Houston's Andre Johnson had 131 yards receiving before halftime in his first extended work of the preseason Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.
But the New Orleans backups scored two touchdowns in the second half to help the Saints to a 31-23 victory.
Johnson didn't play in the preseason opener and had less than a quarter of work last week. On Sunday, he grabbed seven of the eight passes thrown to him, highlighted by a 39-yard reception.
Matt Schaub threw for 213 yards for Houston (2-1), and Ben Tate had 74 yards rushing and a score filling in for Arian Foster.
Drew Brees threw for 104 yards and a touchdown for New Orleans (3-0) before sitting out after the third possession. With Marques Colston still out with a left foot injury, rookie fifth-round pick Kenny Stills continued to impress with 54 yards receiving and a touchdown.
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