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Monday, 26 September 2011 04:09

New Orleans Saints, Brees Find Way to win Vs. Houston Texans

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IngramThe high-scoring Saints produced 23 fourth-quarter points to rally from a 26-17 deficit to beat the Houston Texans 40-33 on Sunday in the Superdome.

It was a case of too many chip-shot field goals and not enough touchdowns for the Texans (2-1) despite outgaining the Saints (2-1) 473-454, winning the turnover battle and punting only twice. There were five lead changes in the game.

"You are encouraged when you win a game like that," said Saints coach Sean Payton in his media conference after the game. "Despite not playing your best football, you still find a way to win the game.

"We would be foolish to go in tomorrow and not look closely at the mistakes we made -- players, coaches, everybody."

Here's Texans coach Gary Kubiak's take on the loss: "We   had a chance to score more. We had a lot of opportunities in the red zone. I look at the game, and I told the guys that if we would have played better in the red zone, we probably would get out of here with a win. If we would have played better defense late in the game, we get out of here with a win.

"The Saints are a great team."

Maybe the Texans' new 3-4 defense under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips isn't quite as good as advertised. In reality, the Texans' red zone offense was the real culprit.

The Who Dat Nation loved the throwback uniforms, but for a while the Saints played like the Aints they were years ago when they wore those uniforms.

Drew Brees completed 31-of-44 passes for 370 yards, three touchdowns and his first two interceptions of the season. His passer rating was 99.6.

Texans quarterback Matt Schaub completed 22-of-39 passes for 373 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. He was sacked twice.

"The Saints are a great team," said Schaub. "We have a lot of respect for them. But we feel we're good, too and have the potential to be as great team."

The Texans have the NFL's best wide receiver in Andre Johnson, who has seven catches for 128 yards. A safety has to help cover him and his presence adds about 50 yards to the Texans' rushing yardage.

James Casey, a tight end turned fullback, caught five passes for 126 yards and a touchdown for the Texans.

WR Lance Moore snatched a career-high nine passes for 88 yards and a 16-yard touchdown, He also scored on two two-point conversions.

For the third straight week, Darren Sproles scored a touchdown off a 30-yard run. He finished with two carries for 35 yards and six catches for 50 yards, His total yardage for the day was 193 yards, including return yardage.

TE Jimmy Graham posted his first career 100-yard gameoff four catches, including 32-yard touchdown. He dropped a couple and ran the wrong route that led to a Brees interception. Brees sometimes throws to a spot and the receiver gets there to make a catch.

"I trust Jimmy 100 per cent," said Brees. "He works hard and wants to be the best. I'm working on routes with him after practices."

With time running out, Brees relied again on Moore when he found him in the middle of the field for a 16-yard touchdown.

The Texans responded as well as Schaub led his team down the field and capped the drive with a 20-yard touchdown to WR Kevin Walker to go up.

Eight plays and 93 yards later, the Saints regained the lead when rookie RB Mark Ingram rumbled up the middle behind excellent blocking for a 13-yard touchdown. The Saints went for the two-point conversion and on the same play call as the first two-point conversion, Brees found Moore in the right corner of the  end zone. for the conversion.

With the Superdome crowd cheering full throttle, the Texans found themselves in 4th and 21 inside their 10-yard line. Schaub's final pass was broken up by S Malcolm Jenkins and CB Leigh  Torrence to seal the Saints victory.

 WR Robert Meachem scored the other Saints touchdown on a two-yard pass from Brees in the third quarter. John Kasay had a 35-yard field goal for the Saints.

Jo-Lonn Dunbar filled in for injured Jonathan Vilma at middle  linebacker and led his team in tackles with 10.

"We've had a lot of emotions in the last 24 hours," said Brees. "Today was for a lot of things, but none more so than for Steve Gleason."

Gleason, who is suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease, was an honorary captain for the Saints on Sunday. He played for the Saints from 2000-2006.

The Saints are in Jacksonville on Sunday.

by Ed Staton

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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography. | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.