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.
Texans rookie receiver Keshawn Martin scored his first pro touchdown, but then fumbled twice.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Matt Schaub completes 15 of 18 passes for 194 yards and a touchdown in the Texans' preseason loss to the Saints. (AP)|
|Sat. Aug. 25||Final|
|TD||Ben Tate runs for 1 yard (Randy Bullock kick is good). Drive: 8 plays, 80 yards in 3:57.|
|TD||Keshawn Martin catches a 10 yard pass from Matt Schaub (Randy Bullock kick is good). Drive: 5 plays, 40 yards in 3:01.|
|TD||Lance Moore catches a 20 yard pass from Drew Brees (Garrett Hartley kick is good). Drive: 6 plays, 65 yards in 3:08.|
|TD||Junior Galette makes a 16 yard fumble return (John Kasay kick is good).|
|FG||Garrett Hartley makes a 22 yard kick. Drive: 10 plays, 70 yards in 3:40.|
|TD||Arian Foster runs for 6 yards (Randy Bullock kick is good). Drive: 2 plays, 10 yards in 0:40.|
|FG||Randy Bullock makes a 33 yard kick. Drive: 8 plays, 64 yards in 4:16.|
|TD||Jimmy Graham catches an 8 yard pass from Drew Brees (Garrett Hartley kick is good). Drive: 7 plays, 77 yards in 1:53.|
|FG||Garrett Hartley makes a 24 yard kick. Drive: 15 plays, 71 yards in 5:43.|
|FG||Shayne Graham makes a 53 yard kick. Drive: 6 plays, 25 yards in 2:39.|
|TD||Joe Morgan catches a 4 yard pass from Chase Daniel (Garrett Hartley kick is good). Drive: 13 plays, 75 yards in 7:05.|
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