With the home team leading 7-3 and second-string QB
The sequence that more completely summed up what the Buccaneers hope to see in the regular season came earlier in the second quarter. The defense started it, with All-Pro DT Gerald McCoy sacking QB Ryan Tannehill and forcing a fumble that DE
“That’s exactly how you want to draw it out,” said Head Coach Lovie Smith, whose defenses have always been known for their copious amounts of takeaways. “It’s about taking the ball away, and after you take it away it’s about getting a touchdown and we were able to do that.”
McCoy and McCown, perhaps the most important players for the Buccaneers on each side of the line of scrimmage, had strong outings. For McCoy, that was a continuation of both his breakout 2013 season and his eye-opening performance a week earlier in Jacksonville. Playing exactly one quarter and one extra play in the second period, the fifth-year defender recorded three tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss, a quarterback hit and a forced fumble…and even that doesn’t adequately describe how often he was in the Miami backfield. He led a starting Buccaneer defense that allowed just 81 yards and three points in roughly a quarter and a half of play.
“The thing about the Tampa Two defense, historically, on a pass is that the guys in the back end were so good because the guys on the line were really good,” said McCoy. “We’re just trying to bring that back and make it easy on the guys behind us, actually let them be able to scrape free over the top in the run and then not have to cover for that long in passing situations.”
McCown, meanwhile, enjoyed far better protection from his offensive line than a week before and made the most of it. He completed five of seven passes for 46 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions and a passer rating of 128.6. On several plays – even a few that ended in incompletions – he showed outstanding pocket awareness, stepping up to avoid pressure.
“It was better,” said McCown. “It was more of what we need to start looking like. We’re still not there yet, obviously. We’ll take a look at the tape and clean some things up for sure, but it’s a good feeling to finish with a touchdown. It was Buc football. That’s what we want it to be. Coach Smith and I were talking about that. Takeaways and touchdowns, that’s we have to do.”
The Bucs’ clearly took a step forward from Week One to Week Two in the preseason, but perhaps not as big of a step as Lovie Smith would have liked. His team still lost the turnover battle, two to one, and the defensive reserves weren’t quite as stingy as the week before. Miami won the offensive yardage battle, 326 to 250. In addition, the game included a long list of injuries, which the Bucs will have to hope don’t include any long-term situations. Among those who left the game early due to injuries were CB
The Buccaneers deferred after winning the coin toss for a second straight week because Lovie Smith trusts his defense to get a quick stop. The Dolphins did get one first down on a short third-down completion, but DT Gerald McCoy’s pressure on a third-down pass attempt three plays later helped kill the drive. The Bucs took a penalty on the ensuing 1 and thus had to start at their own nine.
The Bucs’ offense got off to a much better start than a week ago, with McCown stepping up under pressure on third-and-three and delivering an 11-yard pass to rookie WR Mike Evans. A roughing-the-passer penalty was tacked on the end to take the ball out to the Bucs’ 42. The drive stalled there, however, and the Bucs had to punt for the first time.
The Dolphins got out of that tough situation with a third-down catch for 12 yards by WR Brandon Gibson and a 26-yarder down the middle by WR Jarvis Landry. A hands-to-the-face penalty on T Dallas Thomas pushed the Dolphins back to their 39. The Bucs’ defense got the Dolphins into a third-and-seven and McCoy tipped a pass intended for TE Dion Sims, but the deflection went right to WR Rishard Matthews for a first down at the Bucs’ 32. CB
The Bucs’ next drive nearly reached midfield thanks to two Martin runs for 12 yards and a nifty 14-yard catch-and-run by FB
Despite a brilliant play by McCoy to trap RB Damien Williams for a loss of five early in the ensuing drive, the Dolphins got the ball to their own 41 on a 16-yard catch by Gibson on the final play of the first quarter. The first play of the second quarter was much better for the Bucs, as McCoy sacked Tannehill, forcing a fumble that Michael Johnson recovered on a hop and returned to the Miami 25.
Two plays later, McCown let a play develop and hit TE
DE William Gholston’s hustling tackle on a first-down run by Williams and a well-covered third-and-five incompletion got the ball back to the Bucs’ offense quickly. With Glennon now in to lead the attack (but the starting offensive line still in play), Glennon got the ball into Miami territory with a 14-yard strike to rookie TE
A penalty helped put Miami into a third-and-15 hole minutes later, but QB Matt Moore found WR Damian Williams (not to be confused with Damien Williams) down the right numbers for a gain of 21 to prolong the drive. The Bucs forced a punt from there and the offense took over at its own 20 with 4:11 left in the half. A defensive holding penalty on LB Danell Ellerbe erased a third-down sack for the Miami defense, but Glennon and company were only out to the 28 when the two-minute warning arrived. They ended up punting with 1:48 to go, and Miami used the remaining time to drive into scoring territory.
A pair of 18-yard catches by Damian Williams and Matthews got the ball down to Tampa Bay’s 17 with 34 seconds left. CB
The Bucs got the ball first to start the second half but did little with it, punting after a three-and-out. Miami got into Tampa Bay territory quickly with Moore’s pass down the middle to WR Kevin Cone for 21 yards, Three plays later, Moore got another 21 yards on a pass down the left numbers to WR Armon Binns. Another tough catch by Cone in traffic produced a first down at the Bucs’ three, and two plays later Damien Williams pushed it over the line for a score to make it 17-7.
With Glennon still under center, the Bucs got off to a good start on the next drive with three runs for 18 yards by Mike James. However, Tampa Bay quickly found itself in a third-and-14 and the result was a sack by DE Dion Jordan that forced a fumble by Glennon, with DE Terrence Fede recovering for Miami at the Bucs’ 38.
Tampa Bay’s defense gave up one first down and then held, forcing Miami to settle for three points off the turnover, with Potter knocking home a 51-yarder.
The two teams traded punts again, and
Neither team was able to sustain a drive until Kafka took over again with just under two minutes to play. A 12-yard pass to WR
- There are no official inactives during the preseason but the Buccaneers announced before the game that the following players would not suit up: RB
- The Dolphins indicated before kickoff that the following players would not take part in the game: RB Mike Gillislee, RB Knowshon Moreno, RB Daniel Thomas, TE Charles Clay, DT Micajah Reynolds, C Mike Pouncey, T Jason Fox, TE Arthur Lynch, TE Harold Hoskins and DT A.J. Francis.