Posted on September 10, 2019, by Travis Pulver
The Houston Texans are going to go wherever Deshaun Watson leads them. For most of the game Monday night against the New Orleans Saints, it appeared as if he was going to lead them to victory. But then Drew Brees and Saints kicker Wil Lutz decided they preferred a different outcome.
Brees, with just 37 seconds left in the game, moved the ball to the Houston 40-yard line. From there, Lutz kicked a 58-yard field goal as time expired to secure the win, 30-28.
The Saints have not had good luck the last few years in their season openers with losses in their last five. When Deshaun Watson engineered a two-play, 75-yard touchdown inside the final minute of the game to retake the lead, it looked like they were going to lose a sixth.
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But Watson only took 13 seconds off the clock in the process. With Drew Brees and the Saints offense, that is more than enough time to move the ball into position for a potential game-winning field goal.
It helped that the Texans appeared to be in a prevent defense. That made it easy to gain chunks of yardage with passes down the middle of the field. As a result, after completions of 15, 11, and nine yards, the Saints were in a position to attempt a long field goal—which Lutz made with ease.
“When you have Drew as your quarterback, all I cared about was getting ready for the kick, because I knew with 37 seconds left there was going to be a chance,” Lutz said after the game, via ESPN.
The Houston defense did a pretty good job of keeping Brees from getting the Saints offense on a roll in the first half. But whatever adjustments the Saints head coach Sean Payton made at halftime worked. As a result, in the third quarter, Brees began connecting with his receivers. Alvin Kamara started breaking free while the defense began to dominate the Texans offense.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Brees connected with Tre’ Quan Smith in the end zone to give the Saints their first lead of the game 24-21. A late field goal appeared to ice the game with only 50 seconds remaining, but Watson had another outcome in mind.
Houston’s running back acquisitions appeared to pay off. Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson combined for 140 yards on the ground (19 carries) and 35 yards receiving (five receptions). But the offensive line failed to protect Watson who was sacked six times (hit 11 times) and was often on the run.
“We’re going to watch the film tomorrow and fix our mistakes,” Laremy Tunsil, who has barely been on the team for a week, said after the game (ESPN). “How many sacks did we give up today? Six? We’ve got to improve that number. We’ve got to drop that number down a little bit.”
The Saints will travel out to the West Coast next week to take on the Los Angeles Rams. Houston will host the Jacksonville Jaguars who lost their starting quarterback to an injury in Week One.