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Rookie kicker Brindza's tough day helps Houston to 1st win, 19-9 over Tampa Bay


HOUSTON — Tampa Bay rookie Kyle Brindza made the second-longest field goal in franchise history for the team's first points on Sunday.

His day went downhill after that and it helped the Houston Texans to a 19-9 win.

Ryan Mallett gave Houston (1-2) an early lead with a 5-yard pass to DeAndre Hopkins on the opening drive.

The Buccaneers (1-2) went up 9-7 on a touchdown reception by Charles Sims in the second quarter that came after an interception by Mallett, but didn't score again. Brindza, who made a 58-yard field goal early in the second quarter, missed an extra point and three field goals in the second half.

"It's always devastating and disappointing," he said. "I let my team down."

Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith said he wasn't considering replacing Brindza after the tough day.

"He, like a lot of us, had a disappointing day today," Smith said. "You're going to have off days. This was an off day. When a player has an off day, we need to rally around him in other ways, and that's what we weren't able to do today."

J.J. Watt was glad to get the assist from Brindza after Houston's defense did its job.

"The field goal kicker kind of helped us out a little bit, so I appreciate that," Watt said, snickering.

Mallett threw for threw for 228 yards and a touchdown and Alfred Blue had 139 yards rushing with a score to lead the Texans to the victory.

Blue had a 20-yard touchdown run after Brindza's second missed field goal in the fourth quarter, but Randy Bullock missed the extra point to leave Houston up 16-9.

Top overall pick Jameis Winston threw for 261 yards with a touchdown and an interception for Tampa Bay. Mike Evans had 101 yards receiving, but also had a couple of drops.

"I believe we got better as a team," Winston said. "I believe I got better ... it's a promising loss. We got some good things out of it."

Bullock added a 19-yard field goal with less than two minutes left.

PHOTO: Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Kyle Brindza (2) reacts as he misses a field-goal attempt against the Houston Texans during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Kyle Brindza (2) reacts as he misses a field-goal attempt against the Houston Texans during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Hopkins, who missed practice this week because of a concussion, finished with eight receptions for 101 yards.

Winston launched a 33-yard pass to Louis Murphy just before he was leveled by Watt early in the fourth quarter. He found Murphy again two plays later for a 19-yard gain, but the offense stalled and

Tampa Bay was left empty-handed when Brindza missed from 33 yards.

On Houston's next drive Mallett connected with Hopkins for a 30-yard gain and the Texans got another 15 thanks to a facemask penalty. Blue, filling in for injured Arian Foster, capped that drive with his first touchdown this season.

Winston was under pressure from 2014 top overall draftee Jadeveon Clowney early in the third quarter and was intercepted by Quintin Demps. The Texans took a 10-9 lead on Bullock's 39-yarder.

"He played pretty good ... we would like to have that one pick back," Smith said. "We just didn't (provide) enough opportunities for him for our offense to really get going."

The Buccaneers converted just one of 12 third-down attempts.

Vincent Jackson grabbed a 23-yard reception that at first was ruled a touchdown in the third quarter. But the Texans challenged the call and it was reversed; Jackson didn't get both feet down. Brindza missed a 41-yard field goal.

Brindza's third miss on a 57-yarder late in the final period.

Watt, who had three touchdown receptions last season, lined up as a tight end for one play, but Houston ran the ball.

Mallett was sacked and fumbled near the end of the first quarter and Tampa Bay recovered. But the play was negated because of a defensive holding penalty on Jacquies Smith.

Tampa Bay cut the lead to 7-3 early in the second quarter on Brindza's 58-yard field goal.

Mallett's pass was deflected by Danny Lansanah and Kwon Alexander intercepted later in the quarter. Winston found Sims on a short pass and he dashed 32 yards before flipping into the end zone.

NOTES: The Texans were without LT Duane Brown (hand) for second straight game. ... Tampa Bay LB Lavonte David had 14 tackles. ... Houston CB Johnathan Joseph tied career high with five passes defensed. ... The Texans changed to AstroTurf for Sunday's game after using natural grass in every game since the stadium opened in 2002.

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