New Orleans — Brian Hoyer sounded pleased about his first game as the Houston Texans’ designated starter.
Ryan Mallett, meanwhile, looked determined not to let his disappointment linger over his relegation to a backup role.
Hoyer (Michigan State) led scoring drives on two of his three series on Sunday, and the Texans went on to a 27-13 preseason victory over the inconsistent and undisciplined New Orleans Saints.
“It’s good to come out and start the game and move the ball like we did,” Hoyer said. “That means what we are doing is moving the team in the right direction.”
All three Houston quarterbacks led scoring drives. Mallett threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Jaelen Strong, and afterward downplayed the anger he’d expressed at the initial news that Hoyer was named the starter over him.
“There was nothing to put behind me,” Mallett said. “I felt like we went out there and executed our game plan and we moved the football and scored some points on them.”
Houston’s third-string quarterback, Tom Savage, hit rookie Chandler Worthy for a 6-yard score in the fourth quarter.
Hoyer finished 7 of 11 for 82 yards. Mallett was 9 of 17 for 77 yards, and Savage finished 5 of 7 for 58 yards.
Houston took the lead for good on its first offensive series, capped by former LSU running back Alfred Blue’s 1-yard run. The score was set up by a pass-interference call on cornerback Keenan Lewis, who was trying to prevent DeAndre Hopkins from hauling in Hoyer’s pass in the end zone. Hopkins had already beaten Lewis for a 29-yard catch on the drive.
The Saints (0-3) outgained the Texans (2-1), 393 yards to 292 yards, with New Orleans reserve running back Edwin Baker scoring on a 45-yard run.
But New Orleans’ first two trips inside Houston’s 20 produced only 3 points. The Saints also committed 11 penalties for 148 yards.
Saints coach Sean Payton didn’t hide his annoyance at the penalties and cracked sarcastically that his defensive lineman should put on a New Orleans-style second-line parade to celebrate their first sack of the preseason, which came in the second half when rookies Tavaris Barnes and Tyeler Davison brought down Savage.
“Penalties, obviously, jump out, right? The pass rush. Those are things that stand out,” Payton said while discussing areas of concern.
But Payton was happy with seventh-round draft choice Marcus Murphy, stating, “He’s making this team.” Murphy had 110 yards from scrimmage and would have had a long punt return if not for an illegal block by Jerry Franklin that Payton referred to as “dumb football.”
Arizona 30, (at) Oakland 23: Marion Grice scored on an 11-yard run with 31 seconds left in an exhibition game in which both first-team offenses struggled.
The Raiders (1-2) got five field goals from Sebastian Janikowski in the first half but didn’t get into the end zone until Matt McGloin led an 83-yard drive late in the fourth quarter. He capped it with a 4-yard TD pass to Kris Durham with 2:18 left and Oakland tied it when McGloin connected with Brice Butler on the 2-point conversion.
Logan Thomas answered by leading the winning drive with help from a 38-yard pass to Ifeanyi Momah.
Carson Palmer threw two interceptions and was sacked three times in a rough first half for the Cardinals (1-2).
The Packers are optimistic the sprained shoulder receiver Randall Cobb suffered Saturday is not serious.
“We thought it could have been collarbone or something and it’s not,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.
... Outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks will not practice this week with the 49ers, who sent him away from the team after he was charged with misdemeanor sexual battery Wednesday.
... Browns rookie running back Duke Johnson is following the NFL’s protocol on head injuries after sustaining a concussion in Saturday’s win over the Buccaneers.
Browns coach Mike Pettine said he does not know when Johnson will return.
... Rams running back Tre Mason, the likely starter while Todd Gurley rehabs from knee surgery, has been ruled out of the exhibition finale with a right hamstring injury. Mason was injured Saturday night against the Colts.
... Jets rookie defensive lineman Leonard Williams has a muscle strain behind one of his knees. Williams was injured in the first half of the Jets’ 28-18 victory over the Giants on Saturday night.
... The Falcons agreed to a five-year, $71.25 million contract extension with receiver Julio Jones on Saturday
The Jets have released 12 players, including five wide receivers, reducing their roster to 78. The Jets must cut three more players by 4 p.m. Tuesday to get down to the mandatory 75-player limit.
Wide receiver DeVier Posey, acquired from the Texans during the draft, was cut.
Cornerback/returner Javier Arenas, signed Aug. 11, also was cut.
... The Chiefs selected James Winchester to serve as their long snapper, waiving Andrew East and 10 others. The Chiefs still need to cut four more players.
... The Panthers cut eight players, including former Michigan punter Matt Wile.
... The Titans waived 10 players, including center Fernando Velasco.
... Seventh-round draft pick Joey Iosefa was among 10 players released by the Buccaneers.
... Backup center J.D. Walton was released by the Dolphins, an indication center Mike Pouncey’s left knee injury isn’t serious. Pouncey hurt his knee Saturday night against the Falcons.