Texans Before being named the Houston Texans’ starting quarterback to begin the regular season, Houston rookie C.J. Stroud threw his first touchdown pass as a professional.
Texans Jimmy Graham, meanwhile, appeared adamant that his mysterious medical crisis and run-in with the law the previous week would not stop his NFL comeback with the New Orleans Saints.
In the final preseason game for both teams on Sunday night, the Texans defeated the Saints 17-13 thanks to a quick touchdown pass from Stroud to Nico Collins.
As a result, Stroud declared that his future starting position is “something I think I worked for and definitely earned.”
Other than that, not much has changed. Stroud, the 2023 NFL Draft’s second-overall choice out of Ohio State, continued, “I’m still going to work the way I have been working, maybe even harder now. The ability to start at such a young age in this league is a blessing, as it isn’t always possible. Although I am aware that my coaches believe in me.
While Stroud gave a peek of his potential, Graham showed that he can still make such plays.
The five-time Pro Bowl tight end, who spent the previous season out of football before signing with the Saints last month, caught three passes for 34 yards and a touchdown.
We’ve emphasized that we don’t need to see that from these people all the time, especially the veteran players, but tonight was a good example of it Texans.
With Drew Brees at the helm, his catches were reminiscent of his game at that time. He came down with contested catches while in tight coverage and used his 6-foot-7 stature to get leverage. Immediately after his 25-yard catch gave Texans New Orleans a first down on the Houston 11, he scored on a 3-yard throw from Jameis Winston.
The preseason has given several other tight ends opportunity, in my opinion.
The former Miami basketball star leaped up toward the goal post after his touchdown, delighting a Superdome crowd eager to see the always-popular Graham score for the Saints. But he stopped and fired the ball off the padded wall behind the end zone to escape a flag.
Due in part to Graham’s 2013 Thursday night game delay caused by his characteristic TD celebration, which involved knocking a goal post out of alignment, dunks over the crossbar were against the rules in 2014.
Graham didn’t play in New Orleans’ second preseason game last weekend against the Chargers in Los Angeles. The 2013 All-Pro was taken into custody by Newport Beach police two days prior to that game, which the Saints have characterized as likely the result of a seizure that left the player confused.
Graham was taken into the care of the Saints at a hospital early on August 19 after being charged with suspicion of resisting police and being under the influence of a controlled substance. On Wednesday, he attended practice once more.
After a 26-yard punt return by Texans rookie Tank Dell, the Texans were on the New Orleans 43 when Stroud completed a 3-yard pass to Collins to start the scoring. For a total of 27 yards over the course of the series, Dameon Pierce ran four times.
Graham declined to speak with the media after the game and hasn’t spoken out publicly about his arrest, but the Saints have a statement from Graham on his performance.
There were so many memorable events and victories, Graham recalled, “and it just reminded me of all the fantastic times I’ve had here in front of these fans. “I’m eager to build on this feeling and let it grow even stronger,” she said.
Stroud “did a really good job this week,” according to Houston coach DeMeco Ryans. The placing of the ball was excellent.
With a whirling, tackle-slipping 11-yard dash in the third quarter, veteran running back Mike Boone gave Houston a 17-10 lead.
Blake Grupe, an undrafted rookie kicker for the Saints, made field goals from 38 and 50 yards before missing one from 60, competing for the job with incumbent Wil Lutz.
For a late lead, New Orleans had two opportunities. The first was stopped when rookie quarterback Jake Haener was intercepted in the end zone by safety Grayland Arnold. The outcome was decided by cornerback Cameron Dantzler’s diving interception of Haener in the last minute.
After recovering a fumble that was caused when Saints defensive tackle Malcolm Roach sacked and stripped quarterback Davis Mills, guard Jarrett Patterson needed medical attention but was able to leave on his own.