Head coach Todd Bowles told reporters before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Week 9 game that the team couldn’t let a three-game losing streak snowball, and oh, has it — in the worst of ways.
The Bucs lost to the Houston Texans 39-37 on Sunday in an embarrassing effort, with the team up 37-33 with 49 seconds left and giving up a game-winning touchdown with 10 seconds left. Rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud carved up Tampa Bay’s defense, throwing 5 touchdowns on 470 yards and no interceptions. Tampa Bay’s offense was firing on the day, but the team was let down by poor coaching decisions and abysmal play by the defense.
The Bucs’ running game still struggled in Houston, averaging just 2.6 yards per carry on 81 yards, but running back Rachaad White rushed for two touchdowns on the ground and ran for 73 yards. Quarterback Baker Mayfield played well, completing 70% of his passes for two touchdowns and 265 yards. While the Bucs’ 37 offensive points was far more than they scored all year, it wasn’t enough to overcome an awful defensive performance with both coaching and playing.
The defense gave up 496 total yards, with 8.0 yards on average for the Texans defense. On top of that, the team was still mired with penalties, with nine for 90 total yards. The team attempted to play prevent defense, but Stroud tore them up on the final drive and delivered the killing blow with six seconds left.
The Bucs are now set to play the Tennessee Titans next week at home, and a loss there would almost certainly spell disaster for Tampa Bay.