The Houston Texans end the Buccaneers’ winning streak in Week 16. Even though the defense held Watson, Hopkins and the running game in check, Bucs fall to Houston 23-20.
Winston Struggles Without Top Receivers
Once again, Jameis Winston turned the ball over on Tampa Bay’s first drive of the game, on the very first play, to be exact. Bucs fans must have gotten used to that by now.
This time, however, he turned it over on the second drive as well. It was obvious throughout the entire game that Winston missed his favorite targets, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
Surprisingly, the yardage was there once again for Winston. He finished the afternoon with 335 yards and one touchdown. His fourth pick, untypically, came on the Buccaneers’ last drive of the game. At that point, the Bucs were in a position to tie the game with a field goal or win it with a touchdown. Winston usually thrives in such situations; not this time, however, and his fourth interception sealed the game for Houston.
On defense, Tampa Bay was excellent against a very dangerous offense. Deshaun Watson was held to 187 yards passing and no scores. Jamel Dean, who is finding more and more of a rhythm in Todd Bowles’ defense, even picked him off once.
Running back Carlos Hyde was held to a measly 1.6 yards per carry on 17 attempts. You just do not run the ball on the Buccaneers in 2019.
Beyond that, star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins only had five receptions for no more than 23 yards. He was a non-factor in this contest, just like the rest of Houston’s offense. Alton Davis did a great job keeping Hopkins in check.
All in all, the Bucs defense only allowed one touchdown and three field goals. The other score came on Winston’s first interception, which was taken to the house for a pick-six.
Ronald Jones Plays Well, Jason Pierre-Paul, Too
Ronald Jones finally had a good game, averaging 5.5 yards per carry. He did get most of his yardage on a huge play in the first quarter, where he rushed for 49 yards. To top off his great game, he scored a touchdown from four yards out.
Moreover, on defense, Jason Pierre-Paul had a monster game. He found a way to get to Deshaun Watson multiple times and recorded 3 sacks.
Bucs Lose A Game They Should Have Won
To put it in a nutshell, considering the poor performance of Houston’s offense, the Buccaneers should have won. If the offense had protected the ball better or the refs had called a few questionable differently, the Bucs could have won. Furthermore, Matt Gay had a kick blocked. This could have been the difference in the contest as well.
The Bucs gave the ball away five times, which is usually a recipe for losing. To be fair, it is difficult for any quarterback to succeed with your top two wide receivers out. Moreover, your speedy number 4 receiver is out.
Nonetheless, the loss does not hurt very much. It would be nice to end the season on a high note with a win against the Falcons next Sunday, though.