Gameday: Texans at Bucs

Here is the game capsule for Thursday's final preseason game between Houston and Tampa Bay at Raymond James Stadium:

What to expect

Plenty of second- and third-string players battling for the few remaining roster spots.

Backup quarterbacks Bruce Gradkowski and Luke McCown to see the majority of the first-half playing time.

For Chris Simms to finally see some meaningful snaps — maybe.

What not to expect

For many of the veteran starters to even play, including QB Jeff Garcia.

For TE Alex Smith and OT Jeremy Trueblood to play. They're both out with injuries.

Game capsule

Date: Thursday

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET

Site: Raymond James Stadium (65,908)

2007 Preseason Records: Tampa Bay 2-1, Houston 2-1

Buccaneers Television: WFLA-TV; Play-By-Play: Chris Myers; Color: Charles Davis. Sideline: JP Peterson and Doug Graber

Bucs Radio: US 103.5, flagship station (103.5 FM, 620 AM); Play-by-Play: Gene Deckerhoff; Color: Dave Moore; Sideline: T.J. Rives.

Up Next: Tampa Bay at Seattle (Sept. 9), Houston vs. Kansas City (Sept. 9)

Last Game: Tampa Bay d. Miami, 31-28; Houston d. Dallas, 28-16

LAST GAME RECAP

Tampa Bay 31, Miami 28 (Aug. 25)

MIAMI - In a game that featured seven lead changes, Tampa Bay scored with 4:51 remaining in the contest to earn its second win of the preseason and fourth exhibition victory over Miami in the past six seasons. Following a Buccaneers punt on their opening drive, Miami took over at its 10-yard line and two plays later handed Tampa Bay a 7-0 lead as LB Cato June wrestled the ball from the hands of RB Ronnie Brown and returned the interception two yards for the score. Miami answered on its next possession, marching 73 yards on 18 plays to tie the score at 7-7 on a Green to TE David Martin one- yard touchdown pass. On Tampa Bay's first play of its next possession, QB Jeff Garcia was intercepted by DE Matt Roth, setting up an 11-yard touchdown run by RB Jesse Chatman and a 14-7 Dolphins lead. The Buccaneers evened the score on their following possession as Garcia hit WR Joey Galloway for a 26-yard scoring strike. Later in the second quarter, Tampa Bay went up 17-14 on K Matt Bryant's 26-yard field goal. Miami jumped back in front on its first possession of the second half as QB John Beck found WR P.K. Sam for a 51-yard touchdown pass and a 21-17 lead. The lead changed hands again on the second play of the fourth quarter following a 12-play, 62-yard scoring drive as QB Bruce Gradkowski connected with RB Earnest Graham on a six-yard touchdown pass for a 24-21 Buccaneers lead. Miami regained the lead on the next drive as Beck hit WR Derek Hagan on a 31-yard scoring pass before Tampa Bay jumped back out in front for the final time as Gradkowski threw his second touchdown pass of the night, connecting with WR Paris Warren from one yard out. Miami had two more possessions in the contest, but the Buccaneers defense did not allow a first down to secure the victory.

GAME LEADERS

Rushing: E. Graham 9-34; C. Williams 4-25

Passing: B. Gradkowski 10-16, 104, 2 TD; L. McCown 5-10, 57

Receiving: P. Warren 3-27, 1 TD; K. Heinrich 3-25

Tackles: R. Barber 5; R. Nece 5; D. Brooks 4, C. June 4

BUCCANEERS AND TEXANS IN THE PRESEASON

For the sixth consecutive year, the Buccaneers will face the Texans to conclude the preseason. It marks the third preseason trip to Raymond James Stadium for the Texans. The Buccaneers have won four of the previous five preseason meetings. Tampa Bay will travel to Houston for a regular season contest on December 9, marking only the second non-exhibition meeting between the two teams; the Buccaneers prevailed 16-3 in Tampa in 2003.

Preseason Meetings

2002: W, 17-13 Houston

2003: W, 34-3 Tampa

2004: W, 17-9 Houston

2005: W, 38-14 Tampa

2006: L, 16-13 Houston

LAST MEETING (PRESEASON)

Houston 16, Tampa Bay 13 (Aug. 31, 2006)

HOUSTON - The visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers battled back from a 10-point first-half deficit behind the play of rookie QB Bruce Gradkowski, but ultimately fell to the Houston Texans in the preseason finale. Gradkowski was the Buccaneers' leading passer and rusher on the evening, completing 13-of-17 passes for 90 yards and one touchdown while also rushing for 47 yards on three carries. Veteran WR David Boston led all receivers with six receptions for 77 yards. Following a 46-yard run by Texans RB Antowain Smith, Houston took a 7-0 lead with 4:08 remaining in the first quarter when QB Sage Rosenfels hit TE Bennie Joppru on a two-yard touchdown pass. The Buccaneers blocked a Texans field goal attempt on the first play of the second quarter and on the ensuing possession cut into the Houston lead when K Matt Bryant hit a 28-yard field goal. Houston pushed its lead to 13-3 before intermission on a pair of K Kris Brown field goals. Gradkowski entered the contest in the second half, and on the Buccaneers first possession, engineered a 13-play, 79-yard drive that culminated with a five-yard touchdown pass to rookie TE Tim Massaquoi for the only scoring of the third quarter. After a Texans' three-and-out on their next drive, Tampa Bay tied the score at 13-13 on Bryant's 24-yard field goal. However, the Texans finished the game's scoring on their next series when Brown hit his third field goal of the evening with 5:51 remaining in the contest.

LAST MEETING (Regular Season)

Tampa Bay 16, Houston 3 (Dec. 14, 2003)

TAMPA – RB Thomas Jones rushed for 134 yards and one touchdown and the Buccaneers' defense allowed just 107 total yards as Tampa Bay beat Houston 16-3. Tampa Bay, which won consecutive games for the first time this season, sacked Texans' QB Dave Ragone five times and the 107 yards tied for the second-lowest total by a Buccaneer opponent in franchise history. While the Texans struggled with a passing attack that netted minus-3 yards (a Buccaneers' half-game record) in the first half, the Buccaneers scored on their initial offensive possession for the first time this season. Jones broke free for an 18-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead. K Martin Gramatica connected on a pair of second quarter field goals from 36 and 23 yards to give Tampa Bay a 13-0 halftime lead. The Texans' lone points came via a 38-yard field goal by K Kris Brown on Houston's first offensive possession in the second half. Tampa Bay responded when Brad Johnson connected with Charles Lee on a 72-yard reception, setting up Gramatica's third field goal from 26 yards for a 16-3 lead. Tampa Bay, which dominated the time of possession category 38:34 to 21:26, received key offensive contributions from Lee (three receptions for 95 yards) and WR Keenan McCardell (five catches for 59 yards), who became the fifth player in club history to eclipse 1,000- yards receiving in a season. Defensively, Tampa Bay played without six-time Pro Bowl DT Warren Sapp (left foot strain), but the Buccaneers overcame his absence with sacks from DE Greg Spires (2.5), DT Chartric Darby, DT Anthony McFarland (0.5) and DT Cleveland Pinkney.


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