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5 Most Disappointing Bucs
QB Josh Freeman – Tampa Bay's first-round draft pick started his first game as a pro vs. Houston due to the fact that the Bucs decided to rest starting QB Byron Leftwich and backup Luke McCown in the preseason finale. But Freeman didn't get off to a good start. On Tampa Bay's first drive of the game, which started on Houston's 36-yard line after a turnover, Freeman threw an errant pass on a slant, which was intercepted Texans cornerback Brian McCain. Luckily for Freeman, Bucs wide receiver Brian Clark forced McCain to fumble, which allowed tackle Anthony Alabi to recover the ball at Houston's 26. Although he completed an 18-yard pass to Clark, Tampa Bay's drive stalled inside the 5-yard line after Freeman failed to see an open WR Maurice Stovall in the back of the end zone on a third-and-goal play from the 2-yard line. The Bucs settled for a Mike Nugent field goal. Late in the second quarter, Freeman threw his first pass of the drive behind tight end Jason Pociask, who tipped the ball in the air. That allowed Houston linebacker Kevin Bentley to intercept the pass at the Bucs' 15-yard line. It eventually led to an 18-yard field goal, which put the Texans up 17-3. The rookie quarterback ended the second half on a positive note, engineering a 10-play, 74-yard drive that ended with a nice 23-yard touchdown pass to WR Cortez Hankton. However, the scoring opportunity nearly didn't happen as Texans S Josh Busing dropped what should have been an interception from Freeman just a few plays before the score. Freeman completed 7-of-17 (41.7 percent) of his passes for 85 yards and tossed one touchdown and two interceptions on Friday night.
S Tanard Jackson – Friday night's game was the last one for a while for Jackson, who will begin serving a four-game suspension for violation of the league's substance abuse policy. Unfortunately, Jackson didn't end the preseason on a positive note. At the beginning of the second quarter, Texans WR Jacoby Jones beat Jackson deep down the middle of the field and hauled in a perfectly thrown pass from QB Rex Grossman for an 86-yard touchdown. Jackson trailed the play badly in Cover 2. The score capped off a two-play, 92-yard drive that put the Texans up 7-3. Earlier in the game, Jackson whiffed on a tackle attempt on QB Dan Orlovsky, who scrambled and picked up 6 yards on the play in the first quarter.
RE Louis Holmes – Holmes had been impressive in preseason heading into Friday night's game, but he had a costly mistake vs. the Texans. Midway through the second quarter, Holmes was called for roughing the pass on an incomplete pass from QB Rex Grossman, which put the Texans on the Bucs' 14-yard line. Had Holmes not committed the penalty, the Texans would have attempted a field goal since the pass play came on third-and-7. Instead, the penalty kept the drive alive, and the Texans capitalized a few plays later when Grossman connected with TE James Casey for an 11-yard touchdown, which put Houston up over Tampa Bay 14-3 and capped off a 10-play, 56-yard scoring drive.
LG James Lee – The Bucs had Lee start in place of left guard Jeremy Zuttah, who started at left tackle Friday night. Lee needed to turn in a big game and show some versatility in order to secure a 53-man roster spot, but he struggled. Early in the second quarter, Lee was called for a 15-yard tripping penalty, which negated a nice gain by RB Clifton Smith on a screen play and set up second-and-20. On third-and-16 on the same drive, Lee was called for another penalty – ineligible man downfield, which was declined by Houston and led to a Tampa Bay punt. Late in the third quarter, Lee, who moved to left tackle, got beat by DE Connar Barwin off the edge. Barwin drilled QB Josh Johnson, who lost the football, which was recovered by DT Josh Leonard deep in Tampa Bay territory. Luckily for Lee, the Bucs challenged the ruling on the field of a fumble, and won as it was determined that Johnson's arm was going forward when he lost the football.
TE Jason Pociask – Although he's been unimpressive through training camp and preseason, it still might be difficult to believe that Pociask dropped a pass and was called for pass interference on the same play Friday night. Not that it's necessarily his fault, but two of the three interceptions thrown by Tampa Bay's quarterbacks vs. the Texans were intended for Pociask, who didn't do much to help himself tonight in terms of making the 53-man roster.