Texans’ O moves ball well, settles for FGs

Texans’ O moves ball well, settles for FGs
August 25, 2013, 7:45 pm
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With 1:14 remaining in the first half, the Texans’ offense got the ball on their own 20 and began charging down the field, all the way to the three-yard-line.

Then they settled for a field goal as the clock ran out.

That was the effectiveness and the ineffectiveness the Texans’ first-team offense showed in a 31-23 loss to the Saints at Reliant Stadium in the third preseason game on Sunday afternoon.

“We moved the ball very effectively,” left tackle Duane Brown said. “The only bad thing I have to say about our performance was not finishing in the red zone, not getting touchdowns.”

Only two of the Texans’ six drives in the first half didn’t yield points and they went three-and-out just once but they scored only one touchdown. Matt Schaub completed 15-of-26 passes for 213 yards. He should have had a touchdown throw but Owen Daniels dropped one in the end zone. Through three preseason games, Schaub has completed 43-of-68 passes for 552 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

On that final drive of the first half, Schaub hit Andre Johnson three times for 53 yards. Johnson finished the half with seven catches for 131 yards and didn’t seem to mind the workload in a preseason game.

“I think we handled it well,” Johnson said of the two-minute drill. “Of course you would like to get seven but we went out and got points.”

The Texans’ offense came out firing, out-gaining the Saints 164-28 in the first quarter. After their first drive stalled, the Texans went 69 yards on nine plays on the next, which was capped by a one-yard touchdown run from Ben Tate.

Tate was fantastic on Sunday.

Filling in for Arian Foster, who didn’t play, Tate ran 11 times for 74 yards and picked up 50 yards on that touchdown drive alone.

"I was definitely out there to prove a point tonight,” Tate said. “And I felt like I got my point across."

Tate is entering the final year of his four-year rookie contract. After an impressive 2011 season, Tate struggled in 2012 and missed some time with a hamstring injury. He ran for just 279 yards last year.

“He put his stamp on the game tonight,” said fullback Greg Jones, who added that Foster and Tate will make for an “awesome 1-2 punch” in 2013.  

After the Tate touchdown, the next two Texans’ drives ended with Randy Bullock field goals, one a 48-yarder and one a 55-yarder in the second quarter.

The Texans had 15 first downs in the first half to the Saints’ 10. They had a 9-2 advantage after the first quarter.

“We’ll continue to work next week and a few days over the weekend and stuff like that,” Johnson said. “We’ll continue to work. You can never be satisfied with where you’re at. The regular season is a marathon, it’s not a sprint. We have to continue getting better at everything.”

After struggling to establish the run in the first two preseason games, the Texans’ starting offensive line was happy to get the run game going early against the Saints.  

“I think just a mentality for us up front,” Brown said. “We couldn’t really get in a rhythm in those first few games. We knew we were going to get a lot of snaps, a lot of opportunities to run the ball and we made the most of it.”

The right side of the offensive line was a problem last season and right tackle Derek Newton gave up a sack on Sunday. But that right side seemed much better.

“Did you see us run today?” Tate said about the right side of the line. “I feel good about it.”

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