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What we learned on Saturday night

Pierre Thomas, Mario Williams

New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas (23) is tackled by Houston Texans linebacker Mario Williams (90) in the first quarter of a preseason NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 20, 2011, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)


America’s favorite running segment quickly summarizing preseason games is back. Check out Thursday and Friday’s “what we learned” or go back to Week One of the preseason if you dare.

Texans 27, Saints 14

1. Houston’s offense absolutely steamrolled New Orleans’ vanilla-looking group. (The two teams play again in Week Three.) Arian Foster and Ben Tate look plenty healthy running the ball.

2. The Saints lost free agent pickup Aubrayo Franklin to a sprained MCL.

3. The play of Saints undrafted rookie receiver Joe Morgan is becoming hard to ignore.

4. Mario Williams showed improvement in his second game at outside linebacker.

49ers 17, Raiders 3

1. Alex Smith moved the ball better this time around with some long drives, but the 49ers starters only scored three points. Rookie backup Colin Kaepernick looked solid as well, but Smith looks locked into the starting job.

2. Jason Campbell left the game early and was tested for a concussion after. Oakland’s offense has struggled in all facets in two preseason games.

3. 49ers rookie Kendall Hunter hasn’t overly impressed in camp, but he was dynamic last night. The kid has rare speed and terrific moves in the open field. If Hunter can pass protect, he should get a lot of run behind Frank Gore.

4. Braylon Edwards made a big impact with a beautiful long catch. With Michael Crabtree hurt, Edwards was a key pickup.

Rams 17, Titans 16

1. Except for a 83-yard score to Brandon Gibson on a blown coverage early, Sam Bradford and the Rams starting offese struggled. It was 16-7 Titans at halftime.

2. Matt Hasselbeck left the game early, but it wasn’t a serious injury. Jake Locker once again looked promising in relief, but not so promising that he should be starting. Locker was inaccurate on a number of throws.

It’s been a nice preseason overall for both Titans quarterbacks.

3. No one really stepped up in the Rams receiver battle. Gibson looks like the No. 1 guy at the moment and it’s unclear after that.

Broncos 24, Bills 10

1. Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn both looked sharp for the Broncos. Tim Tebow barely played.

2. Willis McGahee looks a little revived in Denver. The Broncos have been effective running in both preseason games, with McGahee back to his role as touchdown vulture.

3. Buffalo’s offensive line was overmatched, especially left tackle Demetrius Bell.

4. Really, there wasn’t a lot of positives for the Bills. C.J. Spiller didn’t show he was worthy of starting. Running back Johnny White and wide receiver Donald Jones both left after taking nasty hits.

Vikings 20, Seahawks 7

1. Tarvaris Jackson didn’t look great, but Seattle’s offensive line was the real problem Saturday night.

2. Seahawks fans (and Lawyer Milloy) are straining to see Charlie Whitehurst as the answer. His YPA is under 5.5 in two outings. This preseason hasn’t told us much.

3. Minnesota’s short passing game was pretty effective under Donovan McNabb. Rookie Christian Ponder looked like a rookie again. We’re not sure if he’s much ahead of Joe Webb at this point, if at all.