The world’s largest screens were on display Saturday as the Houston Texans defeated the New Orleans Saints 24-17. Even though the offensive line has been questionable and the second-string defense has at times outplayed the first unit, the Texans are still 2-0.
Through two preseason games, the Texans have the number one passing attack in the NFL (number two offense overall) and their defense is fourth in yards per game. In Saturday’s win, Matt Schaub came out throwing. The Texans went with their hurry-up offense to begin the game and it’s only the preseason.
Third-string quarterback Case Keenum completed 11-of-18 passes for 150 yards, one touchdown, two scoring drives and a 106.2 passer rating. All four Texans QBS combined to go 26-of-38 for 326 yards, three TDs, one INT and a 110.2 passer rating.
The Texans accumulated 303 net passing yards, marking the first time in franchise history they’ve recorded at least 300 yards in back-to-back preseason games.
The real Texans have yet to be seen, and lingering health concerns for Arian Foster and Ed Reed continue to be question marks. One of the Texans’ most impressive attributes thus far has been the contributions of rookies and role players, who could be called upon again after injuries and attrition thin out the initial 53-man roster.
Rookie receiver DeAndre Hopkins left the first half with a head injury. It was later determined he suffered a concussion and he wasn’t on the practice field Monday afternoon. He won’t likely suit up Sunday at Reliant Stadium against the Saints, but he hasn’t been ruled out entirely. “He’s not feeling very good today,” head coach Gary Kubiak said. “So he’s not out here at all. We’ll start over again tomorrow and see where we’re at.”
The Miami Dolphins have lost tight end Dustin Keller for the season with a torn ACL, MCL, PCL, and a dislocated knee. Rookie safety D.J Swearinger tackled Keller with 7 minutes, 58 seconds left in the second quarter. “I mean, I felt bad but at the same time it’s part of the game,” said Swearinger, who dove into Keller’s right knee. “It’s playing within the rules. So I felt a little grief for him. But, at the same time, it’s football.”
Several Dolphins players said postgame they didn’t think the hit was dirty.
“We’re all playing football out there,” Miami tight end Michael Egnew said. “Sometimes hits are low; sometimes they’re high. Unfortunately his was a low one and we just have to deal with it.”
The NFL will suspend defensive end Antonio Smith for one regular-season game and Texan’s remaining two preseason games for forcibly removing the helmet of Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito and then dangerously swinging it at his face. He is also expected to be fined for the incident.
Even though the incident took place in a preseason game, the league decided it was appropriate to discipline Smith by forcing him to miss a regular-season game and to forfeit that game check. Smith declined to talk about the scuffle, telling reporters after the game that he “took a blow to the head. I can’t remember.” Smith’s history is another factor in the decision. Smith was fined $21,000 last season for kicking Incognito, a penalty that was reduced to $11,000 after Smith appealed, saying he was retaliating to Incognito’s intentionally twisting his right ankle.
Schaub and the Texans starters will all play a substantial amount of football on Sunday at Reliant Stadium. Despite the backup quarterback race between T.J. Yates and Case Keenum, head coach Gary Kubiak still wants to see the starting QB play against New Orleans. “No, he’s going to play,” Kubiak said of Schaub’s status. “We’ll play our starters a good half of football or a number of snaps, whichever comes first. He’s had an excellent camp and I think he’s benefited from the other two pushing each other and the way they’ve played.” Texans fans will witness the closest approximation to a regular season game on Sunday. In typical preseason fashion, starters will see the most snaps in the third game in preparation for the regular season. Week 4 at Dallas will be minimal, if any, snaps for key players.
The Texans will host the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, August 25 at 3 p.m. at Reliant Stadium.