Buccaneers on the roster bubble had one last chance to put some live-action plays on film Thursday night in Miami and a few took full advantage of the situation.
Tampa Bay turned over the Dolphins five times and recorded a first-quarter safety en route to a 22-17 victory that allowed the Bucs to finish their preseason schedule 2-2.
Bucs backups didn’t do much on offense, getting outgained 462-234, but that’s also because they didn’t really need to. The defense provided short fields all night or just took care of the scoring itself, like when linebacker Khaseem Greene ran back a diving interception 98 yards in the third quarter.
Backup safety Keith Tandy made quite the impression by picking off former Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman two times in the game’s final two minutes. Tandy’s initial pick came on the first play after the 2-minute warning when he caught Freeman’s airmailed pass to tight end Jake Stoneburner in the end zone.
The interceptions both came after Tandy recorded the game’s first turnover on punt coverage. He was the first man down the field to put pressure on Miami return man LaMichael James and dove on the loose ball when James muffed Jacob Schum’s 41-yard punt.
Safety Major Wright logged his first interception of the season when he grabbed a McLeod Bethel-Thompson pass in the first quarter that was tipped up by linebacker Jason Williams.
One of the organization’s toughest decisions come final cut-down time Saturday will be at receiver and a trio of rookies made sure those choices won’t be any easier after Thursday.
Adam Humphries caught four of his five targets for 62 yards and his first touchdown as a pro. The score came on a 5-yard hookup from Mike Glennon two snaps after Tandy’s fumble recovery. The rookie out of Clemson also picked up nine yards on a punt return with little room to work with and took the kickoff after the safety 14 yards.
After the first three throws in Rannell Hall’s direction were nearly uncatchable, the UCF product showed off some good hands and ended up with four receptions and 63 yards. Hall lined up deep to return most of the night’s kickoff but never had an opportunity to run one out of the end zone.
The team’s third-leading receiver was rookie Donteea Dye out of Division-III Heidelberg College. Dye caught two passes for 36 yards, including the game’s longest offensive play of 31 late in the second quarter.
That long catch helped set up the second of two long field goals by recently signed kicker Kyle Brindza. Also in his first year, Brindza stated his case to unseat incumbent Patrick Murray by drilling field goals of 57 and 55 yards in the first half. Connor Barth attempted the team’s other kick and had his 50-yarder blocked by James Davidson.
Glennon turned in a rocky first-half performance before giving way to third-stringer Seth Lobato. Starter Jameis Winston’s presumed backup went 11 of 20 for 141 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Backup Dolphins cornerback Will Davis victimized Glennon on both occasions. Lobato completed just 2 of 6 passes for 22 yards.
Bucs running backs totaled 75 yards on 28 attempts, though Mike James managed to pick up 49 of those on 11 carries (4.5-yard average). Bobby Rainey added 27 yards on 11 touches and Charles Sims finished with zero yards on five rushing attempts.
Backup linebackers joined the receivers by turning in solid performances Thursday, with Greene (9), Williams (7) and Larry Dean (6) leading the defense in tackles. Greene also recorded a special teams takedown.
Dean and defensive lineman Da’Quan Bowers picked up the team’s only two sacks.
Two unfortunate sights Thursday were offensive lineman Garrett Gilkey and defensive lineman Larry English needing to be carted off the field.
With preseason games in the books, all NFL teams must now cut down their rosters to a maximum of 53 players before 4 p.m. Saturday.
Pingback: Takeaways Power Bucs To 22-17 Win Over Dolphins | Buccaneer Bruce
We did one good thing in this game and that was the defense got after the ball and made some things happen. Our pass rush was poor and we couldn’t stop their RB’s. On offense there was very little OL support. I thought Glennon and Sims were horrible and our TE’s did nothing. I saw nothing that said this team is ready to play pro football. Right now we are 32 in the NFL and will have to prove we can be better. Go Bucs. lets hope for some DE and OL help pick ups in the next few days.
While it’s true we didn’t look impressive on the offensive side, people also need to factor in the fact that Koetter was not really game planning much during preseason. He will work his magic and get our offense functioning like a well oiled machine.
Our defense seems to have gained the “kick in the a$$” it needed after learning the system last year. Things are looking up so ignore the “Chicken Littles” of the world and see how far we go.
We will be contenders in 2017 and possibly even this year…Go Bucs!
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