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|11-28-2015, 11:20 PM||#1|
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Texans look for 4th straight win when Saints visit
With 68 1/2 career sacks J.J. Watt certainly doesn't remember the details of every single one.
That's not the case with his first one.
Houston's star defensive end recalls every aspect of that takedown and reminisced on it this week as he prepares to face the man who was the recipient, Drew Brees.
Watt was a rookie in 2011 when he burst up the middle and put up his hand to bat down a throw by Brees. That motion made Brees pull the ball down and Watt pounced on him for the sack.
"It's a neat experience," Watt said. "Drew Brees is such a great player. I have so much respect for him, so for my first-ever sack in the NFL to be against Drew Brees. That was pretty cool."
The Saints quarterback remembered that game, but didn't realize he was part of Watt's first sack.
"He's had a lot of them since then ... he's destined for the Hall of Fame and a lot of other things," Brees said. "So yeah, I'll take that as a fun trivia question that I can be a part of later on."
Watt was so excited after that first sack he didn't know what to do. So he simply looked over at Houston's sideline and saluted, which has now become his signature move after a sack.
"It's been a long time since then," Watt said. "There have been a lot of them, but your first one is always pretty neat."
So did Watt say anything to Brees after that sack.
"I'm not going to say anything to Drew Brees," Watt said. "I'm not dumb."
Four years after that takedown both players continue to pace their teams. Watt enters Sunday's game leading the NFL with 11 1/2 sacks. Brees is second in the NFL with 330.2 yards passing a game.
The Texans (5-5) have won three consecutive games for the first time since 2012 and the Saints (4-6) are coming off a bye that followed a two-game skid that cost defensive coordinator Rob Ryan his job.
Some things to know about the Saints-Texans game.
FACING CHANGE: Texans coach Bill O'Brien has already experienced how an opponent can benefit from at least a temporary jolt after a coaching change. So he wants his team to be mindful of that as Houston braces for a visit by a Saints team with a new defensive coordinator in Dennis Allen, who takes over for Ryan.
"I've definitely seen that. We've seen that this year when we went up against the Miami Dolphins and with the head coach being changed and they came out there and beat us solid," said O'Brien, whose Texans lost 44-26 to the Dolphins in Dan Campbell's second game as interim head coach.
HOYER RETURNS: Houston quarterback Brian Hoyer will start Sunday after missing the last game with a concussion. T.J. Yates took over for him in the third quarter against Cincinnati after he was injured and threw the winning touchdown pass before helping Houston to a win last week. Hoyer was playing well before he was injured and has thrown at least two touchdown passes in five of his last six starts.
ALLEN'S PATH: Allen, a former Texas A&M safety, is in the first season of his second tenure with New Orleans. He was a defensive assistant from Payton's first season in 2006 until 2010. Allen coached the secondary in 2009, when the Saints won the Super Bowl, clinching the victory when cornerback Tracy Porter jumped a route and returned an interception of Peyton Manning for a touchdown.
"He does a great job of preparing players," said Saints defensive line coach Bill Johnson, who was a coach at A&M when Allen played there. "He gives his players a lot of information to help them in certain situations."
HOPKINS' HANDS: Everyone knows about the amazing one-handed catching abilities of Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., but this season, Houston's DeAndre Hopkins is giving him a run for his money. Hopkins has snagged numerous catches this year with one hand, including one where he used one hand to trap the ball on his helmet.
"I really only coached one other guy that was able to do that like that and that's Randy Moss," O'Brien said. "He does them all the time at practice ... (he's able) to do that ... because of the size of his hands and the strength of his hands. It's a big attribute of his."
AP Sports Writer Brett Martel contributed to this report.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL