After a 27-24 loss to the New England Patriots in Foxboro, Ma. on Thursday, the New Orleans Saints (0-1) will host the Houston Texans (0-1) on Saturday in the Louisiana Superdome to open their home preseason slate.
New Orleans and Houston will be familiar with each other by kickoff on Saturday after they participated in three joint practices at the Saints training facility in Metairie, La. on Wednesday and Thursday. The two clubs have run joint practices for the past three preseasons and have faced each other in three exhibitions, with the Texans leading the series, 2-1.
New Orleans looks to rebound from Thursday's loss to the Patriots, while Houston fell to the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, Az. 19-16 on Saturday.
While the Saints struggled initially against New England, trailing 10-0 after the first quarter, the New Orleans starting offense got on the scoreboard before going to the sideline for the evening, when RB Reggie Bush scored on a two-yard touchdown run, capping a 20 play, 86 yards drive.
Trailing 24-7 in the third quarter, New Orleans tied the contest with 17 unanswered points, as New England barely escaped after kicking field goal with less than a minute remaining in the contest.The game also featured several notable individual performances by starters, as well as by others looking to earn a roster spots.
Saints signal callers completed two thirds of their passes altogether on the evening. QB Drew Brees completed 9-of-13 passes in his first live action since Super Bowl XLIV. Patrick Ramsey, in his Saints debut, executed on 7-of-11 throws, including a 51-yard toss to WR Adrian Arrington. Chase Daniel, in his first live game action as a Saint, completed six-of-nine throws.
Four Saints running backs combined for 104 yards rushing on 28 carries combined. Bush and Pierre Thomas combined for 44 yards on the ground in limited action in the first half, while Thomas tied for the team lead in catches with four grabs for 26 yards. Reserves P.J. Hill and Chris Ivory, competing for an extended role following an ACL injury to Lynell Hamilton, rushed for 30 yards apiece, with Ivory scoring on a two-yard run.
Third-year wide receiver Adrian Arrington paced the passing game with four receptions for a club-high 87 yards, including a 51-yard catch. TE Jeremy Shockey had three receptions for 23 yards with the first unit.
Defensively, LB Jonathan Casillas led the Saints with ten solo tackles, three which were for a loss and also had one sack. DT DeMario Pressley, competing for a spot in New Orleans' defensive line rotation had one sack and another takedown negated by a penalty.
There were bright spots on special teams as well. With New Orleans down 24-7 following a New England touchdown, WR Larry Beavers returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. After P Thomas Morstead was forced to leave the game with a shoulder injury in the first quarter, K Garrett Hartley handled punting duties in addition to kickoffs, field goals and extra points, booting the ball five times for a 47.0 gross average.