Buccaneers 9, Texans 19
Alfred Blue's second-career 100-yard game couldn't have come at a better time for Houston. After the team dropped its first two games of the season, in which Blue rushed for a combined 48 yards, the offensive line paved the way for 187 yards on the ground with Blue's 139 yards leading the way.
With Duane Brown, Jeff Adams and Arian Foster out, the offense finally found a heartbeat. Oday Aboushi, acquired via the waiver wire from the Jets, filled in at left guard with Chris Clark getting his second start for Brown at left tackle.
This eased the pressure off Ryan Mallett's shoulders, who finished the game 24-39, 228 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The offensive line kept Mallett upright for most of the game, officially giving up just one sack for one yard. A Gerald McCoy's sack and strip was negated by a holding penalty by... you guessed it... D.J. Swearinger.
The passing game looked much improved from last week's debacle, though there were still a handful of drops (get it?) by the receivers. Still Mallett looked confident operating the offense, converting 8 of 18 third downs and generally making good decisions with the football.
Defensively, Jameis Winston was impressive in his third start but was ultimately unable to make the big plays that Cam Newton made last week. Winston and his offensive line negated much of the Texans' pass rush, holding J.J. Watt and company to zero sacks and six QB hits. However, it was the secondary that turned in a solid performance, led by Johnathan Joseph and Quintin Demps.
After two weeks Joseph looked like he was about to tumble down the depth chart. This week, Joseph frustrated Winston with five passes defensed and overall tight coverage of Jackson. Demps had one of his own and an interception. Rookie Kevin Johnson had all he could handle of Mike Evans but never looked beat or overwhelmed.
Other than that, the kicking game is suspect and the return game will continue to give us nightmares, but hey, we won!
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