Game preview: Bucs at Miami

Here's a preview of Saturday's preseason game between Tampa Bay and Miami:

What to expect

For the projected regular season starters to play most of the first half.

WRs David Boston and Maurice Stovall challenge each other for the No. 2 wide receiver job.

The first-team defense seeks to increase its pressure on the opposing quarterback.

What not to expect

OG Arron Sears won't play due to a mild ankle sprain.

WR Michael Clayton seeing many reps with the first team.

RB Cadillac Williams to play beyond the first quarter, though he should.

Date: Saturday, August 25

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET

Site: Dolphin Stadium (74,916)

2007 Preseason Records: Tampa Bay 1-1, Miami 2-0

Buccaneers Television: WFLA-TV

Play-By-Play: Chris Myers. Color: Charles Davis,

Sideline: JP Peterson and Doug Graber

Bucs Radio: US 103.5, flagship station (103.5 FM, 620 AM)

Play-by-Play: Gene Deckerhoff. Color: Dave Moore. Sideline: T.J. Rives

Up Next: Tampa Bay vs. Houston (8/30), Miami at New Orleans (8/30)

Last Game: Jacksonville d. Tampa Bay, 31-19; Miami d. Kansas City, 11-10

LAST GAME RECAP

Jacksonville 31, Tampa Bay 19 (Aug. 18)

JACKSONVILLE – In a contest that featured 699 yards of total offense and 41 first downs, the host Jaguars defeated the Buccaneers for the fourth consecutive time in the preseason.

Playing almost exclusively in the first quarter, Tampa Bay's starting unit had a strong performance, giving the Buccaneers a 7-0 lead. QB Jeff Garcia completed all six of his passes for 43 yards in limited action, while finding WR David Boston on a 19-yard touchdown pass for the early lead. The Buccaneers starting defense allowed just one Jacksonville first down in its lone quarter of action.

Trailing 7-0 entering the second quarter, the Jaguars scored 24 unanswered points to take control of the game before halftime. Trailing 24-7, Tampa Bay marched deep into Jacksonville territory in its first possession of the second half, but for the second time on the night a Buccaneers fumble ended a potential scoring drive. Jacksonville capitalized on the turnover, extending its lead to 31-7 on RB Alvin Pearman's one-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.

Tampa Bay closed the gap to 31-13 on the next drive as QB Bruce Gradkowski hit WR Mark Jones on a 53-yard touchdown pass. Following a Jaguars fumble, Tampa Bay drew closer at 31-19 on RB Kenneth Darby's one-yard touchdown run with 6:03 remaining. However, Jacksonville was able to run out the clock on its final possession.

GAME LEADERS

Rushing: L. McCown 3-37; E. Graham 6-34

Passing: B. Gradkowski 7-11, 113, 1 TD; L. McCown 9-13, 66

Receiving: C. Gessner 4-48, M. Pittman 3-10

Tackles: A. Hayward 7, M. Hamilton 6, R. Nece 5

Sacks: K. Carter 1-6, G. Adams 1-2

ALL-TIME SERIES

Tampa Bay hosts the Dolphins, marking the 14th time in the last 15 seasons that the two teams square off in the preseason. The Bucs and Dolphins will meet for the 22nd time in the preseason, the most meetings for either team in the preseason. Miami leads the series 14- 7, but Tampa Bay has won three of the last five meetings. The first preseason contest between the two teams was on August 21, 1976, a 28-21 Miami win in Tampa. The Bucs have claimed wins in 1984, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2002, 2003 and 2004.

PRESEASON MEETINGS

Miami leads series 14-7

LAST MEETING (PRESEASON)

Miami 13, Tampa Bay 10 (Aug. 19, 2006)

TAMPA - In what has become a frequent preseason matchup between in-state rivals, the Buccaneers late comeback attempt against the Dolphins fell short as Miami secured the victory with a late interception.

Tampa Bay rookie QB Bruce Gradkowski was again notable, completing 11-of-14 passes for a game-high 193 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

After an impressive first drive, Tampa Bay took a 3-0 lead midway through the first quarter on K Matt Bryant's 33-yard field goal.

Miami captured the lead in the second quarter, piecing together a 14-play, 70-yard drive culminating with a RB Sammy Morris one- yard touchdown run.

The Dolphins pushed their lead to 10-3 on the last play of the first half with a 41-yard field goal by K Olindo Mare.

Following a Buccaneers turnover in Miami territory, the Dolphins went up 13-3 on the ensuing possession as Mare connected on a 52- yard field goal.

Tampa Bay pulled within three at 13-10 as Gradkowski hit WR Edell Shepherd on a 48-yard scoring pass with 6:57 remaining in the contest. The Tampa Bay defense forced a Miami punt on the ensuing drive and the Buccaneers took over at their own 10-yard line with 3:37 remaining.

Gradkowski marched the Tampa Bay offense to the Miami 32-yard line, but his first down pass attempt following the two-minute warning was intercepted.

LAST MEETING (REGULAR SEASON)

Tampa Bay 27, Miami 13 (Oct. 16, 2005)

TAMPA – The Buccaneers offense churned out 180 rushing yards while the defense limited the Dolphins to 64 rushing yards and registered four sacks and one defensive touchdown.

Bucs RB Michael Pittman rushed for a season-high 127 yards on 15 carries, including a 57- yard TD run, and WR Joey Galloway tied his career-high with nine receptions for 96 yards and one TD.

Defensively for Tampa Bay, defensive ends Simeon Rice and Greg Spires each posted one sack and one forced fumble while S Will Allen returned the Spires forced fumble for a TD.

Tampa Bay started the game fast, taking a 7-0 lead on a 10-play, 78-yard opening drive that culminated with a QB Brian Griese seven-yard TD pass to Galloway. Following a Miami FG on its opening drive, the Buccaneers pushed their lead back to seven on K Matt Bryant's 36-yard FG late in the first quarter.

Near the end of the first half, Griese was forced from the game with a knee injury, giving way to QB Chris Simms, who finished the game by completing six-of-10 pass attempts for 69 yards.

Holding a 13-6 advantage in the third quarter, Pittman sprinted free for his long TD run to put the Buccaneers up by 14. On the ensuing drive, Spires forced a QB Gus Frerotte fumble that Allen returned 33 yards for a 27-6 Bucs edge.

Following a Tampa Bay fumble in its own territory, Miami cut the lead to 27-13 with 9:56 remaining in the contest on RB Ronnie Brown's eight-yard TD run but would not get any closer as Tampa Bay's defense forced another turnover on a fumble recovery by DT Anthony McFarland.

PRESEASON SERIES HIGHLIGHTS

Bob Griese throws three touchdown passes to lead Miami to 28-21 win (8/21/76).

The Dolphins use a goal-line stand in the fourth quarter to hold on for 24-20 win (8/25/78) … Doug Williams passes for 216 yards in losing effort

The Tampa defense forces five turnovers in 14-13 victory (8/24/84)... Scot Brantley leads defense with eight tackles and a forced fumble.

Dan Marino throws for 201 yards on 14-of-18 passing in Miami's 21-3 victory (8/29/86).

Miami comes back from 13-7 halftime deficit for 29-13 victory (8/10/91). Scott Mitchell and Fred Banks combine for fourth quarter scores of 30 and 5 yards as Banks totals eight catches for 92 yards and the two touchdowns...

Errict Rhett rushes for 95 yards and the game-winning touchdown in Bucs' 24-17 win in Orlando (8/25/95)

Miami rallies for 14-13 victory (8/13/98) with touchdown and two-point conversion with 1:13 left in the game.

K Olindo Mare boots a 42-yarder, his fifth field goal of the game, with nine seconds remaining for a 15-13 victory at Miami (8/10/00)

Miami QB Mike Quinn hits WR Robert Baker on a 43-yard Hail Mary pass on the final play of the game as the Dolphins rally for a 17-14 victory in Tampa Bay's preseason opener (8/13/01).

Tampa Bay's WR Frank Murphy returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown to lead the Buccaneers to a 14-10 win in head coach Jon Gruden's Buccaneer debut at Raymond James Stadium (8/12/02). Murphy, who became the fifth player in team history to return a kickoff for a TD in preseason history, propelled the Buccaneers to 7-0 lead just 16 seconds into the contest.

LB Ryan Nece intercepts a fourth quarter pass and races 56 yards for a touchdown that broke a 10-10 tie in a 17-10 Bucs win (8/24/04).

Tampa Bay fell to Miami 17-14 at Dolphins Stadium (8/27/05) as the Dolphins rallied from a 14-7 fourth quarter deficit behind WR Danny Farmer's 36-yard touchdown reception in the final quarter.


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