The Week 9 Buccaneers-Texans matchup began with a first-quarter shootout with three lead changes.
Tampa Bay took an early 3-0 lead after a turnover on the Texans opening series. C.J. Stroud's pass to Dalton Schultz was caught but punched out by LB Lavonte David and recovered by the Bucs. Baker Mayfield and the offense took over at the Houston 42-yard line, but the Texans defense held the Bucs to a 35-yard field goal.
Stroud responded with 21-yard pass to Schultz to begin Houston's second offensive series and a 15-yard throw to Tank Dell two plays later. After a roughing the passer penalty on Tampa Bay, Stroud bounced back with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Nico Collins. With 9:14 left in the quarter, Houston took a 7-3 lead after the seven-play, 75-yard scoring drive.
On the next drive, the Bucs drove down the field with their own 75-yard scoring drive. A 33-yard catch-and-run by RB Rachaad White kicked off the drive to get the Bucs into Houston territory. Mayfield threw his first touchdown of the game on a three-yard pass to TE Cade Otton. Tampa Bay regained the lead, up 10-7 with 2:19 left in the quarter.
The Bucs ended the first quarter with third-and-17 at their own 27-yard line.
END OF FIRST QUARTER: Buccaneers 10, Texans 7
With 9:05 left in the second quarter, White scored on a one-yard touchdown run to give the Bucs a 17-7 lead. Mayfield threw a 16-yard pass to Mike Evans to get Tampa Bay to the Houston 24-yard line. Texans safeties Jimmie Ward and M.J. Stewart were both injured on the drive and were questionable to return.
Ka'imi Fairbairn kicked a 50-yard field goal on the ensuing drive for Houston.
Houston's defense forced a three-and-out to give the Texans offense possession with 3:00 remaining but the Texans finished the half without another scoring drive.
HALFTIME: Buccaneers 17, Texans 10
Injuries continued to mount for Houston. Kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn (quadricep) was ruled out for the second half. RB Dare Ogunbowale took over and delivered a 61-yard kickoff to begin the third quarter. On third-and-10, Tavierre Thomas and Steven Nelson had a stop on Otton and the Bucs settled for a field goal. Tampa Bay led 20-10 following the 49-yard kick.
On the first play of the Texans first offensive possession of the second half, Stroud threw a pass to WR Noah Brown who scored a 75-yard touchdown. After a failed two-point conversion, the Texans trailed 20-16 with 12:20 left in the third quarter.
The Texans held the Bucs offense to second field goal, a 55-yard kick, on the following possession. Tampa Bay led 23-16.
Stroud found Collins for a 21-yard pass play. On third-and-11, Schultz caught a 26-yard pass to extend the drive. Stroud threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Dell to cap off the six-play, 79-yard scoring drive. With no Fairbairn, the Texans went for two but were unsuccessful, trailing 23-22 with 5:59 left in the third quarter.
Houston's defense had the Bucs punting from their own endzone after Khalil Davis sacked Mayfield for a loss of nine yards on third down. The Texans offense took over at their own 48-yard line after a seven-yard return by Dell.
Houston ended the third quarter with a second-and-goal from the Tampa Bay eight-yard line.
END OF THIRD QUARTER: Buccaneers 23, Texans 22
Stroud threw his fourth touchdown of the day to Schultz and then followed it up with a successful two-point conversion with a run up the middle. The Texans took a 30-23 lead.
Mayfield fired back with a 53-yard pass to Evans, who was tackled at the one-yard line. Two plays later, White scored on a one-yard touchdown run, his second of the game. The Texans and Bucs were tied at 30.
Ogunbowale, handling kickoff duties for the injured Fairbairn, successfully kicked the go-ahead field goal from 29 yards to give Houston a 33-30 lead with 8:54 left in the game.
With 1:13 remaining, Mayfield scrambled for a first down on fourth-and-2 to get the Bucs into field-goal territory. Tavierre Thomas forced a fumble on WR Trey Palmer, but Evans recovered the ball for TB for a first down at the 14-yard line. Mayfield threw his second touchdown of the day to Otton to give the Bucs a 37-33 lead with 0:46 left in the game.
With two timeouts left, Stroud and the offense took the field. Stroud threw a 14-yard pass to Schultz and then a six-yard pass at the Houston 39-yard line, calling a timeout after each completion. Dell caught a 26-yard pass and ran out of bounds at the Tampa Bay 15-yard line. Stroud threw his fifth touchdown of the day, a 15-yard score to Dell in the endzone. Stroud took a knee on the two-point conversion and the Texans took a 39-37 lead with 0:06 left in the game.
FINAL SCORE: Buccaneers 37, Texans 39