Dalton passes TD on single drive as Saints fall to Texas 17-13

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) — Andy Dalton threw a touchdown pass on his only possession on his debut with New Orleans, but the Saints fell 17-13 to the Houston Texans on Saturday night after a last-minute touchdown.

Dalton, who joined the Saints after spending last season with the Bears, started without James Winston after injuring his foot in practice on Monday.

Dalton was a perfect 5-for-5 for 51 yards. He threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Dwayne Washington to give New Orleans an early lead 7-0.

Houston quarterback Davis Mills was 3-on-3 for 14 yards in two drives when the team missed their first touchdown.

The Texans are signed Mills as a starter this season, despite an underperforming junior campaign as he played 13 games in the team’s fearsome 4-13 season.

Both teams made their debuts for the new head coaches as Dennis Allen took over for Sean Payton in New Orleans and Luffy Smith replaced David Cooley in Texas. Both Allen and Smith rose to the top spot after serving as their team’s defensive coordinator last season.

TD’s winning call came to Jaleel Johnson for 6 yards courtesy of Jeff Drriskell.

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Jeff Driskill threw in a last-minute 6-yard touchdown pass to Novice Jonny Johnson to lead Houston to victory.

The Texans cut the lead to 7-3 with a 49-yard field goal from Kimmy Fairburn late in the first quarter.

Houston took a 10-7 lead when Driskill Jalen Camp called with a four-yard touchdown pass early in the second round. That result came after Obu Okoronko equalized for a foul by midfielder Ian Bok.

Camp had a 49-yard reception in Houston’s closing drive to set the score.

The Saints equalized with a 23-yard field goal from Will Lutz about two minutes before the break.

A 36-yard field goal by John Parker Romo gave New Orleans a 13-10 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Receiver Chris Olaf, who finished 11th overall, and 19th Trevor Benning left for his debut with New Orleans Saturday night. Olave had a receiver for 4 yards.

The bright spot for the Texans was rookie fourth-round pick play Dameon Pierce, who had five stands for 49 yards. Houston’s Marlon Mack is expected to start, but Pierce is also likely to get a carry this season as the team looks to improve an ongoing game that has been among the worst in the NFL for the past two seasons.

Houston’s junior safety, Galen Peter, was a second-round pick and made his strong debut with four tackles, including one for a loss.

Chase Hansen led the Saints with six tackles, including two for a loss, and returned a 44-yard interception to score a field goal in the second quarter.

It was one of three objections raised by Driskill.

Sitting outside

The Texans were without their picks in the first round, cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., who finished third, and left guard Kenyon Green, the 15th pick, missed the game due to injuries.

Stingley has been involved in training but is slowly being brought up as he continues to recover from surgery in September to repair a torn ligament in his foot. Green recently missed practice time with a knee injury.

Stingley was agreed to select All-America as a freshman in 2019 but has been hampered by injuries in the past two seasons, including being limited to just three games last year at LSU due to a foot injury. Despite the setbacks, the Texans are confident he will intervene early and help turn around a high school run that has been among the worst of the league’s past seasons.

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Saints: Visit the Green Bay Packers on Friday night.

Texas: Visit the Los Angeles Rams on Friday night.

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