Texans beat Bucs 16-13


The Houston Texans never trailed Thursday defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16-13, in their preseason finale at Reliant Stadium, pushing their record to 3-1 in exhibition play in 2006, the first winning preseason in franchise history.

Houston used a bevy of players Thursday as David Carr, Andre Johnson and Mario Williams were among a number of Houston stars who took the night off as the Texans prepare to host the Philadelphia Eagles Sept. 10, in the regular season opener at Reliant Stadium.


Even with their stars resting,

's lone touchdown of the night.

"I just wanted to go out there and have a good game tonight," Smith said. Every year you have to come out and prove to the coaches and to your teammates that you can get the job done. I'm no spring chicken, so I have to show them something for them to keep me around."

Chris Taylor chipped in 68 yards on 17 carries and Kris Brown converted on three of four field goal attempts to round out the Texans' offensive attack. Head coach Gary Kubiak said the Texans will make their cut downs Friday to the mandated 53-man roster, a day early then the rest of the NFL.

and Smith's performances will give something for the first-year coach to think about as he looks to solidify his backfield.

"We have a lot of tough decisions to make," Kubiak said. "You have an idea of where you're headed and then you have to take into account everything that happened tonight."

Speaking of the backfield, back-up quarterbacks Quinton Porter and Cody Pickett saw extensive action for the Texans Thursday, each making his case for the third spot on the depth chart. Pickett went 4-8 for 33 yards, while Pickets went 8-11 through the air for 87 yards. Not spectacular numbers, but efficient as

committed zero turnovers for the second time this preseason.

On the exhibition season,

won the toss and elected to receive.

Led by Chris Simms,

managed one first down before N.D. Kalu got pressure up the middle on a third-and-four and Simms was forced to throw the ball away. It was Simms' lone drive of the game.

After a David Anderson fair catch at the 15-yard line, Sage Rosenfels took the

offense onto the field. A 12-yard reception by Derrick Lewis extended the Texans drive momentarily, but Rosenfels failed to find Owen Daniels on a third and four and a Chad Stanley punt found the back of the endzone giving the ball back to the Bucs at their own 20.

A sack by Travis Johnson on third down ended

's next drive with Tim Rattay at quarterback for the Bucs.

started scoring on their next possession thanks to strong blocking up front. Fueled by Smith's 46-yard run, the Texans made the score 7-0 with three minutes remaining in the first quarter, when Rosenfels found Bennie Joppru in the back of the endzone on a third and goal from the two. Owen Daniels also had a catch of 14 yards on the drive, which lasted just over four minutes and covered 75 yards.

Houston kept momentum by stuffing Earnest Graham on a fourth and short from Tampa Bay 's 36-yard line on

's next drive and the Texans took over on downs. A 12-yard run by Taylor put the Texans in scoring position. A screen pass to Taylor came up short on third down and a Kris Brown field goal attempt was blocked, keeping the score 7-0, in favor of Houston.

took advantage of their favorable field position and marched 61 yards on eight plays to get Matt Bryant into field goal range with just over 10 and half minutes remaining in the first half. Bryant connected from 28 yards to make the score 10-7, Houston .

Quinton Porter got

to midfield on his second drive of the game. Porter found Daniels for a 27-yard gain, but the drive stalled soon after and

took over at their own 14-yard line, but not for long.

Kevin Curtis collected his second interception of the preseason when Rattay tried to hook up with David Boston on a third-and-18. Curtis returned the ball 15 yards to the

29-yard line. From there Cody Picket moved Houston 15 yards to the Bucs' 13-yard line where Kris Brown connected on a 31-yard field goal with just under two minutes remaining in the half, making the score 10-3, Texans.

Houston forced Tampa Bay three-and-out on their next drive, and Picket got some work in the two-minute drill when

took over on their own 22-yard line with just over a minute left in the first half.  Picket responded by engineering a 56-yard drive and Brown converted on his second field goal of the day, this one from 40 yards, to make the score 13-3

, with two seconds left before halftime.

The Texans took control to start the second half at their own 40-yard line after Bryant's kick went out of bounds at the three.  Houston lost two yards, finding no offensive rhythm , and Chad Stanley booted a 46-yard punt to give possession back to

at their own 21.

Led by Bruce Gradkowski at quarterback,

went on their most impressive drive of the night. The Bucs went 79 yards for a touchdown on 13 plays in just over six and a half minutes. The drive was kept alive by a Gradkowski 14-yard scramble on fourth-and-six at the

  1. Wide receiver Tim Massaquoi hooked up with Gradkowski from five yards out to end the drive, making the score 13-10,

, with six and a half minutes left in the third quarter.

Houston couldn't mount a drive on their next possession and when Chad Stanley unleashed a 50-yard punt,

wide receiver Paris Warren escaped the Texans pursuit and returned the kick 34 yards to the Bucs' 49-yard line.

Capitalizing on their strong field position Tampa Bay crept inside the

ten-yard line, but the drive stalled on the six and the Bucs settled for a 24-yard field goal by Bryant.

's drive lasted just over four minutes and covered 45 yards, knotting the score at 13 to start the fourth quarter.

It appeared as though Houston would go three-and-out on their first drive of the final quarter, but

gambled on fourth down at their own 32-yard line. Needing just a yard, Pickett rushed up the middle for three to extend the

drive.  The play proved pivotal as Houston managed to push into Tampa Bay territory, taking over nine minutes off the clock on a 50-yard drive that culminated in a 30-yard field goal by Brown, giving Houston a 16-13, advantage, with just under six minutes remaining in the game.

That's all the points the Texans would need. Tampa Bay 's last drive of the game stalled in Bucs' territory and

took over with just over a minute and half remaining and ran down the clock, collecting their third win of the preseason, a franchise high.

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