Saints 38, Texans 20
No confetti floated down from the Superdome ceiling this time.
But the New Orleans sure showed signs of the high-powered offense that helped them win big last season in their first home game since the NFC championship.
The Saints held the football for 40 minutes, ran 75 offensive plays and rushed for 198 yards in a 38-20 victory over the Houston Texans on Saturday night.
''It's really important that all phases of our offense are intact,'' said Reggie Bush, who rushed for 49 yards and a touchdown. ''We really tried to go out there and just establish a solid running game and be fast and physical.''
Drew Brees, who played for only one quarter, led New Orleans to two touchdowns - handing off to Bush for a 9-yard score and leaping over center for a 1-yard TD that put New Orleans up 14-0.
There was not much of a dropoff when Chase Daniel took over in the second quarter. The Saints outgained Houston 409 yards to 291 and had the football for 40 minutes.
''We all have to take responsibility for what happened out there tonight,'' Houston defensive end Mario Williams said. ''Even though it's only preseason we have no excuse for all the points they put up early.
Brees completed five of 10 passes for 36 yards for the defending Super Bowl champs.
Daniel worked the last three quarters and completed 15 of 21 passes for 182 yards and three touchdowns. He was intercepted once.
''I was able to go in there and play and do the best I could,'' Daniel said. ''I didn't really look over my shoulder as I have in the past.''
Houston quarterback Matt Schaub was 8 of 10 for 117 yards. Dan Orlovsky was 12 of 19 for 140 yards and a touchdown.
The Texans did little to sort out their running back situation. Arian Foster started Saturday's game, and had six carries for 28 yards and a touchdown, but lost a fumble in the second quarter.
''There was no balance,'' coach Gary Kubiak said. ''I though Arian had a couple of nice runs, but he has to hang on to the football.''
The Saints got help from the Texans' turnovers. Houston lost two of three fumbles. Trindon Holiday's muffed catch of a first-quarter punt set up the Saints' second touchdown.
Steve Slaton - Foster's main challenger for the starting spot- ran five times for 19 yards, Slaton also had two kick returns for 88 yards, including one for 68 yards.
''I don't think we have to panic,'' Schaub said. ''We still have two more preseason games to go and I feel we will be ready for the beginning of the season.''
The Saints ran for 198 yards, including 66 by rookie Chris Ivory.
Kris Brown has been the Texans' kicker since the franchise began. This year he's competing with Neil Rackers. Kubiak said performance in the preseason games will settle the competition. Against the Saints, Rackers kicked a 52-yard field goal and Brown hit a 43-yarder.