By: Garrett Ballard
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost to the Houston Texans 39-37 after a last-second, heartbreaking Houston touchdown. The Bucs struggled to keep CJ Stroud contained and lost late after their own apparent game-winning drive.
The Buccaneers seemed to have the game under wraps after Cade Otton scored a go-ahead touchdown with just 45 seconds remaining. While Bucs players and fans were celebrating the likely victory, Stroud and the Texans drove down the field to score the actual game-winner.
With less than a minute and two time-outs, Stroud led the Texans down the field and found Tank Dell for the true game-winning touchdown.
“You never expect when a team has that little time to come back and win,” Baker Mayfield said.
“It’s a devastating loss,” Todd Bowles said. “I’ve been coaching a long time, I haven’t been involved in too many of these.”
This type of win is rare, even for experienced NFL players and coaches. The catalyst to this victory, Stroud, was record-setting on Sunday. En route to a 470-yard, five-touchdown performance, he passed Andrew Luck to become the all-time single-game, rookie passing yards leader.
“It was a gutsy performance from him,” Demeco Ryans said. “He made some plays, made some big-time throws for us.”
“CJ Stroud doesn’t look like a rookie to me,” Mayfield said. “He is so impressive, looks like a polished NFL quarterback.”
This performance from Stroud was one that will last in the memories of many for years.
The Bucs had their own record-setter on Sunday as well. Mike Evans became the first Buccaneer to reach 11,000 career receiving yards. Evans had four catches for 87 yards, highlighted by a 54-yard catch that set up a Rachaad White touchdown.
“Mike is the best I’ve ever been around,” Mayfield said. “He means everything to the team [. . .] He’s a special guy and I’m happy to have him around.”
This loss marks four straight for the Buccaneers, who went from first in the NFC South, to third in a matter of weeks.
Buccaneers look ahead
Next week, The Buccaneers are back in Tampa against the Titans. Both teams are coming off heartbreaking losses and will be looking to get back into the win column. The Bucs could potentially be matching up against another rookie quarterback in Will Levis.