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Houston Texans

Texans fall to Bucs 16-6


The Texans' defense started strong.

The Texans closed the 2008 preseason looking for a few good men to round out the final spots on their 53-man roster.

Several players made strong cases for themselves with inspired performances. But the efforts were not enough to give the Texans their second winning preseason under coach Gary Kubiak.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers rolled to a 16-6 win at Reliant Stadium in a game that featured mostly backups fighting for their jobs. The loss gives the Texans a 2-2 preseason record for the second year in a row.

"I think we have 10 tough decisions that could go either way when we look at this film," Kubiak said afterward. "There may be some other things that go into that decision process, but I think we know corner was a decision."

Offensive starters such as quarterback Matt Schaub, wide receiver Kevin Walter and tight end Owen Daniels sat out. While linebacker DeMeco Ryans, defensive end Mario Williams and cornerback Fred Bennett were among the defenders who watched from the sidelines.

That opened up a golden opportunity for fringe players like quarterbacks Shane Boyd and Alex Brink and former defensive starters Demarcus Faggins and Anthony Maddox.

Boyd and Brink combined to complete 12-of-28 passes for 98 yards and an interception. Neither quarterback seemed to take a convincing lead in the race for the third spot on the quarterback depth chart. Eight of their 12 drives ended in punts, while only one series finished in points when Boyd moved his unit into field goal range late in the first half.

Meanwhile, Faggins and Maddox saved their best for last by totaling seven tackles in the game. One of the last original Texans still with the organization, Faggins came out on fire with five stops and a pass defensed in the first half. Two of his tackles forced an eventual missed field goal and a failed fourth down conversion, respectively.

"Last game of the preseason, you always want to go out there and kind of leave a good impression on them for when they look at your phone number in the morning, they'll be like, 'Well, let me just put this phone number in the back,'" Faggins said. "So hopefully that'll work out for me tomorrow."

Maddox, on the other hand, had a sack and an interception in the span of three snaps on the opening drive of the second half.

{QUOTE}But the Texans had to leave the game most pleased with kicker Kris Brown, who followed up a clutch regular season last year with a banner preseason. He kicked 53- and 41-yard field goals against the Buccaneers to make him a perfect 10-for-10 this preseason.

The 53-yard attempt gave the Texans an early lead after the opening drive. Quarterback Sage Rosenfels moved the Texans into scoring position by completing his first three passes for 39 yards.

On Tampa Bay's opening series, Faggins stuffed running back Clifton Smith for a one-yard loss on third-and-five from the Houston 35, forcing a 54-yard field goal that Matt Bryant missed short.

With excellent field position at their 44-yard line, the Texans' offense began its second possession with Boyd behind center. The drive stalled, though, after a three-and-out.

Faggins re-emerged on the Bucs' second drive when he stopped wide receiver Maurice Stovall two yards short of the first down at the Houston 27. On fourth down, running back Michael Bennett was stuffed by linebacker Ben Moffitt and defensive end Tim Bulman for no gain.

The Bucs took the lead early in the second quarter when wide receiver Dexter Jackson returned Matt Turk's punt 83 yards down the Texans' sideline for a touchdown.

On Turk's next punt, the Texans narrowly missed a takeaway when wide receiver Michael Spurlock muffed the catch at the Tampa Bay 23. The ball eventually was recovered at the 37-yard line by defensive lineman Jimmy Wilkerson.

Boyd returned to the field after Bryant missed his second field goal of the game - this time from 36 yards - to give the Texans the ball at their 26-yard line.

The first-year signal-caller finally found a rhythm with 1:55 left in the first half by completing four passes for 40 yards. Wide receiver Mark Simmons made the fifth catch of the series for 18 yards to the Tampa Bay 23, setting up Brown's 41-yard field goal on the final play before halftime.

Maddox made his presence felt early in the third quarter with a sack for a seven-yard loss on Chris Simms. Two plays later, Maddox picked off Simms' pass near the line of scrimmage and returned it two yards to the Buccaneers' 43-yard line.

Brink, a rookie seventh-round pick from Washington State, stepped in for Boyd in the second half, but his pass to Simmons on third-and-six from the 39-yard line fell short to force a punt.

After a scoreless third quarter, the Buccaneers extended their lead thanks to Bryant's 40-yard field goal with 13:28 left in the game that finished Tampa Bay's 10-play, 55-yard drive over 4:26.

A defensive pass interference penalty on rookie cornerback Antwaun Molden, who was called for an arm bar on Jackson, moved the Buccaneers 31 yards to the Houston 27 on their next possession. Six plays later, Bryant hit a 29-yard field goal to make the score 13-6 with 9:10 remaining in the contest.

Tampa Bay moved into scoring position again a little more than three minutes later when Brink rolled to his right and threw an errant pass down the sideline that was intercepted by linebacker Geno Hayes near midfield.

Bulman returned the favor, though, when he blew past an offensive lineman to disrupt the Buccaneers' backfield. The play resulted in a fumbled handoff that rookie defensive end Jesse Nading recovered at the Houston 32 with 4:04 left in the game.

After a failed fourth down conversion with Boyd leading the offense, the Bucs added a 31-yard field goal to put the game out of reach.

Injury report

  • Tackle Rashad Butler left the game in the third quarter with a sprained right shoulder.
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