NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Saints entered their game with Houston worried about the Oilers' rookie running back, Eddie George. They should have worried about Chris Chandler.
Chandler, who sat out last week's game and part of the previous one because of an injury, threw for three touchdowns in the Oilers' 31-14 victory over the Saints Sunday.
"They caught us off guard," New Orleans cornerback Mark McMillian said. "We knew they had a good running back in Eddie George and the quarterback was coming off an injury, so we thought they would try to run the ball."
By the time George scored on a one-yard run in the third quarter to give the Oilers (6-4) a 28-6 lead, he was the least of New Orleans' worries. George, who had 808 yards in his first nine games, had been held to 27, including six on the 78-yard scoring drive.
"They had a lot of guys in the box early in the game," George said. "I just read the holes and took what they gave me. I wasn't trying to bust an 80-yard run, I was trying to slowly but surely wear them down."
George finished with 91 yards in 25 carries, but Ronnie Harmon gave the Saints (2-8) bigger problems. He ran for 47 yards and caught seven passes for 108 and a touchdown as the Oilers ended a two-game losing streak.
"We always wanted to get the ball in [Harmon's] hands," Chandler said. "Teams used to bring a lot of pressure inside to keep him in blocking situations. We learned how to use him in other situations."
Chandler was 13 for 21 for 173 yards and three touchdowns, including his first seven attempts for 99 yards and two scores.