Highlights and Lowlights

Like most preseason finale, Thursday night's game between the Dolphins and Cowboys was reserved mostly for young players and those looking to make a last push for a roster spot. But it was an established veteran who had the best game of all for the Dolphins.

As we do with every preseason game, here are the highlights and lowlights to come out of the 17-3 victory over Dallas.


• Clearly, the best player on the field Thursday night was cornerback Will Allen. There was a school of thought that his roster spot might be in jeopardy, but he sure looked against Dallas like a guy who can make a lot of plays. Sure, he wasn't going against the Cowboys' starting offensive players, but Allen came up to make a sure tackle after a reception, he tipped a pass in the end zone to help create an interception and then he teamed with safety Reshad Jones to drop wide receiver Kevin Ogletree for a 2-yard loss on reverse.

• It probably was too little too late in terms of getting him a roster spot, but rookie linebacker Quinton Spears showed some pass-rushing ability. He forced an incompletion when he hit quarterback Stephen McGee on a play that initially was ruled a fumble, then came back not long after that to get a sack.

• Unlike Spears, Clyde Gates is almost a lock to make the roster, and he once again got behind a defender — for the fourth straight preseason game. The only difference is that this time Matt Moore was able to connect with him for a 42-yard gain. And, truth be told, had the pass not been a bit underthrown, Gates would have scored.

Marlon Moore clearly is on the bubble at the wide receiver, but he capped a very strong preseason with yet another nice catch over the middle. His performance might be enough to convince Coach Tony Sparano to keep six wide receivers.

Larry Johnson didn't get much yardage outside of his 22-yard touchdown, but he ran hard every time he touched the ball and looked like somebody who could help this team during the season.

• Speaking of Matt Moore, he had another solid performance, this time putting together a 149.1 passer rating. He'll be a solid backup to Chad Henne. His touchdown pass to tight end Jeron Mastrud down the middle was a thing of beauty.

• Defensive lineman Ryan Baker isn't flashy in the least, but he's a really serviceable guy and he made a couple of plays against Dallas, including a second-half sack.


• Third quarterback Kevin O'Connell has more NFL experience than fourth-stringer Pat Devlin, but he looked very hesitant in the pocket and seemed too willing to take off and scramble.

• This isn't about a specific player, but you have to feel bad for the fans who paid money to watch this game considering a total of 52 players (31 on the Cowboys, 21 on the Dolphins) were held out.

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