Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Houston Texas
CHRON.COM; Best recap yet
All fact, no emotion.
BY THE QUARTERS
Key stat: Time of possession was dominated by the visitors - 10 minutes, 37 seconds for the Texans compared to 4 minutes, 23 seconds for the Saints.
Key player: Andre Johnson set the tone early, converting a 3rd-and-14 with a 15-yard reception in which he lowered his shoulder near the end to gain the final three or four yards.
Big play: Lined up in the backfield, fullback James Casey was ignored as he slipped out into the flat. The Saints sent an all-out blitz, and by the time they recovered, Casey had a 62-yard gain.
Key stat: Two trips to the red zone resulted in two field goals.
Key player: Neil Rackers did his job well Sunday - he made all four of his field goals, including both in the second quarter, and all three of his extra points.
Big play: Johnathan Joseph recorded his second interception of the season deep in New Orleans' territory midway through the quarter.
Key stat: Ben Tate entered Sunday as the league's No. 3 rusher. He had 80 yards after three quarters, averaging 5.0 yards per carry.
Key player: Danieal Manning was in the right place - where Brees couldn't see him, apparently - as he intercepted the Saints quarterback. It was his first as a Texan.
Big play: It definitely wasn't a penalty, but Kareem Jackson may still get a call from the league. His shot on Brees came after a four-yard gain, and it may have lit a fire under the quarterback.
Key stat: The Saints entered the final quarter with a total of 17 points, yet they scored 23 in the last 15 minutes of regulation.
Key player: Have to give credit where it's due - Drew Brees was masterful late, throwing for 163 of his 370 yards and two touchdowns in the last quarter.
Big play: Casey again - lined up wide, the fullback beat the coverage deep, leaping late for a 26-yard touchdown that Schaub threw perfectly. It gave the Texans a 26-17 lead.
BY THE NUMBERS
1 - NFL carries for James Casey, who rumbled for 11 yards on a third-quarter pitch
2-1 - Texans' record when winning the time of possession battle, the same as their overall record
5 - Times two Texans have eclipsed 100 receiving yards in the same game - Andre Johnson (128) and James Casey (126)
20 - Touchdown passes hauled in by Kevin Walter as a Texan, after his fourth-quarter miracle
35 - All-time rank established by Andre Johnson in receptions; he now has 694, and he passed Terrance Mathis (689)
62 - James Casey's first-quarter reception was a career best and also the longest offensive play for the Texans this season
74 - Consecutive starts for right tackle Eric Winston
99.6 - Drew Brees' passer rating, in a win
103.9 - Matt Schaub's passer rating, in a loss
36 -- Neil Rackers' league-leading scoring total, tied with Calvin Johnson of Detroit
THREE GOOD THINGS, THREE BAD THINGS
1) The Texans wasted fullback James Casey's coming-out party. He was a vital part of the game plan because Kevin Walter (shoulder) and Jacoby Jones (knee) weren't 100 percent. Gary Kubiak needed another weapon, and Casey provided it with five catches for 126 yards (25.2 average) and a touchdown.
2) Last season, the Texans were notorious slow starters, but they got off to another fast start. This time, they scored a touchdown and kicked a field goal on their first two possessions for a 10-0 lead.
3) Cornerback Johnathan Joseph and free safety Danieal Manning intercepted Drew Brees and turned them into two scores – a Neil Rackers field goal and a James Casey touchdown reception.
1) The offense reached the red zone five times and scored one touchdown. That's a pathetic 20-percent success rate. Scoring touchdowns in the red zone was a problem at Miami, too.
2) When the Saints went to an empty backfield, rather than get pressure on quarterback Drew Brees, the defense looked confused, igniting a fourth-quarter collapse. Brees threw for 204 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. They scored touchdowns on three consecutive possessions and added two-point conversion passes after two of them.
3) With the exception of Neil Rackers being perfect on 4 field goal attempts, there was nothing special about the special teams. With 12:32 left in the game, the Texans led 26-17 and forced the Saints to punt. Rookie Brooks Reed was called for an illegal block, moving the field position to the 14. After three plays netted 1 yard, Brett Hartmann had a 34-yard punt that gave the Saints the ball at the Houston 49, setting the stage for the first of three consecutive touchdown drives.
THEY SAID IT
"An encouraging thing? Well, I guess we played well in a shootout. But today there's no column for playing well in a shootout. It's only wins and losses." – tight end Joel Dreessen when asked if there was any good to come out of the game.
"If we had gotten them off the field on third down, they wouldn't have been unstoppable. When you don't get them off the field on third down, that's what can happen. We have to go back to the drawing board and get the defense fixed." – DE Antonio Smith when asked if the Saints' offense was unstoppable in the fourth quarter.
"It's all about finishing, and we didn't finish. The fourth quarter is when good defenses step up, and we didn't do that today. When it was time to step up and stop them, we couldn't do it." – inside linebacker DeMeco Ryans on the defensive failures in the fourth quarter
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