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Bucs starters shine in win over Texans

After slow start, the Buccaneers hit a mid-season stride through the rest of the first half

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won their final warm-up game, beating the Houston Texans 23-16 inside NRG Stadium in Houston. Less than two weeks away from raising their championship banner and kicking off the NFL season, we were expecting the starters to play the entire first half.

They didn’t need that long.

Here are some of the players that stood out Saturday night;

Tom Brady

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Yeah, it’s low hanging fruit, I know. However, when your quarterback throws ten consecutive completions following a three-and-out and -8 yards on their first drive, you have to tip your cap and give them their due. Brady finished 11/14 - a Mike Evans drop was the only thing standing between Brady and twelve straight completions - for 154 yards and a touchdown. An abysmal opening drive followed by two touchdown drives of over 90 yards each was enough to get Brady the rest of the night off after just three drives.

Chris Godwin

Three of those eleven completions by Brady went to Chris Godwin - who had an average yards per reception of 28.0 - as he finished with 84 yards and a touchdown. He didn’t lead the team in targets or receptions but he did lead in yards as Brady found Godwin for explosive plays on the two scoring drives. If this is any glimpse into how the two players will connect throughout the season, Godwin is in for a massive year.

Joe Tryon-Shoyinka

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

This guy had no business falling to the Bucs at 32 in the 2021 NFL Draft. On back to back plays, Tryon-Shoyinka absolutely bulldozed Texans running back Phillip Lindsay at the line of scrimmage then had a strip sack of quarterback Davis Mills. Even following a neutral zone infraction that he was called for, Tryon-Shoyinka hit Houston’s running back Scottie Phillips for a two yard loss. The rookie out of Washington has been a force in every game this preseason and he’s going to be a special player in the league.

Kyle Trask

Getting the chance to play with some guys like Tyler Johnson, Jayden Mickens, and Jalen Darden allowed Trask to put a little more on display in terms of his talent. On a drive in the third quarter, Trask went 5/5 for 84 yards and a touchdown. He made some mistakes, sure, but it’s nice to see some decent developments out of the Bucs second round pick. Trask finished 12/14 for 146 and a touchdown.

Dee Delaney/Herb Miller

In a tight battle for the fifth cornerback spot, Miller and Delaney appeared to take their battle to a new level. Miller came up with a second quarter interception which would lead to the Bucs unfortunately going three and out on the ensuing drive. However, not be outdone, Delaney came up with an interception himself, That interception would lead to a field goal for the Buccaneers before halftime. Finally, Delaney had the game clincher with 1:41 remaining in the fourth quarter. A cornerback battle that will come down to the wire.

Jalen Darden

Though he didn’t have any “wow” plays, Darden was given the majority of special teams return duty. Now, that doesn’t mean he has the job locked up. In fact, quite the opposite. Bruce Arians told the media that it was his job to “win,” implying that Mickens still has a hold on and would like him back there to handle kicks and punts. However, Darden showed his impressive speed and quickness on those returns. Don’t be surprised if Darden is the man back to return the first kick or punt heading the Bucs’ way against the Dallas Cowboys.

The roster questions will be answered on Tuesday, but there were a few players out there stating a strong case as to why they should be sticking around.