Game against the Arizona Cardinals, when Mark Ingram scored a one-yard rushing touchdown.
Meanwhile, the starting wide receiver group featured Marquez Callaway, Tre'Quan Smith and Chris Olave with Jarvis Landry and Michael Thomas sitting out. Smith caught one pass for 15 yards, while Callaway added one catch for 19 yards. The rookie first-round pick Olave caught his first NFL pass from Ian Book on a four-yard reception.
Book took over for Dalton for the remainder of the first half after the opening drive. He completed four of six passes for 25 yards, with an interception and a lost fumble.
On the other side of the ball, the New Orleans defense pitched a nearly flawless first quarter, not allowing a single first down and just 33 total yards of offense. Even without defenders Marcus Davenport, Cam Jordan, David Onyemata, Alontae Taylor, Pete Werner, Zack Baun and Tyrann Mathieu, the Saints allowed just three points in the opening quarter of play.
New Orleans allowed its first touchdown of the preseason early in the second quarter on a pass from Jeff Driskel to Jalen Camp. The Saints also recorded their first forced turnover in the second quarter, as linebacker Chase Hansen picked off a deflected pass from Driskel with 5:54 remaining in the first half.
The Saints will receive the ball to start the second half.
Head inside the New Orleans Saints locker room as jerseys, helmets, and more are set for 2022 Preseason Week 1 against Houston Texans.