HOUSTON – Rudy Carpenter threw two touchdown passes to Arrelious Benn, Corey Lynch returned one of his two interceptions 91 yards for another score and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Houston Texans 24-17 on Thursday night.
Houston backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky started and threw both interceptions to Lynch. Third-stringer John David Booty played the second half and threw touchdown passes to Bobby Williams and Derek Fine. Booty completed 17 of 37 passes for 209 yards.
The Bucs took a 3-0 lead on their opening drive. Kareem Huggins ran for 11 yards and gained 12 more on a screen pass before Connor Barth connected from 38 yards.
Orlovsky completed 5 of his first 6 passes on Houston's initial drive of the second quarter. But on second down from the Buccaneers' 21, Lynch intercepted Orlovsky's pass into double coverage and raced down the sideline for a touchdown.
The Texans got the ball back at their own 17 with just over two minutes left in the half.
On third down, Lynch picked off another Orlovsky pass and returned it to the Houston 7. Carpenter threw a short TD pass to Benn for a 17-0 lead. Carpenter went 9-for-13 for 101 yards in the first half.
Houston's Kris Brown came up short on a 56-yard field-goal try on the final play of the half. It was a potentially pivotal miss, as coach Gary Kubiak decides whether to keep Brown or free-agent acquisition Neil Rackers.
Brown, the last player remaining from the Texans' inaugural 2002 season, missed 11 field-goal tries last season, prompting the team to bring in Rackers to compete for the job. Neither missed a kick in the first three preseason games.
Booty replaced Orlovsky in the third quarter and guided the Texans on a 64-yard touchdown drive. He took a hard hit as he threw a 32-yard scoring pass to Williams.
The former Southern Cal star went 6-for-11 on Houston's next series, which lasted more than seven minutes. Rackers kicked a 21-yard field goal to cut Tampa Bay's lead to 17-10.
Booty completed 9 of 16 passes for 102 yards in the third quarter.
Carpenter completed a 29-yard pass to Preston Parker and a 21-yarder to Ryan Purvis on consecutive plays early in the fourth quarter. On third-and-12 from the Texans' 37, Carpenter hit Parker across the middle for a 16-yard gain.
Benn made an acrobatic touchdown catch on the next play, reaching over Houston cornerback Jacques Reeves and hanging onto the ball as he hit the ground in the end zone.
Fine, a tight end, made a one-handed catch and tiptoed down the sideline for a 17-yard touchdown with 4:26 left in the game.
Parker lost the ball on the ensuing kickoff and Texans safety Troy Nolan recovered for Houston at the Tampa Bay 29. The Buccaneers challenged the call, and officials determined that Parker was down, and the Buccaneers retained possession.
The Texans drove to the Tampa Bay 26 in the final two minutes. On fourth down, Dorin Dickerson couldn't catch Booty's pass to the end zone.