Buccaneers @ Texans
Final Score: Texans 39, Buccaneers 37 (Scorigami!)
Writer: Ben Brown (@BenBrownPL on Twitter)
Wow! The best game of the early slate certainly ended with some fireworks, as the Texans and Bucs both scored touchdowns in the final 50 seconds of the game. It was a wacky game that included an injury to Texans kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn, forcing backup running back Dare Ogunbowale to serve as the team’s de-facto kicker for the entire second half. He kicked a 29 yard field goal, but did not kick any extra points. Houston went one for four on two point conversion attempts, including a kneel down on a two point try with a two point lead and six seconds left in the game. Something I never thought I’d ever see.
Dameon Pierce out with an ankle injury
- C.J. Stroud – Tied a rookie record with five passing TDs on the day
- Dalton Schultz – Best day of his short Texans career
- Tank Dell – A monster day with a game winning TD for the young rook
- Cade Otton – Lost a fumble but had two touchdowns, including one to take the lead with under a minute to play
- Tampa Bay’s Secondary – I don’t think any of them knew the game started at 1:00
- Chris Godwin – Was overthrown on what could have been a TD, but otherwise wasn’t a factor
- Devin Singletary – This Houston running game is in shambles right now
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Baker Mayfield: 21/30, 265 yards, 2 TD, 2 sacks | 4 carries, 4 yards
Baker was solid as solid goes in this game. He didn’t force anything he didn’t need to, and his throws were right on target for the most part. This was the best I’ve seen Baker play in a long time, though I have to admit I haven’t exactly watched a lot of him over the last couple years. I thought his most notable play was actually with his legs – a five yard scramble on 4th and two to keep their final drive alive. It led to a bullet of a touchdown pass to Cade Otton, for what seemed like the game winning score at the time with only 46 seconds left on the clock. This was probably as good of a game Baker can play at this point of his career, and it’s a shame that his defense let it slip away so easily.
Rachaad White: 20 carries, 73 yards, 2 TD | 4 targets, 4 receptions, 46 yards
I’m not a Rachaad White guy. I’ve never been enamored with him. He had a good day today, and at times looked explosive – more explosive than I’ve ever seen him. However, both of his touchdowns were of the one yard run variety. Granted, he did have a nice catch and run set up one of them, but the second was all thanks to Mike Evans. He also had a really nice 33 yard catch and run on Tampa’s second drive of the game, one of the best plays I’ve seen him make. I’m not sold on White after this game, but I saw some things that make me feel better about rostering him in one of my leagues.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn: 4 carries, 4 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, -1 yard
Chase Edmonds: 3 carries, -5 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, -1 yard
Four touches, negative six yards. Yikes.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Mike Evans: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 87 yards
Mike Evans came six inches away from a touchdown, but unfortunately he was ruled down before the ball crossed the goal line. He also made a big catch downfield that was negated due to his own push off of the defender. Those were two plays that stuck out as missed opportunities for Evans in this game. He also made the play of the day for the Bucs by knocking the ball out of a defender’s hands who had just picked up a fumble from Evans’ teammate Trey Palmer. It kept their final drive alive. The stats may not scream it out loud, but Evans had a good day today and just missed an even better one for fantasy purposes.
Chris Godwin: 6 targets, 2 receptions, 16 yards
It was an uncharacteristically quiet day for Godwin in a game where the offense scored four touchdowns. One of his two receptions went for 15 yards, a third and 16 play inside the red zone. Godwin got them within one yard and Rachaad White was able to earn the first down on the next play. Later in the game, Godwin was overthrown on what would have been a huge gain. He had beaten his man and was open, and only needed to beat one defender to potentially take it to the house. Alas, the throw from Mayfield on the run was off the mark.
Cade Otton: 9 targets, 6 receptions, 70 yards, 2 TD, fumble (lost)
Where did this come from? Cade Otton was Mayfield’s favorite red zone target on Sunday, catching two touchdown passes with one coming with under 50 seconds to play. There was a questionable roughing the passer call that extended the drive right before Otton’s first touchdown catch, so he kind of lucked into that one. He also took a shot to the head early in the third quarter, one that I thought would knock him out of the game after he was slow to get up. The independent neurologist on the sideline must have thought different though, as Otton was allowed to go back into the game and (almost) be the hero.
Trey Palmer: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 51 yards, fumble
Palmer caught a ball across the middle with under 50 seconds to go, fumbled it, had it recovered by the Texans, then out of nowhere Mike Evans came in and knocked it free to recover and keep the drive alive for Tampa Bay. What a turn of events for the Bucs, and what a bonehead play by Palmer.
C.J. Stroud: 30/42, 470 yards, 5 TD, 3 sacks, fumble | 0 carries, 10 yards
As good as Stroud was in this game, he could have had an even bigger day had he not missed a wide open Tank Dell streaking down the sideline on their third drive. Stroud overthrew him and it would have been an easy catch and run for a 90 yard touchdown. But, we’re just nitpicking here after Stroud absolutely lit up the Buccaneers secondary for five touchdowns and nearly 500 yards through the air. There’s not much negative to say about Stroud’s performance, so I’m not going to. He was lights out all day. I love his Soto Shuffle on the first touchdown to Tank Dell:
CJ Stroud is balling right now. What a perfect pass to Tank Dell for the TD.
The reaction after the TD is GOLD. pic.twitter.com/v48DRqORfO
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) November 5, 2023
Stroud exploited a defense that pretty much gave him whatever he wanted. It wasn’t a perfect day, but for a rookie it was almost as good as it could get.
- First TD came after fake handoff, Collins beat defender on an inside slant and Stroud hit him with a perfect throw
- Overthrew Tank Dell near end of 1st quarter. Had beaten his defender, was wide open. Stroud overthrew him. Led to a punt
- Nearly threw a pick, ball went right through Nico Collins’ hands but the defender couldn’t come up with it
- Scrambled around in the backfield, evaded pressure, threw the ball away. Got up gingerly
- Threw an interception on a two point attempt
- Up three with five minutes to play and the ball inside their own 20, Stroud was stripped by a defender but bailed out by an OL who recovered it
Devin Singletary: 13 carries, 26 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 0 yards
This offensive line is struggling with injuries and there simply wasn’t much running room for Singletary to find. Vita Vea takes up a lot of space and the Texans’ OL had their hands full trying to keep him from blowing up every play. This team simply isn’t good on the ground right now. Simgletary did have a nine yard gain where he made a nice jump cut to avoid a defender and earn some extra yards, but otherwise it was a big bag of nothing from the former Bill.
Dare Ogunbowale: 29 yard field goal
Special mention for Dare Ogunbowale, who filled in as the kicker after Ka’imi Fairbairn got injured during the game. Ogunbowale kicked a 29 yard field goal that gave the Texans the lead late in the game. He also handled kickoff duties admirably, and he was busy with how many points Houston was scoring. Hats off for the excellent effort.
Xavier Hutchinson: 1 carry, 12 yards
Mike Boone: 1 carry, 3 yards
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Dalton Schultz: 11 targets, 10 receptions, 130 yards, TD, fumble (lost)
Not only was Schultz catching dump offs and taking them for 10+ yard gains, but he was also making moves and getting separation from guys like Antoine Winfield Jr. in the end zone for touchdowns. He did lose a fumble on Houston’s first offensive possession, but it was a nice punch out by the defender. He also was unable to secure a second touchdown grab on a diving attempt in the end zone late in the game, as the ball hit the ground before he could corral it. But it was easily Schultz’ best day as a Texan and one to build on moving forward.
Tank Dell: 11 targets, 6 receptions, 114 yards, 2 TD | 2 carries, 2 yards
As I mentioned in Stroud’s blurb, Dell should have had a 90 yard touchdown if it weren’t for a bad overthrow by Stroud on the third drive of the game. Either way, it was a monster day for the electric rookie WR who seemingly handled the Bucs defense with ease. His two touchdowns were both great catches in the back of the end zone, but his best catch of the day was a spectacular sideline catch with ten seconds to go to set up the game-winner. The GIF is worth watching.
This throw and catch to set up the game-winning touchdown.
CJ Stroud ? Tank Dell pic.twitter.com/58yhquLlHE
— NFL (@NFL) November 5, 2023
Noah Brown: 6 targets, 6 receptions, 153 yards, TD
Cade Otton may have come out of nowhere but this truly came out of nowhere. Brown reeled in all six of his targets, but he actually had five targets in each of Houston’s last two games. So this may not necessarily be a fluke. Either way, Brown’s 75 yard TD catch and run was sprung by a great block by Tank Dell, and Brown also went up to make an awesome catch over a defender later in the game. He did have a 13 yard catch and run negated by a hold, but I doubt anyone’s fantasy matchups will be impacted by that tidbit. Brown has 16 targets in his last three games and based on this performance he should probably be on fantasy radars now.
Nico Collins: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 54 yards, TD
Collins started the scoring on the day but was outshined by Schultz, Dell, and Noah Brown overall. He was targeted for a second touchdown later in the game but both feet unfortunately came down out of bounds. I couldn’t really tell why Collins wasn’t more involved in this game other than the fact that Schultz was always open underneath and Dell kept speeding his way into holes in the defense.
John Metchie III: 1 target, 1 reception, 14 yards