Houston almost always had the ball and when Tampa Bay needed it most, the Buccaneers gave it back.
"We just didn't take care of it," Trent Dilfer said after his first interception--following a Tampa Bay-record 138 consecutive passes without one--led to Houston's only touchdown and a 19-7 victory Sunday for the Oilers.
"It was very rough," said Dilfer, who finished with three interceptions. "We had no offense and defensive troubles. We got our butt kicked all over the field in every area."
Houston used Al Del Greco's three field goals in the first half for a 9-7 advantage before Cris Dishman snared an overthrown pass intended for Jackie Harris at the Oilers' 46 with 5:35 left in the third quarter.
"I'm just doing my job," said Dishman, who intercepted two passes. "The coverage was awesome. That was the main thing. Everyone did their responsibility and didn't try to do extra."
Nine plays later, Marion Butts plowed through the left side of the line from four yards out to give Houston a 16-7 lead.
"I'm glad we played the kind of defense that we did, run the football the way we did," Oiler Coach Jeff Fisher said. "It wasn't always pretty at times, but we ran effectively."
The victory was the first at home for the Oilers, who improved to 3-5 and snapped a three-game losing streak. The loss was the second in a row for Tampa Bay (5-4).
"The last time we lost a couple of games in a row, we came back and put together a string of wins," Tampa Bay Coach Sam Wyche said. "I did not have this team ready to play in any way, shape or form. That's my fault."
Although Dilfer, a second-year player, got his first NFL touchdown, a 21-yard run in the second quarter, he connected on only 10 of 23 passes for only 82 yards. He was sacked three times.
"Dilfer held the ball longer and we could get to him," linebacker Micheal Barrow said.
The Oilers were hardly an offensive juggernaut, although a ball-control style kept the Buccaneers from getting many chances. In the first half, the Oilers held the ball for 21:11, giving Tampa Bay only 22 offensive plays.
Twelve of the plays came in a 92-yard drive capped by Dilfer's first pro touchdown.