New Orleans followed up a sloppy preseason opener with a solid performance to improve to 1-1 in preseason.
Chase Daniel threw for three touchdowns and guided another scoring possession to lead the Saints to a 38-20 victory over Houston.
The first-team offense drove right down the field on the opening possession and New Orleans never looked back.
Saints 38, Texans 20, 4:03 4th Quarter
Garrett Hartley hit a 35-yard field goal to cap an 18-yard drive. The Saints had gotten inside the 1-yard line, but a holding penalty and sack pushed New Orleans back to field goal range.
Saints 35, Texans 20, 14:11 4th Quarter
Dan Orlovsky led Houston on a seven-play, 72-yard drive that culminated with a 10-yard touchdown pass to tight end Garrett Graham. Saints cornerback Leigh Torrence couldn’t keep pace with the tight end and gave up the touchdown.
Saints 35, Texans 13, 1:28 3rd Quarter
Chase Daniel didn’t let an interception keep him down. He recorded his third touchdown pass of the game, this time getting Adrian Arrington in on the action with an 18-yard catch to finish off seven-play, 65-yard drive.
Daniel 12 of 17 for 156 yards and three touchdowns on the night and has been helped by an offensive line that isn’t giving up ground.
Saints 28, Texans 13, 5:50 3rd Quarter
Chase Daniel was having a standout night heading into the third quarter. Then it all went kaput.
Former Saints’ linebacker Danny Clark intercepted Daniel at New Orleans’ 33 and four plays later, Kris Brown hit a 43-yard field goal to cut into the Saints’ lead.
Saints 28, Texans 10, Halftime
Chase Daniel took the Saints’ second-team offense into the promised land against Houston’s No. 1 defense and he did it in impressive fashion.
He orchestrated an 11-play, 83-yard drive that included one third-down conversion and a fourth-down touchdown pass to backup fullback Zak Keasey.
The play of the drive, besides a 48-yard completion to Adrian Arrington, was Daniel’s savvy spike of the ball on third-and-goal from 1 with just four seconds remaining in the half.
After a Houston timeout, Daniel faked the handoff and hit Keasey streaking out of the backfield into the end zone to give the Saints an 18-point lead.
Saints 21, Texans 10, 3:44 2nd Quarter
Neil Rackers knocked in a 52-yard field goal that hit the curved support behind the crossbar to cut the Saints’ lead to 11 points.
The big play came on the opening play of the possession when Matt Schaub hit tight end Joel Dreessen for a 30-yard gain to New Orleans’ 40. But a holding penalty took all steam out of the drive and Houston settled for a field goal.
Saints 21, Texans 7, 6:34 2nd Quarter
Pierre Thomas took a screen pass from Chase Daniel and did what he does best. Thomas followed his blocks, including a key block by Carl Nicks, and dashed into the end zone for a 31-yard touchdown on the play he has become so good at.
Daniel was in for Drew Brees, who finished the night 5 of 10 for 36 yards and also had a rushing touchdown.
Saints 14, Texans 7, 14:57 2nd Quarter
Houston took advantage of three penalties by the Saints that gave the Texans first downs to get on the board. The big penalty was on third-and-11 when the Saints stopped Houston short of the first. But a late hit penalty on Anthony Hargrove nullified the stop.
On second-and-three from the Saints’ 10, Arian Foster went untouched into the end zone to cut New Orleans’ lead in half.
Saints 14, Texans 0, 3:12 1st Quarter
New Orleans took advantage of Pierson Prioleau’s fumble recovery on the Saints’ first punt of the game.
Four plays later, Drew Brees jumped up, put the ball over the goal line and the Saints had a 14-0 lead.
The key to the score happened on special teams. Former LSU standout Trindon Holliday bobbled the punt and Prioleau recovered. Brees on third-and-six, scrambled out of the pocket and was going to the turf, but got the ball out to receiver Marques Colston for a 10-yard gain.
A play later, Brees was into the end zone.
Saints 7, Texans 0, 9:02 1st Quarter
New Orleans won the coin toss, then won back the hearts of those who weren’t sold after the team’s preseason opener.
The Saints went 72 yards in 11 plays, eating 5 minutes, 58 seconds off the clock and converted two third downs on their way to a 7-0 lead.
Reggie Bush had 38 yards on the drive, including a 9-yard touchdown run when he plowed and powered his way up the middle.