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Houston at New Orleans

Brees, Schaub in midseason form as Saints outlast Texans for win

CBSSports.com wire reports

NEW ORLEANS -- Matt Schaub and Drew Brees looked sharp in a high-scoring first half, and Joe Morgan's touchdown catch late in the fourth quarter lifted the New Orleans Saints to a 34-27 preseason victory over the Houston Texans on Saturday night.

Schaub completed 15-of-18 passes for 194 yards and a touchdown, but three turnovers by Houston helped the Saints stay close despite two fumbles of their own.

Brees was 17 of 25 for 179 yards, including TD tosses of 20 yards to Lance Moore and 8 yards to Jimmy Graham.

Texans rookie receiver Keshawn Martin scored his first pro touchdown, but then fumbled twice.

Houston's Ben Tate and Arian Foster each had short touchdown runs.

New Orleans reserve defensive end Junior Galette scored in a kick coverage role, picking up Houston returner Trindon Holliday's fumble and returning it 16 yards.

Morgan dove for his go-ahead catch on a hard, low, 4-yard pass from Chase Daniel with 3:38 to go. It was an important play for Morgan, whose fumble deep in Saints territory set up Foster's first-half touchdown run.

Morgan, an undrafted free agent in his second season out of Walsh University in Ohio, is hoping to earn a regular-season roster spot after spending last season on injured reserve.

The Saints opened the game without three of their top linebackers -- Curtis Lofton, David Hawthorne and Chris Chamberlain -- who were all hurt in last week's preseason game against Jacksonville.

Ramon Humber was supposed to step in for Lofton as middle linebacker, but pulled his hamstring during practice, so the Saints moved outside linebacker Jonathan Casillas to the middle.

Already in the midst of adjusting to a new system under defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, the Saints' defense seemed further disconcerted by lineup upheaval.

Houston gained three first downs on its first four snaps of the game en route to an eight-play, 80-yard touchdown drive. Schaub's 26-yard connection with tight end Garrett Graham put Houston at the 1, setting up Tate's TD run through the left side of the line.

The Texans were right back in scoring position after Chris Ivory fumbled on an awkward hit by Glover Quin, who also recovered the ball at the Saints 40-yard line. Houston needed only five plays to go ahead 14-0 on Schaub's 10-yard pass over the middle to Martin.

The Saints roared back to tie it before the first quarter had even ended.

Brees completed passes of 13, 14 and 10 yards before capping a six-play, 65-yard drive with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Moore, who leapt over Kareem Jackson to make the catch.

Holliday then fumbled the next kickoff return when he was hit hard by Isa Abdul-Quddus, and the ball came to rest next to Galette, who picked it up at the 16 and ran untouched into the end zone to tie it.

Houston was driving again when Saints rookie Corey White stripped Martin and Sedrick Ellis recovered, leading to Garrett Hartley's 22-yard field goal to make it 17-14.

The Saints defense finally forced the first punt of the game in the second quarter, but was right back on the field after Houston's Danieal Manning stripped Morgan and recovered on the Saints' 10.

Two plays later, Foster trotted in untouched from 6 yards out to make it 21-17.

Late in the half, rookie Randy Bullock, competing with veteran Shayne Graham for Houston's place kicking job, hit from 33 yards to make it 24-17.

Shortly before the wild first half ended, Brees ducked away from trouble and hit Graham to tie it, capping a 7-play, 77-yard drive.

Hartley, who is competing with 42-year-old veteran John Kasay for the Saints' place-kicking job, put the Saints up 27-24 with a 33-yard field goal in the third quarter. Houston's Graham tied it with a 53-yard field goal that improved him to 5 for 5 in the preseason.

Hartley got a late chance to make a 53-yarder of his own, but it fell short.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Matt Schaub completes 15 of 18 passes for 194 yards and a touchdown in the Texans' preseason loss to the Saints. (AP)
Matt Schaub completes 15 of 18 passes for 194 yards and a touchdown in the Texans' preseason loss to the Saints. (AP)


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Sat. Aug. 25Final
Pass: M. Schaub (15-18, 194) D. Brees (17-25, 179)
Rush: A. Foster (8-32) C. Ivory (8-57)
Rec: G. Graham (4-97) J. Graham (3-48)
Scoring Summary
TDBen Tate runs for 1 yard (Randy Bullock kick is good). Drive: 8 plays, 80 yards in 3:57.
TDKeshawn Martin catches a 10 yard pass from Matt Schaub (Randy Bullock kick is good). Drive: 5 plays, 40 yards in 3:01.
TDLance Moore catches a 20 yard pass from Drew Brees (Garrett Hartley kick is good). Drive: 6 plays, 65 yards in 3:08.
TDJunior Galette makes a 16 yard fumble return (John Kasay kick is good).
FGGarrett Hartley makes a 22 yard kick. Drive: 10 plays, 70 yards in 3:40.
TDArian Foster runs for 6 yards (Randy Bullock kick is good). Drive: 2 plays, 10 yards in 0:40.
FGRandy Bullock makes a 33 yard kick. Drive: 8 plays, 64 yards in 4:16.
TDJimmy Graham catches an 8 yard pass from Drew Brees (Garrett Hartley kick is good). Drive: 7 plays, 77 yards in 1:53.
FGGarrett Hartley makes a 24 yard kick. Drive: 15 plays, 71 yards in 5:43.
FGShayne Graham makes a 53 yard kick. Drive: 6 plays, 25 yards in 2:39.
TDJoe Morgan catches a 4 yard pass from Chase Daniel (Garrett Hartley kick is good). Drive: 13 plays, 75 yards in 7:05.
M. Schaub15/1819410
T. Yates6/117200
A. Foster832118
J. Grimes422010
J. Forsett42007
B. Tate41018
K. Martin1000
M. Schaub1-10-1
G. Graham497044
A. Johnson230019
O. Daniels226016
J. Forsett224013
J. Casey323015
L. Jean119019
J. Grimes218012
K. Martin212110
B. Tate1909
J. Iglesias1808
A. Foster1000
New Orleans
D. Brees17/2517920
C. Daniel11/178810
S. Canfield1/2200
C. Ivory857020
J. Banyard72506
T. Cadet52008
M. Ingram61908
C. Daniel218014
D. Brees110010
K. Hall1303
S. Canfield1-10-1
J. Graham348129
L. Moore338120
P. Thomas435016
T. Cadet331016
J. Morgan429120
M. Colston228018
D. Henderson221014
M. Higgins216011
G. Camarillo21508
K. Hall2705
J. Collins1303
J. Banyard1-20-2
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