clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bucs lead Texans 9-7 in close game at the half

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a 9-7 lead after a close first half where the Bucs defense struggled to contain Ryan Mallett and company, while Jameis Winston consistently found Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson down the field for big plays.

The Texans went with a hurry-up offense and quick throws, trying to pick apart the Bucs secondary the same way the Titans did in week one. That worked surprisingly well, even more so when Johnthan Banks left the field with a knee injury, and the result was a short touchdown to DeAndre Hopkins who destroyed Tim Jennings at the line early on -- though that would be Houston's only score in the first half.

The second quarter was more in favor of the Bucs, though. Winston started to find Mike Evans down the field, which led to a 58-yard Kyle Brindza field goal. But Tampa Bay continued to struggle with the Texans' quick throws on defense, and couldn't really stop the run either -- uncharacteristic for a group that's been stout on the ground for years now. Especially surprising given Houston's struggles to run the ball, and their injury-wracked offensive line. But Kwon Alexander stepped up, diving for a tipped pass to give the Bucs the opportunity to do this:

One missed extra point later, and it was 9-7, Bucs. The Texans drove down the field again and seemed to be ready to take the lead on a short field goal, but Keith Bullock managed to miss the 43-yarder to preserve Tampa Bay's lead. Winston got a chance to extend that lead, but a Mike Evans drop prevented them from getting into field goal range before the half ended.

The Bucs have some things to fix if they want to win this game. Their run defense has been getting gashed by Alfred Blue, giving up 61 yards on 14 carries to the back, while Ryan Mallett has completed 13 of his 19 attempts for 122 yards, consistently finding room on quick passes -- his one interception a result of a tipped pass. Meanwhile, the Bucs need to find a way to get their anemic running game going on offense -- though Jameis Winston has looked pretty good so far, completing eight of 16 passes for 140 yards, a touchdown, no turnovers and no sacks.