The Dolphins never could recover from a disastrous start in the preseason opener, despite the efforts of Robert Baker and Adewale Ogunleye, and the result was a 14-10 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium.

Baker caught four passes for 85 yards, including 33- and 19-yard receptions on back-to-back plays in the first half. Ogunleye, for his part, had four of Miami's seven sacks on the evening.

But the Dolphins could not make a 14-0 deficit despite dominating the last three quarters of the game.

The Dolphins were hurt by two missed field goals by Olindo Mare and a couple of turnovers, including a key fumble by Travis Minor at the Tampa Bay 1-yard line late in the first half.

But it was the start of the game that had to be especially troubling for Coach Dave Wannstedt.

Mare hit a dribbler on the opening kickoff, and Frank Murphy promptly returned it 95 yards for a touchdown and a quick 7-0 lead for the Bucs.

After the Dolphins got the ball on offense for the first time, fullback Rob Konrad moved early on first down, the Dolphins were flagged for an illegal shift on the next play (the Bucs declined that penalty), then Ricky Williams was stuffed on third-and-4.

To finish off a forgettable series, Joshua Symonette was called for holding on the punt.

"We were so sloppy to start off, it was ridiculous," said Wannstedt.

The Bucs, who also missed two field goals on the evening, increased their lead to 14-0 on the first play of the second quarter when Rob Johnson hit Keenan McCardell in the back of the end with a 4-yard touchdown pass.

The Dolphins got on the scoreboard midway through the second quarter when Ray Lucas capped an 80-yard drive, highlighted by Baker's two big receptions, with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Dedric Ward over the middle.

The Dolphins cut the lead to 14-10 early in the fourth quarter when Mare made a 43-yard field goal, but they didn't really threaten after that.

Their last threat ended when Leonard Henry was dropped for a 1-yard loss on a third-and-1 from the Miami 43 midway through the fourth quarter.

Dolphins Report Top Stories