The Houston Texans won the toss and elected to defer, meaning for the third-straight preseason game, the Buccaneers would begin with the ball. The first drive would not prove fruitful, stalled by a false start penalty and Tampa Bay quickly punted the ball away.
The good news was that the Bucs' defense forced the same fate for the Houston Texans, who despite starting their drive near midfield, would still end up punting.
That's where things got fun. Behind seven-straight completions for quarterback Tom Brady, the Bucs moved swiftly down the field and ended in the end zone, thanks to a 24-yard pass to wide receiver Chris Godwin.
The Texans attempted to answer and despite embarking on an 18-play drive that got them as close as the Bucs' seven-yard line, a failed fourth-and-five attempt would turn the ball back over to the Tampa Bay defense on downs.
Brady then engineered another scoring drive to near perfection behind a couple passes to wide receiver Antonio Brown and then ultimately a hand-off to running back Ronald Jones, who took it 13 yards into the end zone. It made the score 13-0 with 11:43 left in the second quarter.
The next Texans' drive was stopped short as rookie Joe Tryon-Shoyinka sacked Taylor while forcing the ball out. It was then recovered by defensive lineman Khalil Davis and the Bucs' offense took the field.
It was Blaine Gabbert under center, seemingly indicating Brady's night was over. He was sacked on first down and was then intercepted to give the ball right back to the Texans.
It would yield no points for the home team, who surrendered the ball back via punt yet again after just five plays.
And though the Buccaneer offense got the ball back, they would be the ones to help put points on the board for Houston. A bad snap by rookie center Robert Hainsey while the Bucs were backed up to their own end zone resulted in a safety and the Texans ended up with two points on the board with 4:54 left in the half.
It was the Bucs' defense that would again cut the Texans' next series short as cornerback Herb Miller intercepted quarterback Davis Mills, who had come in for Taylor.
It wouldn't put any more points on the board for Tampa Bay as the two teams traded punts on the next two series. The latter drive by the Texans began at the five-yard line after Head Coach Bruce Arians challenged the ruling of a touchback. Safety Chris Cooper had caught the ball as he jumped up in the end zone and threw it back out. It was caught by inside linebacker Joe Jones who then downed it at the five.
After that drive proved unsuccessful for the Texans, the Buccaneers then took three straight penalties in their next series to end that before it really even started.
Cornerback Dee Delaney then recorded the Bucs' third takeaway of the night, intercepting Davis Mills to give the Bucs' one more shot before halftime.
The next drive ended in more points for the Bucs as kicker Jose Borregales connected on a 36-yarder to push the Bucs' lead to 16-2 at the half.
The Texans' first drive of the half looked like it was about to see them get in the end zone, if it hadn't been for rookie inside linebacker KJ Britt, who on fourth down and goal at the one-yard line, denied Houston running back Rex Burkhead entry across the goal line.
View the best photos from the Bucs third preseason game vs. the Houston Texans.
The Bucs took over on downs at the one-yard line and Kyle Trask came in for the Buccaneers. His first pass was a first down, hitting wide receiver Tyler Johnson. The next play, however, was a fumbled handoff intended for Ke'Shawn Vaughn and the Bucs' surrendered the ball inside their own red zone.
It only took the Texans a couple of plays to finally get into the end zone. Mills fellow rookie wide receiver Nico Collins for an 11-yard touchdown. Houston then went for the two-point conversion, which was successful thanks to a completion by Keke Coutee and the Texans closed the gap, 16-10 with 8:44 left in the third quarter.
The ensuing kickoff return was then fumbled by Vaughn but it was recovered by defensive lineman Jeremiah Ledbetter. Trask and the Bucs' offense started from their own 22.
This time, the Buccaneer offense would move down the field yet again behind a couple great throws by Trask. He got a chunk play on a 26-yard completion to fellow rookie Jaelon Darden and then hit tight end Codey McElroy for a 20-yard touchdown pass. It increased the Bucs' lead to 23-10 with 5:13 left in the third quarter.
The next Houston drive saw them get as far as the Bucs' 27-yard line but another failed fourth-down conversion meant another turnover on downs in the Bucs' favor with 39 seconds in the third quarter.
Trask took a third-down sack in the next series for the Buccaneers where he also ended up losing the ball. It gave the Texans the ball back at the Tampa Bay 39-yard line and Mills would again move his offense down the field.
On yet another fourth-down try from the eight-yard line, Mills connected with wide receiver Jordan Veasy for the touchdown. Houston went for two again, but this time would not convert, making the score 23-16 with 12:33 to go in the game.
Trask got well into Houston territory before a 10-yard sack on second down backed the Bucs up further. A completion to McElroy got it to the 31-yard line and the Bucs tried for a 49-yard field goal. Borregales' kick was blocked and then ran back to the Bucs' 30-yard line with seven and a half minutes to play.
The Bucs' defense then stepped in as another fourth down attempt went awry for the Texans. It was safety Javon Hagan who got the strip sack of Mills and the Bucs took back over near midfield.
It wouldn't do the Bucs' much good as they'd be forced to punt again, this time with just over three minutes left in the game. They gave the ball back to Houston and Davis Mills took a second-down sack that backed the Texans up to third and 20 at their own 21. The ball was then intercepted by Dee Delaney for his second of the game and the Bucs retained possession through the end of the game, bringing the final score of 23-16 and the Bucs' first win of the preseason.