The third week of the NFL preseason is generally considered a dress rehearsal for the regular season.
And with that in mind, the Saints’ performance Sunday evening — a 31-23 victory over the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium — was mostly positive.
Quarterback Drew Brees made quick work of the Texans’ defense, compiling 104 yards and a touchdown on four completions.
Brees ignited the Saints’ offense on their third (and his final) possession with two passes to his running backs — a 29-yard screen pass to Mark Ingram, and then a 51 yard dump-off to Pierre Thomas for a touchdown.
Saints fans probably will not see Brees on the field again until the regular season opener against the Atlanta Falcons in New Orleans on Sept. 8.
Saints backup quarterbacks Luke McCown and Ryan Griffin also played well, combining for 204 passing yards and three touchdowns.
Rookie wide receiver Kenny Stills continued his solid preseason with two catches and a touchdown, and Andy Tanner made a strong case for making the Saints’ regular season 53-man roster with two touchdown grabs of his own.
The Saints’ defense looked shaky at times but continued to show flashes of improvement.
Defensive linemen Cam Jordan and Glenn Foster each sacked Texans starting quarterback Matt Schaub, and rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro helped lead a spirited goal line stand in the third quarter.
While pressure on Schaub and Houston’s backup quarterbacks was fairly consistent, the Saints still allowed several big plays.
Texans’ star receiver Andre Johnson racked up an impressive 131 yards on seven catches, and running back Ben Tate averaged better than 6.7 yards per carry.
The Saints wrap up the preseason Thursday night in Miami.