Carpenter leads Bucs to win in preseason finaleBy CHRIS DUNCAN, AP Sports Writer Friday, Sep 3, 2010
Carpenter threw two touchdown passes to Arrelious Benn(notes), Corey Lynch(notes) returned one of his two interceptions 91 yards for another score and the Buccaneers beat the Houston Texans 24-17 on Thursday night.
Tampa Bay (2-2) rested starter Josh Freeman(notes) and backup Josh Johnson(notes), giving Carpenter a chance to atone for a poor outing against Jacksonville on Saturday. Carpenter played into the fourth quarter and completed 15 of 22 passes for 203 yards without an interception.
But Carpenter, who spent most of last season on the Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad, wasn’t certain that his performance locked up a spot for him on the final 53-man roster.
“Truthfully, this position is crazy and anything can happen,” he said. “I just wanted to go out there and put together the best tape that I can, and if for some reason I can’t stay here, then somebody else will take a chance on me.”
The Buccaneers also got solid performances from some young receivers as they look to build depth. Benn and Reggie Brown(notes) caught three passes apiece, and Preston Parker(notes) pulled down a 29-yard reception, Tampa Bay’s longest of the game.
“It’s a great group of guys,” Benn said. “We are all pulling for each other. We go out there and do the best that we can. We want to come into the league and make a statement.”
Texans coach Gary Kubiak, meanwhile, was disappointed with backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky(notes), who started and threw both interceptions to Lynch. Third-stringer John David Booty(notes) played the second half and threw touchdown passes to Bobby Williams(notes) and Derek Fine(notes).
Booty completed 17 of 37 passes for 209 yards, opening the possibility that he could supplant Orlovsky as Houston’s No. 2 quarterback. Kubiak wouldn’t say if Orlovsky lost his job, but acknowledged that he wasn’t pleased with the turnovers.
“The bottom line when you’re playing quarterback in this league is you’ve got to protect the ball, and that’s something that I’ve been battling him on,” Kubiak said. “I just hate for him to end the preseason that way. I’ve got confidence in him. I think he’s grown up a lot. But obviously those things can’t happen, they just can’t happen.”
Nearly all the starters sat out for the Texans (1-3), including quarterback Matt Schaub(notes), receiver Andre Johnson(notes), defensive end Mario Williams(notes) and linebackers Brian Cushing(notes) and DeMeco Ryans(notes).
After Tampa Bay took a 3-0 lead, Orlovsky completed 5 of his first 6 passes on Houston’s initial drive of the second quarter. On second down from the Buccaneers’ 21, Lynch intercepted Orlovsky’s pass into double coverage and raced down the sideline for a touchdown.
The Texans got the ball back at their own 17 with just over two minutes left in the half.
Lynch picked off another Orlovsky pass on third down and returned it to the Houston 7. Carpenter threw a short TD pass to Benn for a 17-0 lead. Carpenter went 9-for-13 for 101 yards in the first half.
“I was just trying to go out there and make completions, put the ball where it needs to go,” Carpenter said. “I feel pretty good about the way I played later on in the preseason.”
Houston’s Kris Brown(notes) came up short on a 56-yard field-goal try on the final play of the half. It was a potentially pivotal miss, as Kubiak decides whether to keep Brown or free-agent acquisition Neil Rackers(notes).
Brown, the last player remaining from the Texans’ inaugural 2002 season, missed 11 field-goal tries last season, prompting the team to bring in Rackers to compete for the job. Neither missed a kick in the first three preseason games.
Kubiak plans to trim his roster to 53 on Friday, and called the decision on the kickers one of the toughest of his career.
“The hard thing is, you have to make a decision and you go with what you think is best for the football team,” Kubiak said. “But the hard thing is how well they’ve both done and how classy they’ve both been. It will be difficult.”
Booty replaced Orlovsky in the third quarter and guided the Texans on a 64-yard touchdown drive. He took a hard hit as he threw a 32-yard scoring pass to Williams.
The former Southern Cal star went 6-for-11 on Houston’s next series, and Rackers kicked a 21-yard field goal to cut Tampa Bay’s lead to 17-10.
Fine, a tight end, made a one-handed catch for a 17-yard touchdown with 4:26 left in the game.