TAMPA-Just ten minutes into the first quarter, Tampa Bay gave the home crowd at Raymond James Stadium something to cheer about when running back Aaron Stecker scampered into the end zone on a three-yard touchdown run.
After winning the coin toss, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers elected to receive but never made it past the half-way plane on the turf. Houston's first-string defense quickly stifled the Bucs running game and linebacker Charlie Clemons forced a Tom Tupa punt after sacking quarterback Brad Johnson.
Tampa Bay's defense quickly answered while the Texans offense went three-and-out and sent possession back over to the Bucs, now led by quarterback Shaun King.
King quickly drove his unit downfield, hitting receiver Joe Jurevicius for a 14-yard gain to the Texans 33. On the next play, tight end Karl Williams hauled in a 13-yard King pass to advance Tampa Bay to the Texans 13. The 59-yard drive was capped by Stecker's three-yard hand-off into the end zone to give Tampa Bay an early 7-0 lead.
Carr game in for his second series of the night but wasn't able to lead the Texans offense on a productive scoring drive and Stanley was called in for punting duty.
The Bucs offense took over heading into the second quarter and King marched his troops 70 yards down the field where kicker Martin Gramatica booted through a 23-yarder to extend the Bucs lead 10-0 with plenty of time before the end of the half.
Quarterback Tony Banks entered the game for Houston but the offense stalled on their scoring opportunity and Stanley punted the ball away, giving the Bucs possession on the Houston 45.
Running back Thomas Jones took part in most of the action, gaining five yards on the ground before snatching King's 15-yard strike. Thomas' gains put Stecker in position to make his second touchdown of the night when his 25-yard run into the far left corner of the end zone gave Tampa Bay a commanding 17-0 lead.* *
Stanley was soon called for more punting action after the Texans offense wasn't able to move the chains. King didn't waste any time hitting his targets to invade Houston territory. After 58 yards, he hit tight end Will Heller for a five-yard scoring hit to give extend the Bucs lead 24-0.
Houston's offense had one last chance to put some points on the scoreboard before heading into the locker room but the Bucs defense quicly put an end to any hopes. Defensive end Dewayne White deflected Banks' attempted pass, putting it into the hands of linebacker Jack Golden. Golden handed the overturned ball to safety Jermaine Phillips who added on a few extra yards. With just three seconds remaining in the half, Gramatica trotted onto the field and kicked 56-yards, splitting the goal post to give Tampa Bay a dominant 27-0 lead at halftime.
Houston received to start the second half and returned with one mission, finding the end zone. The plan was successful and the Texans managed to eat 8:36 seconds off of the third quarter time clock. Though it was a field goal, Houston was able to put some points on the board after Kris Brown was called into kick a 37-yard field goal to put the score at 27-3 still in favor of Tampa Bay. Tony Hollings had multiple carries during the Texans 46-yard drive, including a clutch 4th and 1 conversion to give the offense their scoring opportunity.
The Bucs offense struck back when quarterback Chris Simms led his charges on their final scoring rampage of the night. Simms connected with receiver Fabian Davis on a 10-yard reception while fullback Jameel Cook added runs of 22 yards and one yard to put the Bucs offense just two yards out. Simms found Davis in the back of the end zone to seal the Bucs 34-3 victory in both teams final preseason game.
Carr finished the night with one completion for 12 yards while Banks completed nine passes for 54 yards. Ragone completed four of his eight pass attempts and each passer took a sack. On defense, the Texans unit produced a combined three sacks for an 18 negative yards on the Bucs quarterbacks while linebacker Jimmy McClain led the defense with nine tackles and cornerback Jason Bell finished with seven stops and one pass defensed.