By Chris Duncan, AP Sports Writer
HOUSTON (AP) — Arian Foster ran for two touchdowns and Ben Tate rushed for 95 yards and another score in the first half of the Texans' 27-14 win over the New Orleans Saints on Saturday night.
Foster, the NFL's leading rusher in 2010, started after missing Houston's preseason opener against the New York Jets with a sore hamstring. He had TD runs of 2 and 28 yards in the first quarter.
Tate, a second-round pick in 2010, was seeing his first game action since breaking his ankle in the first preseason game last year and going on injured reserve. He had a 4-yard touchdown and gained 43 yards on another run in the second quarter.
Matt Schaub completed 12 of 16 passes for 163 yards and Andre Johnson caught four passes for 100 yards for Houston (2-0). Johnson also made his first preseason start after skipping the opener to protect a dislocated left index finger.
Drew Brees went 7 for 14 for 109 yards in a little more than quarter of action for the Saints (1-1). Chase Daniel threw a long TD pass to rookie Joseph Morgan and 2011 first-round pick Mark Ingram had a touchdown run in the first half for New Orleans.
The Texans' offense produced 323 yards and 19 first downs in one half against a Saints' defense that gave up only 234 yards in last week's 24-3 win over San Francisco. Houston finished with 436 total yards, a franchise record for a preseason game.
Houston's defense, meanwhile, looked solid again in its second outing employing Wade Phillips' 3-4 scheme.
The Texans had seven sacks against the Jets, and defensive end Antonio Smith hit Brees on the Saints' first series, causing a fumble. Mario Williams pounced in the loose ball at the Houston 28.
Schaub went 4 for 4 on the Texans' first drive, including a 23-yarder to Johnson. Foster ran the last 15 yards of the drive on three carries, scoring with 6:04 left in the first quarter.
Schaub started Houston's next series with a play-action fake and a perfect 48-yard pass down the middle to Johnson. On second down, Foster burst through a big hole, sidestepped safety Paul Oliver and ran into the end zone.
Houston cornerback Kareem Jackson and Saints' receiver Devery Henderson exchanged shoves early in the second quarter, and Henderson was flagged for unnecessary roughness. Brees then completed a 43-yard pass to Robert Meachem to the Texans' 8, and Ingram scored on fourth down from 1 to make it 14-7.
Tate broke a 23-yard run later in the second quarter, and Neil Rackers kicked a 49-yard field goal for a 17-7 Houston lead. Rackers connected from 47 and 49 yards in the opener.
Daniel replaced Brees on the Saints' second series of the second quarter, and promptly threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to Morgan, who beat Houston safety Danieal Manning on the play.
Johnson stretched for a 21-yard grab to the Saints' 27, then caught another pass to the 4. Tate scored on the next play.
Early in the third quarter, Texans' rookie linebacker Brooks Reed sacked Daniel and forced anoher fumble. Rookie defensive end Scooter Berry recovered and ran to the Saints' 27, setting up Rackers' 40-yard field goal for a 27-14 lead.
Reed had another sack on the last snap of the third quarter. The Texans had four sacks in the game.
Notes: LB DeMeco Ryans (elbow), RB Steve Slaton (hamstring), CB Johnathan Joseph (groin) and RB Derrick Ward (concussion) were among the inactive players for Houston. ... CB Tracy Porter (right knee) sat out for the Saints. ... Before the game, the Texans announced that new giant sign logos will be placed around Reliant Stadium in time for the regular-season opener against Indianapolis on Sept. 11. Reliant president Jason Few says the new signs are cosmetic only, and won't affect the partnership between Reliant and NRG Energy, which began two years ago. About a dozen signs will be changed around the Reliant Park complex, along with about 10,000 items with the old Reliant logo, including traffic cones and polo shirts worn by stadium employees.
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