The New Orleans Saints kicked a 58-yard field goal as time ran out to beat the Houston Texans 30-28 Monday night in New Orleans.
The Texans had taken a 28-27 lead as Deshaun Watson hit Kenny Stills with a 37-yard touchdown pass with 37 seconds to go in the game. The extra point kick was no good, but the Saints were called for roughing the kicker, and Ka’imi Fairbairn, given a second chance, was successful and the Texans led 28-27.
But 37 seconds is a lifetime for New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, as he completed passes of 15 yards, 11 yards and 9 yards to give kicker Wil Lutz a chance at a 58-yard game winning field goal. Lutz’s previous long field goal had been 57 yards, but his kick was straight through the uprights and the Saints were winners.
For two and half quarters, the Texans played like a playoff team, as they scored touchdowns on drives of 94 yards, 75 yards and 75 yards to take a 21-10 lead with 8:20 to go in the third quarter. The long drives kept Brees on the bench, and when he was on the field, the Texans’ defense kept changing schemes to keep the Saints’ offense off-balance.
But eventually the Saints exploited the Texans’ long-standing weaknesses, a porous offensive line and a weak secondary.
In the second half, the Saints sacked Watson four times, holding the Texans’ passing attack to just 139 yards, 75 of which came on the Texans’ last series.
Meanwhile, Brees completed 16 of 20 passes in the second half for 210 yards and two touchdowns. For the game, running back Alvin Kamara had seven receptions for 101 yards, 64 of which came after the initial contact, as the Texans’ secondary could not bring him down.
A bright spot for the Texans was the Texans’ ground game as they rushed 23 times for 180 yards. Carlos Hyde rushed for 83 yards on 10 carries, and Duke Johnson rushed for 57 yards on nine carries.
For the game, Watson completed 20 of 30 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns and one interception. Hopkins had eight receptions for 111 yards and two touchdowns. Will Fuller V had two receptions for 69 yards.
Brees finished with 32 completions in 43 attempts for 370 yards and two touchdowns. Kamara rushed 13 times for 97 yards.
Texans’ Head Coach Bill O’Brien was philosophical after the game.
“The Saints made some plays. They have a really good offense. I thought at times our defense played really well. It was a hard-fought football game. We just need to go back to work and shore some things up,” O’Brien said. “We’ve got a good football team. We are never out of a game. Even when things aren’t going so well, as long as we can keep it in range, we will be in every game. That’s what Deshaun Watson gives us. He’s a great football player and he is competitive. He’s calm and he is poised. He has all that. Now we just need to go back and watch the tape and fix some things. They just made a few more plays than we did.”
The Texans play the Jacksonville Jaguars at NRG Stadium on Sunday at noon.
Texans: 14:57 Watson 21-yard run. Fairbairn kick.
Texans 7, Saints 0
Saints: 9:27 Lutz 32-yard field goal.
Texans 7, Saints 3
Texans: 1:51 Hopkins 2-yard pass from Watson. Fairbairn kick.
Texans 14, Saints 3
Saints: 12:57 Latavius Murray 30-yard run. Lutz kick.
Texans 14, Saints 10
Texans: 8:24 Hopkins 16-yard pass from Watson. Fairbairn kick.
Texans 21, Saints 10
Saints: 2:43 Taysom Hill 9-yard pass from Brees. Lutz kick.
Texans 21, Saints 17
Saints: 14:55 Tre’Quan Smith 14-yard pass from Brees. Lutz kick.
Saints 24, Texans 21
Saints: 0:55 Lutz 47-yard field goal
Saints 27, Texans 21
Texans: 0:37 Stills 37-yard pass from Watson. Fairbairn kick.
Texans 28, Saints 27
Saints: 0:02 Lutz 58-yard field goal
Saints 30, Texans 28