Coming off a bye, and staring down the face of a two-game losing streak, Sunday was the day for the New Orleans Saints and newly minted defensive coordinator Dennis Allen to make a statement. And in front of a hefty crowd, former president George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush were in attendance.
Instead, the Saints, appearing rather lethargic, went on to lose 24-6 for their third-straight loss. With the win, the suddenly-surging Texans have won four straight, and are now 6-5 on the season.
Texans quarterback Brian Hoyer — returning since his absence last week after sustaining a concussion against the Bengals — threw for 205 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in the victory. He wasted no time getting to work early, going 7 for 7 on the opening drive, and sealing it with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Griffin. Saints quarterback Drew Brees was 25 of 44 for 228 yards. Brees, who threw one interception on the day as well, had his streak of consecutive games with at least a one touchdown pass ended at 45. He owns the NFL record of 54.
Houston’s defense came as ready to play as Hoyer. A relentless JJ Watt had Drew Brees uncomfortable inside of the pocket for the majority of the game. Watt recorded two sacks in the game, that pushes his NFL lead to 13 1/2 — he would have had three, but Brees was given an intentional grounding penalty when Watt had him wrapped up for a sack during the second quarter.
By far the worst offensive output by the Saints all season, the team was held without a touchdown in the game for the first time in the Sean Payton era. That snapped a streak of 155 games recording a touchdown — second in NFL history. Eight of their first 10 plays of the game went for 1 yard or less. The only points of the day recorded from New Orleans came from their kicker Kai Forbath — he kicked a 30-yard field goal midway through the second, and a career-long 57-yarder shortly before the half to make the score 14-6.
As mentioned previously, it was the first game freshly minted defensive coordinator Dennis Allen replaced the fired Rob Ryan. The change didn’t lead to better results, and the New Orleans defense easily muffed the game from the very start — Houston’s offense scored two touchdowns on their first two drives of the game.