NFL Preseason Week 3 Game Recap: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23, Houston Texans 16

Houston, Texas, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) attempts a pass during the first quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

A valiant comeback effort from the Houston Texans was snuffed out by the superb Tampa Bay Buccaneers secondary as the Bucs closed out their 2021 preseason with a 23-16 win.

Both teams played their starters for the early portions of the game. Tom Brady and Tyrod Taylor both played significant time. The Bucs took a two-score lead through Brady early, and the Texans were never able to recover.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Brady started the game and played three series. He was sharp, leading two touchdown drives and going 11-of-14 for 154 yards and a touchdown.

Blaine Gabbert and Kyle Trask finished out the game with Trask looking great. He went 12-of-14 for 146 yards and a touchdown. Gabbert looked like Gabbert, going 4-of-10 for 26 yards and an interception.

Tom Brady from a clean pocket
Completions Attempts Yards Average time to throw Average depth of target
8 10 106 2.06 7.1
Running Back

Leonard Fournette played early but was only on the field for passing plays. He wasn't targeted on the night.

Ronald Jones was the only back to receive carries with the starting unit. He tallied four rushes for 27 yards, with 12 of those yards coming after contact. He also scored a touchdown. 


Chris Godwin was Brady’s favorite target during the quarterback's playing time. Godwin caught all three of his targets for 84 yards, with 38 coming after the catch. 

Routes with Tom Brady in three drives with the starters
Chris Godwin 100%
Mike Evans 86%
Antonio Brown 86%
Rob Gronkowski 71%
O.J Howard 29%
Offensive Line

The starters didn’t keep Brady especially clean, as he was pressured four times on his 14 dropbacks. The backups had the same issues.

Once Brady and the starters went out, the Bucs allowed eight pressures on 28 dropbacks.

Buccaneers starting offensive line
Left Tackle Left Guard Center Right Guard Right Tackle
Donovan Smith Ali Marpet Ryan Jensen Alex Cappa Tristan Wirfs
Defensive Line

First-round pick Joe Tryon continues to impress. He produced a sack, three pressures and three tackles while also dropping into coverage eight times.

Standout pass-rusher Shaquil Barrett also pitched in with two pressures.


The Bucs played their two starting linebackers, Devin White and Lavonte David, for the first quarter. They each got 21 snaps.

David made six tackles and didn’t miss a single attempt. 


Starters Jamel Dean, Antoine Winfield Jr. and Carlton Davis were not targeted. The other starter, Sean Murphy-Bunting, was targeted three times but only allowed two catches for 11 yards as the Bucs secondary shut down the early Texans pass attack.

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Houston Texans


Tyrod Taylor started the game at QB and could not get anything done, going 6-of-9 for 31 yards. And neither could Davis Mills, as he went an excruciating 10-of-27 for 106 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Neither quarterback completed a pass beyond 20 air yards.

Houston Texans: Passing by depth
Quarterback Behind LOS 0-9 Yards 10-19 Yards 20+ Yards
Tyrod Taylor 3/3 3/4 0/1 0/1
Davis Mills 2/3 4/7 4/11 0/4
Running Backs

The veteran Mark Ingram II was given the most carries for the Texans, as he gained 44 yards on 11 rushes.

David Johnson ran well on his four carries, gaining 30 yards. Phillip Lindsay, vying for an extended role in the regular season, churned out 17 yards on his six rushes. 


The goal was to get rookie Nico Collins the ball, but he finished with only two catches for 16 yards on six targets, although one of those catches did result in a score.

Offensive Line

The unit played into the second half, with only Justin Britt coming out early and being replaced by Ryan McCollum

Texans starting offensive line
Left Tackle Left Guard Center Right Guard Right Tackle
Geron Christian Sr.  Tytus Howard Justin Britt Max Scharping Charlie Heck
Defensive Line

Jaleel Johnson played deep into the game for the Texans, seeing snaps in all four quarters and finishing with 31 snaps and one total pressure.

Overall, the defensive line got after the Bucs quarterbacks, totaling four sacks.


Kamu Grugier-Hill and Christian Kirksey started next to one another and played most of the snaps for the Texans linebacking crew. Each notched three tackles and a pressure. 


Desmond King II was picked on during his time on the field. He was targeted six times on only 21 coverage snaps and gave up five catches for 102 yards and a touchdown, mostly to Chris Godwin.


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