HOUSTON (AP) — Time after time on Sunday, Derek Carr and the New Orleans Saints had chances to score against the Houston Texans.
And time and again they failed to do so in a 20-13 loss.
“I was livid coming off the field,” Carr said. “I had to calm down a little bit. We as an offense (missed) too many details. If we just do those things right, we would’ve scored 28 points.”
The Saints (3-3) had already missed two field goals when they got the ball back trailing by 7 in the fourth quarter. Carr threw a 51-yard pass to Rashid Shaheed to get them to the Houston 35.
Five consecutive runs by Alvin Kamara got them to the 14. But Carr’s pass to Kamara on fourth-and-4 was short to give Houston the ball back with 4½ minutes to go.
Shaquill Griffin and Blake Cashman combined to take Kamara down near the Texans sideline where coach DeMeco Ryans celebrated with his defense.
Houston (3-3) couldn’t move the ball after that and punted it back. New Orleans got to the Houston 24 on the next drive, but Carr’s throw on fourth-and-10 was intercepted by Steven Nelson with 21 seconds left to secure the win.
“Just way too many mistakes and way too many missed opportunities,” coach Dennis Allen said. “We’ve got to do a better job of executing our jobs. If we’re not executing our jobs, then we need to find somebody else to execute those jobs.”
Carr threw for a season-high 353 yards and a touchdown as the Saints lost for the third time in four games after opening the season 2-0.
Carr, who is in his first year with the Saints after nine seasons with the Raiders, is disappointed that they’ve fallen to .500 after a strong start.
“It’s not what I wanted and not what I expected,” he said. “You look in the mirror. We have a lot of problem solvers and not problem creators. So, it’s up to us as leaders to make sure we’re solving problems and not creating more.”
Both Carr and Allen were particularly unhappy with the miscommunication between the quarterback and his receivers Sunday. Allen was asked what led to those problems.
“I wish I had the answer because if I did, we’d have it fixed,” he said. “It’s an area that has to get better. At the end of the day, that ends up costing you games. I thought we moved the ball efficiently, but then we have negative plays, and it’s hard to overcome that. There’s certainly a lot of things that we’ve got to clean up.”
Along with their offensive woes, the Saints also squandered a big opportunity on defense early.
Houston rookie C.J. Stroud was intercepted for the first time this season when Zack Baun grabbed one of his passes with about six minutes left in the first quarter.
But receiver Nico Collins hit Baun after the interception and forced a fumble, which was recovered by Tytus Howard, to give the Texans the ball back.
Stroud put the Texans up 7-0 when he threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Schultz.
“That’s a big momentum change in the game,” Allen said. “We were going to take over in their territory, but instead we give them the ball right back and they go down and capitalize on it. That was a very big play.”
The only touchdown for the Saints came when they tied it at 7-7 when Carr connected with Shaheed on a 34-yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter.
The Saints won’t have long to find solutions to their problems with a Thursday night game against Jacksonville this week. The Jaguars have won three in a row since a loss to the Texans.
“We’ll swallow it and let’s go,” Allen said. “We don’t have a lot of time to sit around and feel sorry for ourselves. This is a big man’s league, so we’ll get ourselves up off the mat and get ready for Jacksonville.”