Texans 14

(1-3, 0-2 away)

Buccaneers 38

(2-2, 1-1 home)

7:30 PM ET, September 1, 2005


1 2 3 4 T
HOU 0 0 7 714
TB 10 14 14 038

Tampa Bay 38, Houston 14

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- David Carr and the Houston Texans didn't look like a team with less than two weeks left to get ready for the regular season.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers intercepted Carr twice in the first quarter, converting the turnovers into a field goal and touchdown on the way to a 38-14 rout of the Texans in the final preseason game for both teams.

"I didn't feel comfortable, didn't feel like we had any rhythm in our offense," Carr said. "It's not really frustrating. But you kind of question why you didn't go out and execute."

Backup quarterback Chris Simms threw for 163 yards and three TDs for the Bucs (2-2), who didn't allow Houston (1-3) to score until third-string quarterback Dave Ragone teamed with Sloan Thomas on a 74-yard pass play late in the third quarter.

Young Tampa Bay receivers Edell Shepherd, J.R. Russell and Paris Warren scored on receptions from Simms, who completed 12 of 16 passes. Luke McCown tossed a 20-yard TD pass to Nate Lawrie to make it 38-0 midway through the third quarter.

"We have some young guys here we are excited about," Bucs coach Jon Gruden said. "Chris Simms the last three games has played extremely well. ... It's good to have a young quarterback with that kind of talent."

One of Tampa Bay's priorities on defense this preseason was improving the unit's performance early in games. After giving up a long touchdown drive on the opening possession of last week's 17-14 loss at Miami, Gruden felt it was important to set the tone for the Sept. 11 season opener at Minnesota.

Mission accomplished.

Juran Bolden and Ronde Barber intercepted Carr, setting up Matt Bryant's 52-yard field goal and Mike Alstott's 1-yard touchdown run for a 10-0 lead. The Texans went three-and-out on their only other drive against the Bucs' starters.

Brian Griese was 5-of-7 for 39 yards in the three series he worked for the Bucs, leaving after leading the six-play, 26-yard drive that produced Alstott's touchdown. Simms replaced Griese and threw a 23-yard TD pass to Shepherd on his first drive.

It was 24-0 by the time Houston's No. 1 offense gave way to backups late in the second quarter. Carr finished 1-of-5 for 4 yards and two interceptions, and the Texans' starters were limited to one first down on five possessions.

"David hasn't played well," said Texans coach Dom Capers, whose team opens at Buffalo.

"We need to be on the top of our game before we go to Buffalo. David knows we have work to do, and I am convinced we will watch tapes, go back to work and get things squared away."

Tampa Bay's first-team defense worked seven plays, allowing 9 yards. Bolden picked off Carr's first pass of the night on third down, and Barber's interception came on the first play of Houston's third possession.

"Obviously, we wanted to play better than we played last week, come out of the gates a little faster," Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks said. "We had an opportunity to make some plays ... and we did."

Bryant may have sealed Tampa Bay's kicking job with his long field goal on the first drive. He finished the preseason 4-of-5, the only miss coming on a 53-yarder on the final play of a three-point loss to Jacksonville.

Derick Armstrong scored Houston's second touchdown on an 18-yard pass from Ragone in the fourth quarter.

Game notes

Ragone was 6-of-13 for 172 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. ... DE Andrew Williams, acquired off waivers from San Francisco on Tuesday, had a fourth-quarter sack for Tampa Bay. ... Despite being dominated, the Texans were only outgained 327-305. Much of the yardage came on two plays, Ragone's 74-yard completion to Thomas and a 46-yard reception by Jerome Mathis.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


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