Reporting Will Grubb
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Houston (CBS Houston) - Arian Foster has yet to play this preseason and with Ben Tate heading into a contract year, many expected him to take advantage of a larger preseason role. In the Texans 31-23 loss to the Saints Tate did exactly that.
He shouldered the load of the Texans first quarter 9 play, 69 yard scoring drive to put the Texans on the board 7-0. On that drive he broke a 39-yard run but more importantly, helped the Texans finish it off in the red-zone with a one-yard touchdown run. Tate finished with 11 carries for 74 yards and an average 6.7 yards per rush.
Randy Bullock added another 3 points from 48-yards on the ensuing drive giving the Texans a 10-0 lead.
The Saints responded with lightning quickness needing just three plays to go 80 yards. Drew Brees tossed a 51-yard touchdown to Pierre Thomas. It was a play that should have been stopped for a short game but the newly signed Joe Mays was unable to wrap up.
The Texans and Saints then both traded field goals, including an impressive 55-yarder from Randy Bullock, leaving the Texans up 13-10 with 3:44 left to go in the second quarter.
“For the 55 yarder I didn’t feel like I hit it as hard as I could have but I still had plenty of leg.” said Bullock.
The Texans defense struggled on the next drive allowing the Saints to march 87 yards in just two minutes. Rookie Kenny Stills worked over Johnathan Joseph in embarrassing fashion for the touchdown giving the Saints a 17-13 lead.
“It was just a double move,” said Joseph. “It’s one of those situations where you kinda… you learn from it.”
Matt Schaub’s final drive of the game came to close out the first half. The Texans were able to advance the ball to the redzone but settled for a field goal as time expired finishing the half down 17-16.
Schaub finished 15 for 26 with 213 yards. As usual his favorite target was Andre Johnson. He tallied 8 receptions for 131 yards in one half of football. Not bad.
“I was given a lot of opportunities in the first half of the game and I just did what I could with them.” said Johnson.
The Saints and Luke McCown waltzed down the field to open the second half half giving the Saints a 24-16 lead. T.J. Yates was up next for the Texans, Kubiak sat his starters for the entire second half. With Yates under center the Texans were able to pull within one after a Yates to Alec Lemon 11-yard touchdown pass brought the score to 24-23 Saints.
The Saints added one more scoring drive, capped off by a nice catch from 15 yards for Andy Tanner to take a final 31-23 lead.
Case Keenum finally got an opportunity to play in the 4th quarter. He took the Texans down inside the Saints 20 yard line before stalling out and turning the ball over on downs. Keenum finished 10-14 for 79 yards.