HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – The Houston Texans were able to overcome a slow start versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to get their first victory of the season 19-9 on Sunday. The Texans leaned heavily on Alfred Blue out of the backfield to the tune of 31 rushes for 139-yards and a touchdown that sealed the Texans victory in the fourth quarter.
Ryan Mallett threw the ball 39 times, completing 24 passes for 228 yards and a touchdown. He also was intercepted once on the day, but did enough handling the Texans offense at faster pace than in the team’s first two games of the season.
While the Texans were able to hold off the Buccaneers, the special teams for both teams were sub-par all around, with three fumbled punts and four missed field goals between the two teams.
The Texans second drive of the game saw them move the ball with ease. Ryan Mallett got the drive started with completions to DeAndre Hopkins, Garrett Graham, and Cecil Shorts moving the Texans deep into Tampa territory. Alfred Blue would get the Texans closer with a few nice runs. Mallett would punch it in with a five-yard laser to Hopkins to make it 7-0 Texans.
The Texans would punt on their next drive allowing the Buccaneers to take over. They would move the ball through the air with Mike Evans before settling for a 58-yard field goal off the foot of Kyle Brindza to make it 7-3 Texans.
The teams would trade punts until the Texans had another turnover deep in their own territory occur. Mallett’s pass would get deflected then intercepted allowing the Buccaneers to take over on the Texans 28-yard line. Tampa would score on a screen pass to make it 9-7 Buccaneers, after a missed extra point, with just under four minutes to play before halftime.
The ensuing Texans drive would move down the field before stalling out after back-to-back incompletions to Hopkins. Randy Bullock would miss a 43-yard field goal and the score remained 9-7. The Buccaneers would punt and the Texans would take the 9-7 deficit into halftime.
A promising Texans drive was set up by a Quintin Demps interception on the initial Tampa drive in the third quarter. The Texans would stall however settling for a 38-yard field goal making it 10-9.
The Texans would escape disaster after Chandler Worthy fumbled a punt and Whitney Mercilus recovered it. The Texans would punt deep in their own territory and a good return set the Buccaneers up near midfield. Jonathan Joseph would break-up a Winston pass to Vincent Jackson forcing a Buccaneers field goal which Brindza missed from 41-yards out.
The teams would trade punts and early in the fourth the Buccaneers would get a drive deep into the Texans territory. It would again end with a missed field goal by Brindza keeping the score at 10-9.
DeAndre Hopkins and Ryan Mallett would strike right away with a big completion for 30 yards with 15 more tacked on thanks to a facemask penalty. Another chunk completion to Shorts set up a big Alfred Blue run. He would scamper 20 yards to the house. Randy Bullock would miss the extra point leaving the score 16-9 with over nine minutes left.
After a Tampa punt, the Texans would methodically drive down the field led by a few nice Alfred Blue carries. Jay Prosch would also have a nice carry to set the Texans up deep on the five-yard line. The drive finished with a 19-yard field goal by Randy Bullock to make the lead two scores at 19-9.
The Bucs tried a long field goal with time on the clock, needing two scores, but Brindza missed his third field goal of the day. That sealed the victory for the Texans.
Houston travels to Atlanta next week to face the Falcons while the Bucs will host division rival Carolina Panthers.