Tampa Bay Recap: Highlights and Lowlights

The Dolphins improved to 3-0 on the preseason with a 10-6 victory at Tampa Bay Thursday night in a game delayed for 45 minutes because of lightning. Overall, though, it wasn't a stellar effort for the Dolphins even though they were able to make it six preseason victories in a row over the last two seasons.

Those who watched the nationally televised game on FOX saw a Miami first-team offense that did absolutely nothing until it was able to drive for a field goal at the end of the interminable first half.

But in their first four possessions, the Dolphins managed a grand total of one first down — and that came as the result of a defensive holding penalty on the Bucs.

The running game, which had been so successful in the victory against Carolina last Saturday night, could get nothing going against the rebuilding Tampa Bay defense.

The passing game also was off, in large part because Chad Pennington wasn't nearly as accurate as he normally is.

It also didn't help that a long completion to rookie Brian Hartline was negated by an offensive pass intererence penalty on Hartline.

The pass protection also wasn't overly impressive, with Pennington taking more shots than he took in either of the first two preseason games.

Even on the Dolphins' only touchdown, a 2-yard pass to tight end Anthony Fasano, Pennington took a major lick as he threw the ball.

On defense, it also wasn't a great performance even though the Dolphins kept the Bucs out of the end zone.

The coverage in the secondary was lacking in the first half to say the least, as it semed a Buccaneers receiver was running free on every single pass play. Really, the only reason Tampa Bay's offense didn't have more success in the first half was Byron Leftwich's inaccuracy, more precisely his penchant for overthrowing open receivers.

But the Dolphins obviously did some good things, otherwise they wouldn't have won.

The offense produced two big plays in this game, a 55-yard completion from Pennington to Hartline on the first drive of the third quarter after Pennington's great ball fake sent the Bucs pass rush in the wrong direction.

That play set up Fasano's touchdown, which turned a 6-3 deficit into a 10-6 lead.

The other big play was a 52-yard completion from Chad Henne to Greg Camarillo, where Camarillo caught the ball while running toward the sideline but was able to put the breaks before he reached the sideline and then ducked under the Bucs defender before racing down the field.

The play put the Dolphins at the Tampa Bay 24-yard line, but that drive ended when Henne failed to see a defensive lineman who had dropped back in coverage and threw a pass right into his gut.

On offense, the two big plays were pretty much the extent of what the Dolphins were able to accomplish.

On defense, the highlights included the performance of outside linebacker Quentin Moses, who continued his strong preseason work.

Moses applied good pressure and forced a grounding penalty when he didn't bite on a Luke McCown fake.

The pass rush as a whole came on strong starting in the second quarter as the Dolphins decided to start blitzing.

Paul Soliai and Nathan Jones had sacks on back-to-back plays, and the pass rush was impressive after a shaky start. Outside linebacker Erik Walden added a big sack in the second half and Cameron Wake hurried a pass on a fourth-down play near the two-minute mark.

Among the other disappointing things we saw against Tampa Bay was a fumble by Lex Hilliard on what appeared to be a routing running play, and a couple of costly penalties against backup linebacker Reggie Torbor.


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