HOUSTON -- Brian Hoyer led scoring drives on two of his first three series since being named Houston's starting quarterback, and the Texans went on to a 27-13 preseason victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
All three Texans quarterbacks led scoring drives. Ryan Mallett, who was upset this past week upon learning he'd be the backup, threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Jaelen Strong. In the fourth quarter, Tom Savage hit Chandler Worthy for a 6-yard score.
Hoyer was 7 of 11 for 82 yards. Mallett was 9 of 17 for 77 yards, while Savage finished 5 of 7 for 58 yards.
The Saints (1-2) outgained the Texans (2-1), 393 yards to 292 yards, with New Orleans reserve running back Edwin Baker scoring on a 45-yard run.
But New Orleans' first two trips inside Houston's 20 produced only 3 points. The Saints also committed 11 penalties for 148 yards.
Drew Brees marched the Saints 75 yards for a field goal on his lone series, completing his first four passes for 40 yards before his last two fell incomplete inside the 20.
Houston took the lead for good on its first offensive series, capped by former LSU running back Alfred Blue's 1-yard run. The score was set up by a pass-interference call on cornerback Keenan Lewis, who was trying to prevent DeAndre Hopkins from hauling in Hoyer's pass in the end zone. Hopkins had already beaten Lewis for a 29-yard catch on the drive.
Strong wound up as Houston's leading receiver for the game with five catches for 40 yards.
Willie Snead was among the top receivers for New Orleans, with four-catches for 56 yards, including a 23-yard gain that included an effective spin move to avoid a tackler.
Josh McCown spent much of the day at quarterback for New Orleans, going 8 of 14 for 117 yards. But his fourth-down pass from the Houston 2, intended for Josh Morgan, was batted down by rookie cornerback Kevin Johnson.
Jalen Saunders and seventh-round pick Marcus Murphy shared kickoff and punt returns from New Orleans. The veteran had the better day, with 132 yards on five kickoff returns.
But Murphy, who had a long punt returned called back by an illegal block, had a strong all-around performance. He rushed eight times for 43 yards and catching three passes for a team-high 67 yards, including a 41-yard gain.
Rookie QB Garrett Grayson, a third-round pick, played much of the second half for New Orleans, going 7 of 16 for 96 yards.
Texans top Saints to improve to 2-1 on the preseason
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