In a far cry from what coach Gary Kubiak saw in his team a week earlier, the Texans stumbled and fumbled their way through their second preseason game against the New Orleans Saints. They struggled to run the ball and to stop the run in the 38-14 loss.
"It's a humbling game," Kubiak said. "You can walk out of the stadium one week and feel good about yourself. And then walk out the next week and wonder what the heck is going on. We got pushed around. We have to play better than that up front in order to be successful."
The only good thing the team could say about the loss is that it was an exhibition. And what a poor exhibition of football it was -- and that includes offense, defense and special teams. The players quickly admitted their frustration immediately after the game ended.
"We take too much pride in what we do to go out and perform the way we did today," linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. "That's not who we are. That's not the identity that we want to set for ourselves as the Houston Texans defense. We have to go out and show it and not just talk about it. Game day is our chance to prove that we are better on defense, but we have to go out and be better."
The Saints spotted the Texans a 7-0 lead when Matt Schaub threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to David Anderson. The Saints reeled off 17 consecutive points for a 17-7 halftime lead.
When backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Andre Davis to pull within 17-14, the Texans were back in it. But as soon as they pulled within three, they trailed by 10 again.
Rod Harper returned a punt 79 yards for a touchdown that boosted the lead to 24-14, and the rout was on.
"It was little stuff that turned into big stuff," defensive end Mario Williams said. "It was all on us as players. It wasn't anything that was scheme-wise that was wrong. We were just in the wrong place."
The run defense was horrible from the first team on down. They have now allowed their first two opponents to have 100-yard rushers, and it won't get any easier when Adrian Peterson arrives with the Minnesota Vikings for a clash on "Monday Night Football" next week.
"We didn't come out and run the ball like we should against some of their defenses," quarterback Matt Schaub said. "And they ran the ball on our defense more than we'd like to give up. We have to clean it up and stand up and say, 'We're not going to let that happen.'"
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