Two weeks after a penalty-marred preseason opener in Baltimore, the Saints couldn’t stay ahead of the law against the Texans.
New Orleans was flagged 11 times for 148 yards, frustrating Payton once again.
At one point, rookie punt returner Marcus Murphy had a 13-yard return nullified by offsetting penalties that included an illegal block by Davis Tull, then Murphy returned the ensuing punt into field-goal territory, only to get it called back due to unnecessary roughness on linebacker Jerry Franklin.
“Penalties are still troublesome,” Payton said. “The hidden yards tonight were pretty significant. … That’s one area that I brought up post-game with the players that we’ve got to get cleaned up. That’ll cost us a game.”
The Saints are averaging 126.3 penalty yards per game in the preseason.
New Orleans was penalized 16 times for 143 yards against Baltimore and eight times for 88 yards against New England.
“There’s areas each week that you look at and say, hey, this is something that’s got to be better,” Payton said. “The penalties jump out.”