Five things to know from Buccaneers-Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins’ first-team offense started strong and
The in-between needed work.
Miami mounted a 17-play, 8 1/2-minute scoring drive to start the
game, and executed its two-minute offense well to score a touchdown
with 10 seconds left in the first half. Those were their highlights
Saturday in a 17-16 loss to Tampa Bay.
Miami totaled 15 first downs and 180 yards in the opening half
against the Buccaneers’ first-team defense. The score could have
been lopsided, but the Dolphins needed 17 snaps in the red zone
before they reached the end zone, and Brian Hartline and Brandon
Gibson dropped potential touchdown passes.
With one exhibition game to go, here are five things we learned
from the Buccaneers (1-2) and Dolphins (1-3):
1. MIAMI’S OFFENSE REMAINS INCONSISTENT DESPITE SIGNS OF
PROGRESS: Second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill went 17 for 27 for
150 yards and a one touchdown, a 4-yard throw to Gibson threaded
between two defenders. That was one of 13 passes Tannehill
completed to his wideouts, the team’s most improved unit this
season, and Miami frequently lined up with three wide
Gibson caught five passes but dropped two. Hartline caught four
passes, Mike Wallace three and Marvin McNutt one.
The Dolphins sputtered in the red zone in part because blocking
remains shaky at times. The first team netted 38 yards in 15
rushing plays, and Tannehill was knocked to the ground at least
four times, including once on a sack by Trevor Scott.
Tannehill threw several times into tight coverage, and Michael
Adams dropped a potential interception.
”I can’t tell you the rhythm offensively was great,” coach Joe
Philbin said. ”It didn’t feel that way to me. It’s got to get
2. JOSH FREEMAN HAS YET TO LOOK LIKE A QUARTERBACK COMING OFF A
4,000-YARD SEASON: After playing a total of 21 snaps in the first
two games, Freeman went 2 1/2 quarters, but struggled to get the
Bucs going. He went 6 for 16 for 59 yards, took five sacks and had
a passer rating of 48.7. He also lost a fumble at midfield with
1:29 left in the first half and led to Miami’s lone touchdown.
”The whole operation was out of sync, and he is part of the
operation,” coach Greg Schiano said.
Mike Williams was targeted seven times but caught only two
passes. The ground game sputtered, too, although Brian Leonard ran
for 38 yards and a score in 10 carries.
3. DAVE WANNSTEDT ENJOYED SUCCESS AGAINST HIS EX-TEAM: Miami’s
former head coach is in his first year as Tampa Bay’s special teams
coach, and his punt coverage unit recovered two fumbles to set up
Backup linebacker Adam Hayward made both recoveries. One
turnover came after the kick hit blocker Nolan Carroll, and
returner Marcus Thigpen lost a fumble. Thigpen later had a 38-yard
4. BOTH TEAMS ARE STRONGER UP FRONT ON DEFENSE THAN ON OFFENSE:
Neither side managed 100 yards rushing or more than 3.5 yards per
carry, and quarterbacks on both teams were harried all night.
Lamar Miller enjoyed an edge over Daniel Thomas in their
competition for the job as Miami’s No. 1 running back. Miller had
eight carries for 35 yards, including a 20-yard run on his first
carry against the Bucs’ stout run defense. Thomas carried seven
times for 3 yards.
Two-time Pro Bowl guard Davin Joseph, who missed Tampa Bay’s
entire 2012 season because of a right knee injury, played for the
first time this preseason, but couldn’t give the ground game much
of a boost.
The Dolphins totaled six sacks, while Bucs newcomer Scott had
”It’s a good beginning for him,” Schiano said. ”We signed him
for that reason. We believe that’s what he could be. I like his
demeanor and I like the way he carries himself, so hopefully that
5. THE BUCS REMAIN FAR FROM HEALTHY: Cornerback Darrelle Revis,
who began practicing with the Bucs’ first defensive unit this week,
sat out his third exhibition game in a row as he comes back from
knee surgery. Left guard Carl Nicks (infected left big toe) and
running back Doug Martin (head) were also sidelined.
Veteran Rian Lindell, signed this week by the Bucs because
Lawrence Tynes has a toe infection, kicked a 38-yard field
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