The Houston Texans are 2-0 after defeating the New Orleans Saints 16 – 9 in their second preseason game.
“I thought offensively, we definitely improved,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said. “I thought there were good things in the passing game. There’s some work to be done, but it was definitely better.”
Quarterback Brock Osweiler contributed 124 yards Saturday night completing 12 of 19 passes. Osweiler connected with rookie draft pick Will Fuller for a 19 yard touchdown pass for the early 7-0 lead. “(Fuller) just did a tremendous job at the line of scrimmage, the line gave me time and I just had to put the ball out there,” Osweiler said of the touchdown pass. “He made my job easy on that play.”
Osweiler, who played through three series for the Texans, threw a pass into the end-zone intended for Fuller but was picked off by Saints cornerback P.J. Williams.
The Texans wide receivers were led by Fuller who made four catches for 73 yards and a touchdown.
The Texans defense, who played sans JJ Watt and Duane Brown, managed to keep the Saints from scoring in the first half. Highlights included Jadeveon Clowney sacking Saints QB Drew Brees for a 14 yard loss. Clowney, who missed the first preseason game due to a tender knee said, “I’m trying to just do what I can for the team. Get off the ball. Rush. Try to get to the quarterback.”
Texans cornerback Jonathan Joseph, who picked off Brees, made mention of Clowney’s performance saying, “I think he stepped in today and did a tremendous job. He’s a tremendous talent. I think he came in and made some plays. A player like him needs to come in and have that type of success because he has all the ability in the world and any time he comes in and makes those plays it’s going to help his confidence.”
Defensive end Christian Covington, who is recovering from a concussion endured during training camp, had two tackles and a sack during Saturday night’s game. Linebacker Brian Cushing looked healthy and made six tackles.
While the exact date of Watt’s return to the lineup is unclear, what is very clear is that the Texans defense is seizing the opportunity to work out the kinks in his absence. Osweiler gave a nod to their efforts in his remarks about the game, “The results of what we did tonight were better than what we did in San Francisco. I think it really all stemmed from our defense and special teams. They gave us short fields and made big plays to give us some momentum.” If they continue to hold their own, there will be no need to rush Watt back to the field which will give him a chance to get back to 100%. Add a healthy Watt to an already effective defensive line and the possibilities are endless.
The Texans will host the Arizona Cardinals Sunday August 28.