Buccaneers 20, Dolphins 7

With first-team quarterback David Garrard out for up to a month,

Dolphins quarterback of the future Ryan Tannehill had a promising

preseason debut Friday night.

Tannehill completed 14 of 21 passes for 167 yards, including an

11-yard touchdown to tight end Charles Clay in the third quarter

for Miami’s only score in a 20-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

(No. 26 in the AP Pro32).

Garrard was scheduled to start after being listed first on the

depth chart, but his agent confirmed Friday he’s slated to have

knee surgery. His absence is likely to knock him out of the

three-way battle for the starting quarterback job he was waging

with Tannehill and Matt Moore, who started the last 12 games last

season for Miami (No. 27 in the AP Pro32).

Dolphins starting linebacker Kevin Burnett also missed the game

despite taking part in warm-ups. Backup offensive lineman Nate

Garner was helped off the field in the fourth quarter after

sustaining an ankle injury.

Tannehill, taken eighth overall in the 2012 draft, is the

Dolphins’ quarterback of the future, but he’s hoping to convince

his coaches to make him a starter right away.

He made a pretty argument for his case on Friday night.

Before his TD pass, a strike down the middle, Tannehill had a

touchdown pass to wide receiver Roberto Wallace late in the second

quarter overturned by instant replay. Two plays later, Tannehill

missed Clay near the sideline on a fourth-and-goal from the 3-yard


He was 8 for 9 on his touchdown drive, the highlight a beautiful

touch pass to Wallace over a linebacker that was good for 19 yards

on a third-and-11. The only incompletion on the drive was a pass

that was batted down at the line of scrimmage.

Tannehill, who finished the game with a 106.6 passer rating,

entered with 3:16 left in the second quarter to the applause of a

sparse crowd still sitting despite a driving rain. His first pass,

on a third-and-6, was thrown behind wide receiver Julius Pruitt and

led to a three-and-out.

Matt Moore got the start in Garrard’s place and completed 7 of

12 passes for 79 yards with one interception for a rating of


Moore, though, was the victim of some bad luck. He produced

three first downs on his first drive, only to see Chad Johnson let

a pass go through his hands on third-and-3 from the Tampa Bay 33.

It was the only pass thrown in Johnson’s direction.

Moore’s final pass midway through the second quarter was

intercepted by rookie linebacker Lavonte David, but the ball was

tipped at the line of scrimmage by defensive tackle Frank Okam.

The Dolphins’ second-round pick of the 2012 draft, tackle

Jonathan Martin, also got extended playing time but had an

up-and-down performance. Martin started at right tackle and played

into the third quarter, long after the other starting offensive

linemen had left the game. Martin held up well in pass protection

but also was flagged for two false starts.

For Tampa Bay, the game was a good start under new head coach

Greg Schiano.

The Bucs looked sharp offensively at the start of the game,

scoring touchdowns on their first two possessions.

Starting quarterback Josh Freeman left the game after playing

only one series, completing 4 of 5 passes for 41 yards. LeGarrette

Blount finished off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown plunge on


Bucs first-round pick Doug Martin scored on a 2-yard run on

Tampa Bay’s next drive and finished with 21 yards on seven


Tampa Bay’s third-quarter field goal was set up by a 74-yard

kickoff return by rookie seventh-round pick Michael Smith, a

running back from Utah State.

Online: http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 and