Buccaneers vs Dolphins: Miami offense crisp but mistakes keep Bucs in game at halftime

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have battled to a 13-10 Dolphins lead at the end of the first half. The Dolphins offense has looked crisp early in the game, but special teams and defensive mistakes have handed the lead to Tampa Bay.

The Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have first half with Miami leading 13-10.  The Dolphins have out gained the Buccaneers 180 yards to 60, and have had the ball for 18:04 seconds, but early mistakes have kept the Bucs in the game.

Miami's opening drive went 76 yards in 17 plays, but ended with a Caleb Sturgis field goal after the team failed to score from the eight yard line.  The Dolphins clearly came out with the goal of establishing the run, and had one nice run from Lama Miller on the third play of the game, when he ran off the right side of the offensive line, gaining 20 yards.

The story line for the night so far, however, has been special teams turnovers.  After forcing the Buccaneers to punt on their first possession, Nolan Carroll, who was blocking on the play, was knocked back into the ball as Marcus Thigpen attempted to make the fair catch.  The Buccaneers recovered the ball.

Two plays later, Miami cornerback Brent Grimes was beat on a route into the end zone and simply held the receiver, resulting in a defensive pass interference penalty and a Bucs first and goal from the 8 yard line.  Two runs later, Brian Leonard was in the endzone, giving Tampa the 7-3 lead.

Tampa again got a break on their first possession of the second period.  The Dolphins defense held the Bucs to a three and out, only to see Thigpen fumble the ball as he attempted the punt return.  Tampa Bay was held to a field goal on the pursuing extra possession.

After trading possessions, the Dolphins were able to actually have a good punt return.  Carroll ran his player past Thigpen, who returned the ball 38 yards to the Tampa Bay 42 yard line.  The Dolphins then moved the ball to the Tampa five yard line, only to see Brandon Gibson drop the ball in the back of the end zone on what should have been a easy reception.

The Buccaneers would fumble away their next drive, with defensive end Derrick Shelby coming away with the ball. Miami started with the ball at the Tampa Bay 48, moving down to the four yard line before Brandon Gibson came up with the touchdown reception with 10 seconds remaining in the half.

The second half would end with Ryan Tannehill 17-for-27 for 150 yards and a touchdown.  He has a passer rating of 90.0.  Running back Lamar Miller has eight carries for 35 yards, including the 20 yarder.  Other than that one play, the Dolphins have only rushed for 18 yards.

Brandon Gibson leads the game with five receptions and 43 yards, along with his touchdown.  Brian Hartline added 4 catches for 40 yards, while Mike Wallace has three receptions for 31 yards.

On defense, Jared Odrick has a sack, while Shelby had the fumble recovery.  Paul Soliai has dominated the Buccaneers offensive line so far tonight, taking, and shedding, double and triple teams.

The Buccaneers will receive the ball to start the second half.

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