After Further Review: Saints vs. Texans

Drew Brees - Gerald Herbert, AP
Drew Brees - Gerald Herbert, AP

It was emotional, it was exhausting and it was physical.

But most of all, for the Saints, it was a victorious effort, 40-33, Sunday against the Texans.

Lets break it all down.


The Saints got the ball in the 4th quarter with 11:20 left down to Houston 26-17.

That's when they switched to no huddle. That's when they won the game.

During that time frame the Saints outscored the Texans, 23-7 and out-gained them 189-85 in total yards.

It was also the time Drew Brees rose his game to another level. Brees was near-flawless going 12/17 for 160 yards in two touchdowns all in the last 11:20.

Wide Receivers Day

Sunday was a great day for the Saints wide receivers and Jimmy Graham.

In all, Robert Meachem, Devery Henderson, Lance Moore and Graham combined to catch 21 passes. Of those receptions, 14 went for a first down while three went for touchdowns.

Think about that.

Out of 21 chances, only four times did one of their receptions NOT result in a touchdown or first down.

Simply put, that's being play-makers.

Andre the Giant (For a Half)

Texans WR Andre Johnson had a field-day against the Saints in first half when he and Matt Schaub connected five times for 104 yards.

But the Saints made an adjustment in the second half and only held him to two catches for 24 yards. None of those catches came in the 4th quarter.

Other Observations

Brees was 6-6 on 3rd downs in the second half. Big-time players make plays in big-time situations.

Slow starts are becoming a bit of an issue for the Saints. So far, they've been outscored 38-10 in the first quarter. Perhaps even more discouraging is that the defense has given up a touchdown on two of three opening possessions for their opponents.

The flip side of that though is while they may be slow starters, they've been outstanding finishers. Through three games, the Saints have outscored their opponents 61-34 in the second half.

One Pro-Bowler who has not played well to this point is Carl Nicks. Antonio Smith dominated Nicks most of the game Sunday. Smith beat Nicks when he sacked Brees. Plus, Smith nearly disrupted the handoff of Brees to Darren Sproles' on his touchdown run when got a great jump off the line and beat Nicks.

Speaking of that Sproles touchdown, outstanding block on the edge by Zach Strief. Strief's injury is definitely something to monitor the next few weeks. I just don't have full trust in Charles Brown yet.

The Saints didn't blitz Schaub quite as much as they blitzed Jay Cutler. In all they attacked 15 times. On those plays Schaub was 7/15, 148 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Pure luck, Kevin Walter! Should have been a Jonathan Casillas pick.

Darren Sproles and Robert Meachem have scored a touchdown in every game so far.

Brees was diplomatic in the post-game interview session but that WAS an illegal hit by Kareem Jackson. It doesn't matter that Brees was a runner. He led with the top of his helmet.

Speaking of that play, Brees' nudge back is the only time I've ever seen him get into it with an opposing defender.

That was far from the only chippiness in that game involving Jackson. Lance Moore loves to show his enthusiasm on the field but he hardly ever talks to the guy defending him. Not Sunday, Moore and Jackson were jabbing back and forth most of the 4th quarter especially after it appeared Jackson sucker-punched Moore on a 7-yard reception. Perhaps it's no coincidence that Brees went to Moore four of the next five plays including a beautifully-executed back shoulder connection where Jackson was badly beaten for a touchdown.

I hope fans realize just how special Jimmy Graham will be for this team. He is a dynamic play-maker and a match up nightmare at the tight end position. But he still has a lot to learn. He was supposed to run a crossing route on Brees' second interception.

Brees' first interception was all on number nine. He was too late on the decision and badly under threw Devery Henderson.

A couple of make-up no calls by the referees for both teams Sunday. Early in the game during one the Saints red-zone stops. Leigh Torrence clearly interfered with Johnson. Later in the 4th, Meachem was swiped across the helmet was before the ball hit his hands. Neither penalty was called.

I felt like Jabari Greer's interception was the turning point of the game. He read Johnson's route and undercut Schaub's pass. Perhaps hard to believe though is Greer's pick is the only the second takeaway forced by this Saints defense.

The Saints still haven't figured out how to cover a tight end. Owen Daniels and James Casey combined for 10 catches, 202 yards and two touchdowns.

To Steve Gleason: we are all pulling for you man! None of us will ever forget where we were and what we were doing the night you blocked that punt! That legacy is something your disease can never take away from you or any of us.

Bold Predictions

New Orleans 31
Jacksonville 10

The Saints need to make it rough for the rookie quarterback.

LSU 30
Kentucky 13

Too deep, too fast, too strong. Tigers keep rolling