The Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have completed their Preseason Week 1 contest, with the Buccaneers coming away with the 26-24 victory.
The Dolphins have some things to clean up, but it was, overall, a fairly good performance for Miami. There were not nearly as many flags and pre-snap penalties as was feared pre-game. Ryan Tannehill came out and immediately rolled out of the pocket in a designed bootleg, showing that he can still run and that the knee seems to be fine. Some of the rookies, like Minkah Fitzpatrick, Jerome Baker, and Kalen Ballage were strong in the game as well.
Overall, this game was fairly vanilla, which is exactly what the first preseason game should be. The defense basically ran cover two most of the night, and the offense was going through many of the basic plays in the playbook. There are still some areas of concern, especially with the cornerbacks outside of Xavien Howard. No one seemed to step up in this game, and the Dolphins will continue to hold a position battle for whomever wants to claim the job.
The only really major issue for the night was the injury to linebacker Mike Hull, who sustained an injury to his left knee and had to be carted off the sideline after being helped walking over there.
The main take-away for this game is simply that the guys are back on the field and starting to play football. This game means nothing in terms of record or how the team plays in the fall, but it was important to get the players some game experience. It was good to see some of the younger players have strong games. Now the team will get back to training camp practices and continue to build up toward the regular season.
The Dolphins get the ball first and immediately go uptempo, which is exactly what Adam Gase has wanted since he became head coach. Ryan Tannehill rolls out on the first play, looking like the pre-injury Tannehill. The Dolphins convert on a quick 4th-and-1 attempt. Tannehill throws some nice passes on the opening drive, but cannot connect on Danny Amendola and Kalen Ballage on the final two pass attempts of the drive and Jason Sanders misses a 53-yard field goal attempt.
The Buccaneers come out and look to be uptempo as well. Ryan Fitzpatrick gets the start for Tampa Bay, who will be without Jameis Winston for the first three weeks of the regular season. Davon Godchaux gets called for encroachment early in the drive, and pre-snap penalties continue to be an issue for Miami. The short field comes back to haunt the Dolphins, with the Buccaneers quickly finding the end zone on a Peyton Barber 4-yard run, but then miss the extra point.
David Fales comes in for the Dolphins at quarterback, ending Tannehill’s day. Ballage bounces the first play outside and gets the edge, picking up 14 yards. After a sack, Fales found Albert Wilson for two quick long passes, picking up first downs on both. Jakeem Grant then drew a defensive pass interference penalty. Fales then missed an open Mike Gesicki in the end zone, then missed him again on a crossing route, leading to a 29-yard field goal from Sanders.
Fitzpatrick stayed out on the field for the second drive for Tampa Bay, but it was another Fitzpatrick who stared on the possession. Dolphins rookie Minkah Fitzpatrick showed up on multiple plays, breaking up one pass like a free safety, then playing a short pass like a linebacker and breaking it up too. The Buccaneers punted.
The Dolphins changed their quarterback to Brock Osweiler on the next drive. Ballage picked up nine yards, with tight end Thomas Duarte making a beautiful block to spring the rookie.
End 1st Quarter.
Osweiler looks deep on second down, slightly underthrowing Grant who goes up and lets the ball go right through his hands. On third down, Osweiler somehow avoided a sack, and found Ballage sprinting toward the line of scrimmage from the backfield. Ballage got to the first down marker, then jumped a defender and knocked the ball out of his hands with his knee. The Buccaneers recovered as the ball just lay on the turf.
Jameis Winston entered the game for Fitzpatrick, quickly moving the ball downfield and into scoring position. Dolphins linebacker Mike Hull was injured on the first-and-goal play, with trainers tending to his left knee then having to help him walk off the field. On second-and-goal, Ronald Jones scored, giving the Buccaneers a second rushing touchdown.
The Dolphins went three-and-out in their next possession, losing yards on a sack.
Winston would then again carve the Dolphins defense up through the air. Linebacker Jerome Baker, however, would come up big a couple of times, both with a play in the backfield and on a third-and-ten play to sop the Buccaneers a yard short of the conversion, leading to a field goal. Baker has been quiet so far this summer, but his instincts appear to be putting him in the right place to make a play in the second quarter of the game.
Miami then brought David Fales back into the game. Fales looked for Leonte Carroo on first down, but the pass was broken up. The Dolphins running backs then took over the drive, with Ballage picking up ten yards on a pass, then two yards on a carry, with Senorise Perry then picking up eight yards on a reception, 15 yards on a carry, 16 yards on a pass, 12 yards on a run, and a seven yard touchdown pass. The Dolphins running backs are looking to prove they are not a two-headed monster with Drake and Frank Gore, but rather a four-headed behemoth coming with Drake, Gore, Ballage, and Perry.
After the kickoff went out of bounds, the Buccaneers started their next possession at the 40-yard line. Jordan Phillips came to play on the possession, starting with a tackle for a loss on first down, then blew up the line of scrimmage on the next first down, leading to a Vincent Taylor sack. Taylor made the next play, stopping a screen pass for no gain, and the Buccaneers would end the drive with a punt.
Osweiler returned to quarterback the Dolphins after the punt. Miami could not do anything with the ball, however, as Ballage picked up two yards, then Osweiler found Rashawn Scott for nine yards then Duarte for three yards, then Ballage for four yards, before an incompletion led to a punt.
The Buccaneers attempted to run their two-minute offense after getting the ball back with 30 seconds to play, but were only able to pick up 16 yards before the half.
The Buccaneers got the ball to start the second half, with Ryan Griffin coming into the game at quarterback. On second down, however, the Buccaneers would fumble, giving Miami the ball at their own 13-yard line.
Miami could not do much with the ball, however. They started the possession with a delay of game penalty. After Thomas Duarte caught a short pass and turned up field for a 13-yard gain, Ballage could not pick up any further yards and Osweiler threw incomplete on third down. The team settled for a 23-yard Jason Sanders field goal.
Tampa Bay took control of the game then, running a nearly eight-minute drive. Griffin continued as the quarterback, and the team just picked apart the Dolphins. The drive featured a 12-yard and a 14-yard gain, but everything else was basically dink-and-dunk and short runs. The Buccaneers gained 88 yards on the drive, using 17 plays to do it and ultimately scoring on a 10-yard pass.
The Dolphins moved quickly on their next drive, with Fales under center again. On first down, Fales threw a perfect pass to Francis Owusu on a deep post pattern, picking up 45 yards on the play. After that, however, the team only picked up another six yards before having to settle for another field goal.
Tampa Bay would go three-and-out on their next possession.
Miami would put their own long drive together on the next drive, with Osweiler back under center. Unfortunately, a 16-play, 58-yard drive would result in no points as a false start penalty backed up the team from the five yard line. On fourth-and-goal from the three, Osweiler threw an incomplete pass and the Buccaneers took over on downs.
The Buccaneers again held the ball for a long time of possession, putting together a 61-yard drive on 13 plays, taking up 6:14 on the clock. However, the drive would still at the Miami 35-yard line, with Tampa Bay missing a 53-yard field goal attempt.
The Dolphins replaced the Osweiler/Fales quarterback duo with Bryce Petty on the next possession. He immediately found Buddy Howell on a short pass, then saw the rookie running back run for 18 yards. Then Petty connected with Owusu deep for 23 yards, getting down to the Buccaneers 16-yard line. After an incomplete pass, Howell picked up ten yards on a rush, then Petty found Isaiah Ford for the six-yard touchdown. On the two-point conversion attempt, Petty again found Ford to give Miami the lead.
The Buccaneers, with no timeouts remaining, drove straight back down the field. Griffin completed passes of 12 yards, 18 yards, 8 yards, and 20 yards before the team ran the ball for two yards and seven yards to set up a short field goal with just 26 seconds remaining.
Miami tried to make a last second drive, but, after a roughing the passer penalty appeared to give the team hope, Petty threw an interception and the Buccaneers killed the clock.
Final Buccaneers 26-24.