WHAT HAPPENED IN TAMPA BAY’S 20-7 WIN IN MIAMI?
Aside from too many penalties, the Buccaneers starters and second-stringers started fast and outplayed the Dolphins in Greg Schiano’s first game as Tampa Bay’s head coach, taking a 14-0 lead into halftime en route to a 20-7 victory. The offense scored on its first two possessions, which was a rarity in 2011, while the Bucs defense produced an early interception and a goal line stand to end the first half.
Schiano wants to establish the rushing attack early and then run the ball at will in Tampa Bay, and that’s what we saw in the first half as the Bucs out-rushed the Dolphins 56-19 and scored both of the team’s touchdowns on the ground as team team held a 18:31-11:29 time of possession advantage.
Tampa Bay quarterbacks Josh Freeman and Dan Orlovsky combined to complete 12-of-13 passes (92.3 percent) for 132 yards against Miami. Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill, the team’s first-round draft pick, completed 14-of-21 passes for 167 yards with one touchdown and one interception in his NFL debut.
The Bucs’ third-team defense only surrendered a touchdown and produced another goal line stand in the fourth quarter. The Bucs were out-gained 354 yards to 269, but came up with timely turnovers and held a 33:39 to 26:21 time of possession advantage.
Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan had to be pleased with the Bucs’ 53 percent conversion rate on third down (8-of-15), and 100 percent fourth down conversion rate (1-of-1) against Miami. Meanwhile, the Bucs defense under coordinator Bill Sheridan held the Dolphins to 3-of-13 (23 percent) on third downs and 2-of-4 (50 percent) on fourth downs.HOW THE TEAMS SCORED – BUCS VS. DOLPHINS SCORING SERIES
First Quarter – Bucs 7, Dolphins 0
After the Bucs defense held the Dolphins without points on its first possession, the offense drove down the field in 13 plays to take a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. True to Greg Schiano’s script of wanting to establish a rushing attack, the Bucs ran the ball eight times on the initial drive with LeGarrette Blount carrying the ball seven times for 30 yards, including a 16-yarder and a 1-yard touchdown on fourth-and-1. Quarterback Josh Freeman was 4-of-5 for 41 yards on the drive.
Second Quarter – Bucs 14, Dolphins 0
The Buccaneers’ second offensive series finished in the end zone, too. Dan Orlovsky replaced Freeman and rookie Doug Martin and new wide receiver Tiquan Underwood carried the workload. Martin rushed six times for 18 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown to give Tampa Bay a 14-0 lead in the second quarter. Underwood caught passes of 23 yards and a 44-yarder down to the Miami 4 to set up the score.Second Quarter – Bucs 14, Dolphins 0
With rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill, Miami appeared to answer with a touchdown pass on cornerback Myron Lewis with 58 seconds left in the first half, but instant replay overturned the call after the official saw evidence that the ball hit the ground. Two plays later, cornerback Anthony Gaitor broke up a pass on fourth-and-goal and the score remained 14-0 with the Bucs leading at the half.Third Quarter – Bucs 14, Dolphins 7
The Dolphins finally scored a touchdown as Tannehill’s 11-yard strike hit Charles Clay, who beat rookie middle linebacker Najee Goode, to the end zone. The touchdown capped off a nine-play, 70-yard touchdown drive.Third Quarter – Bucs 17, Dolphins 7
After Miami’s touchdown, rookie running back Michael Smith ripped off a 74-yard kickoff return. After the Bucs’ drive stalled after four yards on three plays, Kai Forbath’s 41-yard field goal increased Tampa Bay’s lead to 17-7.Fourth Quarter – Bucs 20, Dolphins 7
Forbath’s second field goal, this time from 28 yards, gave the Buccaneers a 20-7 lead after Brett Ratliff led the team 50 yards in seven plays.Fourth Quarter – Bucs 20, Dolphins 7
After driving 71 yards, the Dolphins’ drive stalled on fourth-and-goal at the Tampa Bay 2-yard line when Pat Devlin’s pass to rookie Jeff Fuller was broken up by cornerback James Rodgers. That was the Bucs’ second goal line stand of the night.WHO WAS THE BUCS’ MVP?
There were several standout performers in Tampa Bay’s 20-7 victory in the team’s 2012 preseason opener, but speedy new wide receiver Tiquan Underwood stole the show. Underwood had a huge night for the Bucs, catching a 23-yard pass on third-and-5 on Tampa Bay’s second offensive series. Then Underwood hauled in a huge, 44-yarder down to the Dolphins 4 in between two Dolphins defenders. Underwood, who has been a star in training camp, also converted a first down on third-and-6 with a 9-yard reception. All three of Underwood’s catches produced first downs.WHICH BUCCANEERS DIDN’T PLAY AND WHO GOT HURT?
The Bucs secondary was a bit thin in the 2012 preseason opener as cornerback Aqib Talib (hamstring) and rookie strong safety Mark Barron (toe) didn’t play. Anthony Gaitor and Cody Grimm started in place of Talib and Barron, respectively.
Tampa Bay was also without starting left tackle Donald Penn (calf), cornerback E.J. Biggers (foot), wide receiver Arrelious Benn (knee), defensive tackle Gary Gibson (Achilles) and tight end Dallas Clark (rest). All three players were inactive for the game.
Reserve Bucs guard Mike VanDerMuelen injured his leg during the fourth quarter and limped off.WHO MADE AN INSTANT IMPACT IN TAMPA BAY?
The Buccaneers featured several new faces in red and pewter in Miami. The starting defense featured three brand new starters from a year ago in cornerbacks Eric Wright and Anthony Gaitor and linebacker Lavonte David, while the offense saw new starters in left guard Carl Nicks and wide receiver Vincent Jackson. There were plenty of new faces in the Bucs’ backup ranks, as well. Here is who stood out for the Bucs in the team’s preseason opener at Miami:
• Backup QB Dan Orlovsky started the game 7-of-7 for 89 yards in the first half. Despite not having overwhelming arm strength, Orlovsky pushed the ball down the field to Tiquan Underwood twice on the opening drive. He finished the game 8-of-8 for 91 yards in his Buccaneers debut.
• New cornerback Eric Wright had a solid night with good coverage, a tackle and a pass breakup on the first two series.
• Rookie running back Doug Martin, who was the second of Tampa Bay’s two first-round draft choices, picked up a first down on his first NFL carry, which was three yards on third-and-2. He got the majority of his workload on Tampa Bay’s second series where he rushed six times for 18 yards, including a 10-yard dash and a 2-yard touchdown. Martin also caught a 7-yard pass on the only pass thrown his way.
• New Bucs defensive tackle Amobi Okoye tipped a Matt Moore pass that was picked off by rookie linebacker Lavonte David to end Miami’s third offensive possession. David showed off his speed with an open-field tackle on a punt return in the second quarter. David also knifed in and had a tackle for loss on Tampa Bay’s third defensive series.
• Rookie Michael Smith had a 34-yard kickoff return out to the Tampa Bay 30-yard line on his first NFL touch. His second kickoff was returned 74 yards down to the Miami 27 to help set up a 41-yard field goal by Kai Forbath. Smith did struggle to run the ball on offense, though, gaining just 10 yards on nine carries (1.1 avg.) with a long of five yards.WHAT WILL UPSET GREG SCHIANO WHEN HE WATCHES THE FILM?
The only real negative for the Buccaneers in the 2012 preseason opener was the number of penalties the team committed to start the game. In the first half the Bucs were flagged five times as offsides penalties were called on defensive tackles Roy Miller and Gerald McCoy on the first defensive series, followed by a dead ball personal foul on wide receiver Preston Parker on Tampa Bay’s first offensive series.
Defensive end Adrian Clayborn was offsides on Tampa Bay’s second series. Two more offsides penalties occurred as defensive end George Johnson committed one on the Bucs’ second kickoff, as did defensive lineman Wallace Gilberry on defense.
The Bucs seemed to get the penalty situation under control in the second half and finished with just six for 36.
Other things that won’t make Schiano happy included zero sacks from the defense and a muffed punt return by Preston Parker that resulted in a turnover.WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE BUCS?
Tampa Bay hosts the Tennessee Titans at Raymond James Stadium on Friday, August 17 in the preseason home opener for the Buccaneers. Game time is at 7:30 p.m. and the game is not sold out.
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