Buccaneers vs. Dolphins: Live Score, Highlights and Analysis for Miami
On this blog we are going to run through the live score, updates and play-by-play as they come.
Well the game is in the books. Following Jonas Gray's costly fumble the Buccaneers punched the ball in the end zone when Jelani Jenkins failed to break down in space and stop the underneath pass catcher from getting across the goal line.
Substandard pass protection drowned quarterback Pat Devlin's attempt to answer with a one-minute drive of his own.
The Buccaneers won the game.
Dolphins 16, Buccaneers 17
I hope you enjoyed the live blog and you can look forward to some position and player grades once I have had time to digest the tape.
Thanks and signing off,
More observations as the game continues:
*Fullback Evan Rodriguez caught a nice pass in the flat and showed a smoothness in his ability to transition from the catch into the run after the catch. He gained the first down and bailed the offense out of a situation in which they were behind schedule.
*Backup tailback Jonas Gray continues to wither on the vine behind extremely poor run blocking by the backup offensive line.
*Rodriguez followed up his good catch and run on the drive with an even more impressive catch and run. This time he cut back to the inside and made a tackler miss in order to pick up good yardage.
*Backup tailback Mike Gillislee also suffered behind poor offensive line blocking. however he found some room and made the most of it on a screen catch.
*Jonas Gray may have fumbled away his opportunity to make the Dolphins' roster, literally. As he ran through one of the first open holes he had seen in two quarters, a penetrating defender poked the football out from behind him.
With backup players on both sides of the ball, and failed execution resulting in poor quality football by both teams, my observations have been reduced to single points of note.
Jorvorskie Lane did not help his bid to make the final roster a second consecutive season with a drop in the fourth quarter.
Backup guard Lance Louis also allowed a man to blow right by him to pressure quarterback Pat Devlin into an incomplete pass.
Dallas Thomas continued his poor season by being bull rushed easily on a three-man rush on third down.
Linebacker Lee Robinson attacked the right hole on a run play but missed the tackle. Defensive end Emeka Onyenekwu also lost his gap control on the play.
A horrible block by left tackle Andrew McDonald ruined the Dolphins next drive, which featured a good run by Mike Gillislee behind cohesive blocking on one play, and a poor run by the same behind poor blocking on another play. This resulted in an impossible third down situation and a predictable punt.
Both teams wallowed in some execution problems as the Dolphins' Jonas Gray failed to find room behind a sub-standard offensive line and the Buccaneers suffered more poor play at the signal caller position.
One interesting development came when Dolphins receiver Chad Bumphis caught a punt from the Buccaneers. The return was minimal, but unimportant. The fact that he was out there was the significant development.
Earlier in the week, special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi stated that he would prefer to employ a committee strategy on punt returns during the regular season, like he did in 2012. The Dolphins traded Davone Bess, who paired with Marcus Thigpen on punt returns a year ago. To date this preseason, the only players aside from Marcus Thigpen that have caught punts are corner DeAndre Presley and receiver Chad Bumphis. Presley is a long shot to make the roster. Therefore, if Darren Rizzi wants a man to share punt return duties with Thigpen, Chad Bumphis would be the leading candidate.
It is true that the Dolphins have two other players on roster with significant college experience returning punts. They are receivers Brian Hartline and Rishard Matthews. However, neither player has taken any reps as a punt returner. It is highly unlikely either would be put out to return punts in Week One without any practice in the role prior to the season.
The Dolphins had an opportunity to get those guys more comfortable with that role in this game, but they passed over the opportunity in order to have Chad Bumphis catching punts a third consecutive preseason game. That may be a significant development.
The Buccaneers started the new half with their backs to their goal line due to a penalty on the kickoff. However they wasted no time creating some room for themselves by taking advantage of bad run defense by the Miami Dolphins' backup defensive players. Linebacker Austin Spitler was easily blocked and lost his gap defense, and defensive tackle Vaughn Martin could not squeeze the run lane to any degree. The next run play also gained a fair four yards of real estate.
However, safety Kelcie McCray made a good play on second down by blitzing up the middle, defeating his blocker and sacking the quarterback. On third down, Josh Freeman tried to throw to the outside on the coverage of Will Davis, who was suffocating his man with tight coverage. The Bucs punted to the Dolphins.
The Dolphins marched onto the field on offense under the direction of new signal man Pat Devlin, who surprisingly suited up after having missed a significant amount of time battling an injury. Tailback Jonas Gray found a hole and ran hard on first down, gaining enough for a new first down. However, Devlin couldn't find a passing lane on the next first down, and the Buccaneers defense collapse on the middle on the following draw play. Jonas Gray did a good job to just get back to the line of scrimmage.
This set up a third-and-eight. Tyson Clabo failed to pick up a man running through an open gap next to his zone of responsibility, but quarterback Pat Devlin sensed the rush and pulled the football down. He scrambled for the long yardage and created a new set of downs. However, with poor blocking up front, the Dolphins quickly stalled.
They punted and nailed the Buccaneers deep into their territory. The team was backed up to their own goal line. A few insignificant runs preceded a big pass by Josh Freeman to Josh Ogletree off a roll to the left side. Will Davis had a bad situation created for him as he had to keep backing up in order to cover a receiver running a corner into his quarter of the field while Ogletree ran a route underneath him.
The Buccaneers had some execution issues as Mike Williams dropped a high pass from Freeman, but came back with a hard run where Brian Leonard broke tackle attempts by Derrick Shelby and A.J. Francis. Even so, a poor block by a Buccaneers tight end on a blitzing linebacker Jonathan Freeny on second down resulted in an impossible third down, and an ensuing punt.
On the Buccaneers' next drive, Nolan Carroll once again put his name on the naughty list by letting up a big catch to Mike Williams on second down. Carroll had trouble tracking Williams down on the run-after-catch.
However a combination of poor execution by Josh Freeman and a little extra pass rush efforts by Randy Starks held the Buccaneers to a third-and-ten. Luckily for Miami, the referees missed Olivier Vernon giving Josh Freeman a roundhouse kick after the play was over on second down. On third down, the Dolphins held a player and halved the distance for the Bucs, giving them a doable third-and-five.
Josh Freeman struck again. With a clean pocket and a wet ball, he put his arm in motion and the ball didn't come with it. The play was a fumble, and the Dolphins recovered.
Tannehill got to work immediately, throwing a strike on a slant Marvin McNutt. He also threw a nice seam pass to Charles Clay down the deep middle, but Clay could not come up with the ball and was lucky to not have his tip-up intercepted. On the following play, Tannehill found Brian Hartline on the out route before Tyson Clabo's pass protection miscue could ruin the play.
With a fresh set of downs, Ryan overthrew Charles Clay over the middle of the field but found Brian Hartline open on a square-in. On third-and-three, Tannehill found Brandon Gibson sitting in a short zone to convert the first down, and then gave Brandon Gibson a chance to redeem his dropped touchdown on a slant pass on first-and-goal.
This time, he caught it.
The Dolphins scored a touchdown with only ten seconds remaining in the half.
Dolphins 13, Buccaneers 10
One thing the Dolphins will miss with tight end Dustin Keller injured is his ability to get off the line and into his short routes extremely quickly. This provides a nice target for the quarterback and results in easy completions. On first down of the Dolphins next drive, he tried to find Charles Clay on a simple out route, but his man coverage was able to crowd him and break up the pass.
Ryan Tannehill went to work finding Brandon Gibson in the open spaces over the middle of the field for two big completions. A couple of unsuccessful runs by Daniel Thomas (one where he hilariously ran into his own teammate's backside) preceded a nice pass to Mike Wallace to create a new set of downs.
On the next play, left tackle Jonathan Martin missed a block which got Daniel Thomas hit in the backfield. But on second-and-goal, Ryan Tannehill found Charles Clay for a decent four yard gain to create an opportunity for a doable tight red zone play.
Brandon Gibson dropped it.
Gibson was open over the middle and Ryan Tannehill threw the football perfectly, but Gibson just could not come up with it.
Caleb Sturgis kicks the field goal.
Dolphins 6, Buccaneers 10
With a chance to respond and trailing by seven points, the Dolphins faltered.
Despite two procedural penalties, the Dolphins managed to dig themselves out of a hole on the arm of Ryan Tannehill, who found Brian Hartline on an out route on third-and-ten.
Lamar Miller had a nice run off the left side behind a key block by left guard Richie Incognito. On second-and-three Tannehill thought he had something in the defense and so he made an adjustment at the line. However, Brandon Gibson could not get open in the seam and Tannehill's pass hit the man defender in the back. On third down, Tannehill could not find open options and Richie Incognito allowed his responsibility to get his outside shoulder and sack Ryan Tannehill.
The Dolphins punted and gave the ball back to the Buccaneers.
On first down, Paul Soliai beat his man and absolutely unloaded on Josh Freeman, who threw an errant duck deep down the field. The ball was not in range for either the offense or defense to come down with it.
Olivier Vernon showed off his run defense by bulling a blocker all the way into the backfield and ruining the integrity of the tailback's track on the run play. On the next play he put the exclamation on the series by beating Donald Penn on an outside pass rush, pressuring Josh Freeman to try and step up into the pocket, and still taking him down for the sack. This forced the Buccaneers to punt.
I apologize for some technical difficulties in updating the Live Blog.
The Buccaneers capped off an extended drive with a touchdown. The Dolphins had previously enjoyed a drive that was fortuitously extended by a penalty. They could not capitalize with the touchdown but instead kicked a field goal. The Buccaneers' first drive foundered, but a special teams miscue gave them the football deep in Miami territory. The Dolphins gave up a pass interference penalty, and the Buccaneers' run blocking did the rest.
Jared Odrick repaid the coaches' confidence in him with strong defense during the first drive. He made plays in the backfield and bullied offensive linemen with his strength and explosiveness. The Dolphins also benefited from success with their blitzing schemes as linebackers made plays in the backfield.
On the other hand, corner Brent Grimes got called pass interference which gave the Bucs a new set of downs close to the end zone. The Bucs showed that they can run the ball with power and finished off the touchdowns.
Dolphins 3, Buccaneers 7
On the ensuing drive, the Dolphins stalled out with Mike Wallace and Ryan Tannehill having large miscues. The Dolphins showed off why they like to have versatility in their slot receivers by moving Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline into the two slot positions while Charles Clay and Brandon Gibson moved to the outside. The Dolphins ran a smash concept to Clay and Wallace's side, and Tannehill placed the football well to Wallace on the corner route. Wallace dropped the pass. On third down, Ryan Tannehill tried to find Charles Clay over the middle but the perimeter corner to Clay's side read Ryan's intentions while in zone coverage, and broke on the football.
The Dolphins punted the ball and gave it to the Buccaneers, who quickly stalled. Poor execution by Josh Freeman forced the Bucs to punt, as two passes were far off target and then he felt phantom pressure on third-and-10 which produced a sack by Jared Odrick.
When the Buccaneers punted, they committed a penalty as one of their gunners ran out of bounds and did not immediately return to the field of plays. The Dolphins opted for a re-kick in order to give their electric return man Marcus Thigpen a chance at a big return.
The decision backfired. With the rain coming down and the ball wet, Thigpen fumbled while being tackled on the re-kick. The Buccaneers got the football yet again off a Dolphins special teams miscue.
Cameron Wake gave a great effort on run defense on the resulting drive, but Brent Grimes could not keep up in coverage with Vincent Jackson on a comeback route which resulted in a big gain and a new set of downs. Paul Soliai nearly blew up the tailback in the backfield on the next play, but the runner escaped and was dragged down for a minimal gain. On second-and-seven the Dolphins brought a full house blitz which was picked up beautifully by the Buccaneers offense. Josh Freeman had all day but he could not find a free passing lane and the ball was tipped at the line. On third-and-seven, the Dolphins once again brought the heat and this time they sprung a linebacker free to Freeman, however Freeman was able to hit his receiver on a hot cut-off route.
The Buccaneers could have gone for the short conversion on fourth-and-two, but chose to kick the field goal.
Dolphins 3, Buccaneers 10
The Dolphins cap off an impressive first drive with a field goal by Caleb Sturgis.
Dolphins 3, Buccaneers 0
John Jerry's start after missing time with injury was a little shaky. While pulling to the left on a run play, Jerry could not quite get to the cutoff block he needed to perform. On an ensuing pass play, he got bullied on the inside.
After a strong start to the preseason, Jonathan Martin had a rough start to the game. His poor pass protection and run blocking contributed to the drive stalling near the goal line.
Brandon Gibson also did not start off strong. He dropped a pass on a crossing route over the middle and also struggled with his run-after-catch on another short pass.
However, the Dolphins moved the ball into the red zone for a reason. Mike Wallace was superb running his routes and gettingI openeasy ways his critics would have you believe him incapable. Ryan Tannehill threw strikes, at times dealing with pressure and still delivering the football. Mike Pouncey was fantastic on his run blocks,helping Lamar Miller find open spaces where his speed became evident.
We have kickoff.
Ryan Tannehill starts the game with half personnel.
They start with a drop on a crossing patternover the middle, followed by a strike on a deep dig by Mike Wallace. Mike Pouncey leads the way on a run around left tackle for a big gain.
Coverage hasn't quite begun yet but it appears some players will make their preseason debut tonight, including guard John Jerry and defensive tackle Randy Starks.
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