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Houston at Tampa Bay

Bucs 34, Texans 3

SportsLine.com wire reports

TAMPA, Fla. -- Shaun King threw for 146 yards and a touchdown as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dominated the Houston Texans 34-3 Thursday night in their final tuneup for the regular season.

The Super Bowl champions (4-1) outgained the Texans (0-4) 243-47 while amassing 17 first downs to Houston's two in the opening half. Tampa Bay's starting defense played only one series, but the Bucs didn't allow a TD for the second straight week.

Tampa Bay opens the regular season Sept. 8 at Philadelphia in a rematch of last season's NFC championship game. Houston begins at Miami on Sept. 7.

With Jim Miller still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, King entered training camp as the clear-cut backup to Brad Johnson. And if the preseason is any indication, he's benefiting from being in the same offensive system in consecutive seasons for the first time in his five-year career.

King completed his first six passes and finished 13-for-17 in just under a half. He directed scoring drives of 59, 70, 54 and 58 yards, and threw a 5-yard TD pass to Will Heller late in the second quarter.

"We are pleased with what we did in the first half, protecting the football, not committing foolish penalties and making the most of our possessions," Bucs coach Jon Gruden said. "I was really pleased with the offense, and obviously the defense is playing pretty good."

The starters on both sides were out of the game by the end of the first quarter.

Johnson played one series for Tampa Bay, completing his only pass attempt for no gain. He also was sacked once, finishing a preseason in which the first-team offense moved the ball well but had trouble getting into the end zone.

David Carr played two possessions for the Texans, going 1-for-2 for 12 yards, and was sacked by Cleveland Pinkney on his last play. Tony Banks was 9-of-13 for 54 yards before being replaced by Dave Ragone in the fourth quarter.

"We want to put this behind us because it doesn't count," Carr said. "We look forward to playing better next week against Miami."

Rookie quarterback Chris Simms played most of the second half for Tampa Bay, leaving the game after throwing a 1-yard TD pass to Fabian Davis with less than six minutes remaining.

King completed 73 percent of his passes (46-of-63) for 430 yards, two TDs and no interceptions.

Tampa Bay safety Dwight Smith sat out with a shoulder bruise. The only injuries the Bucs reported during the game were to reserve tight ends Rickey Dudley (left ankle sprain) and Todd Yoder (right knee sprain).

Four injured Houston starters -- defensive end Gary Walker, safety Eric Brown, linebacker Jay Foreman and center Steve McKinney -- sat out.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2003, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
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Scoring Summary
TDAaron Stecker, 3 Yd run (Martin Gramatica kick is good), 5:51. Drive: 7 plays, 59 yards in 3:39.
FGMartin Gramatica 23 Yd, 13:22. Drive: 11 plays, 70 yards in 5:14.
TDAaron Stecker, 25 Yd run (Martin Gramatica kick is good), 8:42. Drive: 4 plays, 54 yards in 2:16.
TDWill Heller, 5 Yd pass from Shaun King (Martin Gramatica kick is good), 0:34. Drive: 11 plays, 58 yards in 5:35.
FGMartin Gramatica 56 Yd, 0:00.
FGKris Brown 37 Yd, 6:24. Drive: 17 plays, 46 yards in 8:36.
TDFabian Davis, 1 Yd pass from Chris Simms (Martin Gramatica kick is good), 5:40. Drive: 7 plays, 54 yards in 4:04.
T. Banks9/135401
D. Ragone4/81600
D. Carr1/21200
T. Hollings133408
S. Mack41204
J. Lewis4909
D. Ragone1606
D. Davis2101
D. Davis320010
T. Hollings21508
J. Gaffney112012
J. Swift31104
J. Dawson2906
A. Harris1909
D. Armstrong1303
M. Norris1303
Tampa Bay
S. King13/1714610
C. Simms5/63710
B. Johnson1/1000
S. Stafford0/1000
T. Stephens1465018
A. Stecker535225
J. Cook329022
S. King217010
T. Jones41105
M. Pittman2808
R. Barlow1707
M. Alstott1303
S. Stafford1-60-6
C. Lee343024
K. Williams336020
R. Barlow327012
W. Heller222117
T. Jones115015
J. Jurevicius114014
F. Davis211110
D. Barnes1909
J. Cook1404
T. Stephens1202
M. Pittman1000
Complete Player Stats