NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The hometown fans booed quarterback Aaron
Brooks in the pregame introductions. They were cheering him by the
time the game was over.
Brooks threw for two touchdowns as the New Orleans Saints'
offense finally showed signs of life in a 31-10 victory over the
Houston Texans on Sunday.
Question on the Texans: Any reason to believe that the Texans will be able to score TDs this year?
They'll be able to score touchdowns if they stick to their game plan and protect QB David Carr.
Question on the Saints: Can this defense get by without Darren Howard?
They will miss Howard, but their performance against the Texans proves they can still get a solid rush on the quarterback. If DT Grady Jackson can continue to play as he did today, the Saints will be alright.
Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.
"We were patient," Brooks said. "Things did not go well in
the first half, but we didn't let it get us out of our game plan."
The Saints (1-1) led the NFC in scoring last season with 432
points and 49 touchdowns. But in the final two games of last season
and the first one this year, New Orleans scored only 29 points.
At first, the Texans (1-1) looked as if they might hold the
Saints to another poor showing. Houston's strategy was apparent:
Take Saints running back Deuce McAllister out of the game. It
worked last week when the Texans held Ricky Williams to 69 yards
rushing in an upset of Miami.
"I'd try to take him out of the game also," Saints coach Jim
Haslett said. "In the second half, he broke some tackles and got
into the secondary. He's a hard guy to tackle once he's in the
On his first four carries, McAllister gained just 3 yards. On
his fifth one, he found the hole he needed and ran for a 24-yard
touchdown to put the Saints up 7-0.
At halftime, McAllister had just 28 yards on eight carries and
New Orleans was trailing 10-7. But McAllister finished with 96
yards on 20 carries.
"Probably in the third and fourth quarters people get tired of
tackling a guy my size," said McAllister, who is 6-foot-1, 221.
Last season, McAllister averaged just under 72 yards rushing in
the Saints' losses, compared to just over 106 in their nine wins.
The Texans got their first touchdown despite two replay
challenges by New Orleans. On fourth-and-1 on the 2-yard line, a
play-action fake left quarterback David Carr with just one player
between him and the end zone, and he dived in for the touchdown.
Houston, which has never won back-to-back games, took a 10-7
lead on a Kris Brown's 30-yard field goal.
In the third quarter, the Saints used some trickery on their
second touchdown drive. Brooks walked away from the line, stamped
his foot and clenched both fists in what looked like a broken play.
The snap went directly to McAllister, who picked up a first down of
a 5-yard run.
Three plays later, Brooks hit Donte' Stallworth for a 35-yard
touchdown to give New Orleans a 14-10 lead.
New Orleans added a 39-yard field goal by John Carney with 22
seconds left in the third quarter.
McAllister got his second big run of the game on a 31-yarder
that was a big part of the Saints' 72-yard touchdown drive to make
it 24-10. Brooks capped it with a 2-yard pass to Ernie Conwell.
Brooks completed 18 of 27 passes for 189 yards. He was sacked
Carr, who had his first NFL game without a sack last week, had a
miserable day against New Orleans. He was 17-of-36 for 213 yards
and had two interceptions. He was sacked five times, pressured
constantly and hit at least 10 times.
"That was the most physical game I've played since I've been
here," Carr said.
The Saints' final touchdown came when Ashley Ambrose hit Houston
receiver Billy Miller, jarring the ball loose and into linebacker
Derrick Rodgers' hands. Rodgers ran 40 yards to score, making it
Note: Sunday's game was New Orleans' 50th under Jim Haslett,
who now has a 27-23 record since becoming the Saints' head coach in
2000 ... The last time a team from Houston played a regular-season
game in the Superdome was on Nov. 14, 1996, when the Houston Oilers
beat the Saints 31-14 ... Injuries: Saints LB Sedrick Hodge
fractured his right knee, CB Dale Carter has a concussion. Texans:
DT Seth Payne sprained his right knee.