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Dolphins at Buccaneers: First half recap and immediate reactions in Preseason Week 2

NFL: Preseason-Miami Dolphins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers faced off in a wet Preseason Week 2 contest. The biggest pre-game news was Miami expecting to start quarterback Josh Rosen over Ryan Fitzpatrick this week. While it is still the preseason, the move came as a surprise and could signal the quarterback competition is closer than expected - or even that Rosen is in position to claim the top spot on the depth chart.

The first half ended with Miami leading 6-3.


The Buccaneers started the game receiving the opening kick and setting up their offense at their own 24-yard line. After an incomplete pass to start the possession, the Tampa Bay offense found some rhythm with Jameis Winston completing 16- and 8-yard passes on the next two plays. Peyton Barber picked up five yards on two straight carries before Winston scrambled for five yards, with a Dolphins holding penalty adding another five yards. Ronald Jones picked up ten yards on the next play before losing three from the Dolphins 27. After an incomplete pass, Charles Harris cleaned up after Jerome Baker pressured Winston, coming up with the sack and forcing the drive to end with a punt.

The Dolphins were unable to do anything with the ball on their first posession, however. Rosen was incomplete looking for Kenny Stills on a ball thrown toward the ground more than toward the receiver on the first play. Rosen connected with Isaiah Ford on second down for five yards, then had Preston Williams for the first down on the 3rd-and-5 play, but the receiver dropped the ball and Matt Haack had to come on to punt.

The Buccaneers turned to Blaine Gabbert after the punt, finding Andre Ellington on the first down play. Ellington then ran for two yards. On third down, Gabbert again found Ellington, who coughed up the ball on the hit from Sam Eguavoen, with Eric Rowe recovering. After the review, the call stood.

Miami turned to running back Mark Walton on the next drive, seeing him pick up three yards on the first play, then 12 yards on a reception on the second. After a one-yard loss, Walton came back with a two-yard gain. Rosen found Williams for seven yards on 3rd-and-9, but an unnecessary roughness penalty game Miami a first down. The Dolphins then gave up ten yards with a holding penalty. Rosen found Stills for seven yards, then lost one on a Walton run. Rosen connected with tight end Mike Gesicki on 3rd-and-Goal, but came up two yards short of the endzone. After a Buccaneers timeout, Miami failed on a fourth-down throw toward Ford.

The Buccaneers started at their own two-yard line after the turnover on downs, but picked up ten yards on a Dare Ogunbowale run. After that, the drive stalled with Ogunbaowale picking up three yards followed by two incomplete passes. Tampa Bay punted.

Myles Gaskin took over at running back on the next possession, picking up nine yards on the first play, then losing five on the second, but a five-yard penalty negated the play and gave Miami a first down. Rosen was incomplete on the following play, looking toward Gesicki. He then connected with Gesicki on second down for a seven yard gain. On 3rd-and-3, Rosen found Kenny Stills for nine yard and a new set of downs. Gaskin lost a yard on first down, then a false start penalty backed up Miami five more yards. Rosen found Brice Butler for 11 yards, then threw toward Williams on 3rd-and-5, but the receiver was well covered and the hit knocked away the pass. Miami connected on the 45-yard field goal attempt by Jason Sanders.

Dolphins 3-0.

Tampa Bay started at the 22-yard line after the kickoff. Ellington picked up two yards on the first play, then Gabbert threw incomplete on second down. Gabbert scrambled for six yards on third down, leading to a punt.

Miami’s drive was no better. After a short run from Walton, two straight sacks of Rosen ended the drive.

Ogunbowale picked up just a yard on the first down play, with Akeem Spence making the stop. Gabbert then found tight end Tanner Hudson for four yards. Gabbert connected with Bobo Wilson for a wide-open catch and run leading to a 30-yard gain. Miami’s defense clearly missed Wilson in an assignment. After an incomplete pass and a run for no gain, Tampa Bay picked up nine yards on a pass to Hudson, then converted the 4th-and-1 play with an Ogunbowale one-yard run. He then lost a yard on the next play, with Eguavoen making the stop in the backfield. Gabbert then threw a pass to no one, trying to hold up as he saw a defender flash in front of his receiver. Miami’s first-round pick, defensive tackle Christian Wilkins sacked Gabbert on third down, with Tampa Bay converting on the field goal.

Tie 3-3.

After the kickoff, Miami went from their own 24 to their 46-yard line as Rosen scrambled away from pressure then found tight end Durham Smythe for the 22-yard gain. After the two-minute warning, Gaskin picked up two yards. He then picked up three more yards on the next play. On 3rd-and-5, Rosen lobbed a pass directly to the defense, but it was dropped and Miami escaped with a punt.

Gabbert looked toward Justin Watson on the first play, but Chris Lammons was able to break up the pass. Harris came up with a sack on the next play, then Wilkins was able to pressure Gabbert straight up the middle, forcing an incomplete pass. The Buccaneers punted.

Miami started the drive with 30 seconds on the clock looking to pick up chunks of yards to at least get in position for a field goal. Rosen found Ford for 15 yards on the first play, then was ruled to have found Williams for an 11 yard gain, but the play was overturned when replay showed the ball clearly hit the ground first. Rosen was sacked on the next play when Jaryd Jones-Smith completely missed on the block at left tackle. Rosen looked to the endzone on the next play, with Williams tipping the ball to himself for what appeared to be a score, but his toes had touched out of bounds just before he caught the ball and it was ruled incomplete. Miami connected on the 49-yard field goal.

Dolphins 6-3.

Miami squib-kicked the kickoff for the end of the half

Immediate reactions

Jerome Baker is a monster on defense. I do not think there is a place on the field where he cannot be instantaneously. He seems to simply be in on every play.

Sam Eguavoen is on the roster and could be a starter at this point. He was also having an impact on special teams.

Charles Harris had a good game as well. In fact, the Dolphins defensive line showed some pressure on the night, a good sign that maybe they will be able to get after the quarterback more than we think.

Josh Rosen played the entire first half, and he was fine. There was no special moment, but there was nothing horrible either. He did have one really bad throw that should have been picked off, and a few great plays where he avoided pressure. Overall, a 10-for-18, 102 yard day.

Preston Williams struggled most of the night, dropping passes he should have caught. The play at the end of the half was almost enough to forget about the rest of the first 30 minutes, but he just seemed off all night. He caught one pass for seven yards, while being targeted six times.

The offensive line is still the Dolphins offensive line.