TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Buccaneers look to snap a three-game losing streak on Sunday, with a few extra days of rest under their belt on the back end of Thursday Night Football, needing every bit of it to go against a tough Houston Texans defense.
“To be honest with you, in the secondary, they’re really good,” said Bucs’ quarterback Baker Mayfield. “They have their two edge guys that present their own issues. I know they haven’t had as many sacks as they want, but they play really hard, so they’re always in pursuit. But the secondary, I think they react to the ball well. I think they tackle well. We just have to be better on our part with the fundamental sounds of the offense of taking what is there, breaking some tackles, and when we have our shots, take them.”
Texans’ cornerback Steven Nelson leads the way with a trio of interceptions, but as Mayfield mentioned, it’s not just Houston’s secondary that poses a threat. He expanded further on their pass rush, which is led by defensive end Jonathan Greenard, who has six quarterback sacks.
“There’s a lot of QB hurries on tape where they’re getting to the quarterback, affecting throws, doing things like that,” Mayfield said. “So yeah, the numbers aren’t there that they want statistically, but I think it’s definitely it has the same effect.”
“The front is really good,” said Bucs running back Rachaad White. “Coach (does) a good job of –obviously coming from the 49ers – of the way they teach things. They play really hard. They’ve got a good amount of (linebackers) that they rotate and (that are) really good.”
Despite losing their last three and four of their last five games, the energy in the Bucs locker room remains optimistic, knowing that the areas they’re falling short are comprised of fixable errors.
“When we sit back and look at it, we don’t see teams that’s just like beating us or demolishing us,” White said. “We just feel like for us, on our side, what we can clean up. In the league, it’s obviously hard to get wins. It’s definitely hard to get wins when you have as many penalties as we had last game and setbacks. But even to have a 50-yard Hail Mary or a shot to win the game against a team like that, it’s like, yeah, you hate losing, but it’s a lot that we learned from it.”
“When our defense is playing really good, you know, holding teams under 20 points – especially like first three-quarters of the game, we have to use those opportunities to really get a lead on teams,” said Bucs’ receiver Chris Godwin. “And we haven’t done a good job of that. But I think we’re improving. I think we’re starting to find some things that we like, and like I said, it just has to connect.”
As the Bucs’ offense works to improve on their red zone scoring and limiting penalties, one area they’ve excelled in is protecting the football. They are tied for the second-fewest turnovers in the league with six, behind only the Texans, who have just four.