Morris takes blame in Bucs' 37-9 blowout loss
TAMPA, Fla.—Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris took the blame after a blowout loss, and promised changes are on the way.
Matt Schaub threw for two touchdowns, Arian Foster, Ben Tate and Derrick Ward ran for scores Sunday as the AFC South-leading Houston Texans forced four turnovers and sacked Josh Freeman four times in a 37-9 victory over Buccaneers on Sunday.
"Terrible game," Morris said. "We started the game just like we finished it. Poor job by myself. I refuse to believe that our guys are that bad, so it has to be my fault."
The Texans (7-3) extended their winning streak while playing without star receiver Andre Johnson to four consecutive games. The Bucs (4-5) have lost three straight and four of five following a 3-1 start.
"I'll fix it this week," Morris said.
Morris plans to have full-scale workouts in pads and didn't rule out lineup changes for next Sunday's game against Green Bay.
"It's not getting any easier," Tampa Bay center Jeff Faine said. "We've got a very, very huge challenge at Green Bay. We've got to play smarter and more disciplined. It's unfortunate we're in the position we're in, but we've got to dig ourselves out."
Jacoby Jones filled in for Johnson with an 80-yard TD reception on the first play from scrimmage and Foster turned a short pass into his second 78-yard scoring reception of the season for Houston. A defense that's made a dramatic turnaround under coordinator Wade Phillips had three interceptions and recovered a fumble.
"It all goes back to playing fast ... We did not do that," Morris said. "Playing smart ... We didn't do that. Playing hard ... We did not do that. We didn't play together consistently, and to me, that's on the head coach."
Tampa Bay scored on Connor Barth's 55-yard field goal on the final play of the first half and didn't get into the end zone until Freeman threw a 9-yard TD pass to Preston Parker early in the fourth quarter. Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth made his debut for the Bucs, blocking an extra point after Houston's first touchdown and finishing with five tackles.
Haynesworth was released by New England on Tuesday, claimed off waivers Wednesday and practiced with his new team for the first time on Thursday. Gerald McCoy's season-ending injury left the Bucs thin on the offensive line, and with backup Frank Okam still sidelined by a sore calf, the 350-pound Haynesworth moved right into the starting lineup.
"I felt fine," Haynesworth said. "I was a little tired, but that was the most plays I've played all year. The more I played, the better I got."
A week after rushing for a club-record 261 yards during a 30-12 victory over Cleveland, the Texans came out throwing on a Bucs defense that has struggled to stop the run and had to honor Schaub's play-action fakes. A wide-open Jones caught an underthrown ball at the Tampa Bay 45 on the first play from scrimmage, cut back to his left between safeties Tanard Jackson and Sean Jackson and sprinted to the end zone to finish Houston's longest scoring play of the season.
Foster's long TD reception nearly covered as much ground and also involved some nifty running after the catch. The third-year running back took a short throw from Schaub, broke a tackle and headed up the left sideline before cutting inside near midfield to avoid Sean Jones and easily outrun the remaining pursuit.
Houston's first three scoring drives covered 80, 80 and 90 yards. Foster had four receptions for 102 yards.
Schaub only attempted three passes after halftime, finishing 11 of 15 for 242 yards and no interceptions. One apparent pick at the Tampa Bay goal line was reversed following a replay review that showed that intended receiver Derrick Mason jarred the ball loose from Talib before the Bucs cornerback gained control. Neil Rackers kicked a 22-yard field goal on the next play for a 9-0 lead.
Freeman completed 15 of 35 passes for 170 yards. The Texans limited LeGarrette Blount to 34 yards rushing on 10 attempts.
"We've not played up to, nearly, our potential," Freeman said.
Notes: The Texans had 420 yards of offense, compared to Tampa Bay's 231. ... The Bucs had the ball just 24 minutes, 54 seconds, more than less 11 minutes less than Houston.