First-Half Highlights and Lowlights

A storm hit Sun Life Stadium right before kickoff on Saturday night, and the brief showed left the infield dirt a muddy mess. It pretty much was the same way for the Dolphins' performance in the first half of their preseason opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The first-team offense accomplished virtually nothing in its four series, gaining a mere 40 yards and two first downs.

The first-team defense, meanwhile, gave up a 60-yard touchdown drive to the Buccaneers that culminated in a 13-yard pass from Josh Freeman to Sammie Stroughter.

In looking back, there were a lot more lowlights than highlights.

The highlights:

-- Tyler Thigpen threw a beautiful pass over defenders to connect with Patrick Turner on a 34-yard gain.

-- Ronnie Brown ran with authority, gaining 8 yards on each of his first two carries.

Backup nose tackle Paul Soliai was perhaps the team's best defensive player in first half, making a couple of tackles in the backfield and recovering a fumble.

-- After a mediocre first punt, Brandon Fields came back with boomers of 63 and 62 yards.

-- Channing Crowder was active against the run.

-- Vontae Davis made a nice tackle to drop Derrick Ward for a 1-yard loss on a running play.

-- Rookie corner Nolan Carroll had a nice pass breakup.

Now for the lowlights:

-- Vernon Carey was called for a false start.

-- Brandon Marshall had a tough drop on the Dolphins' second series, but then a really bad drop on a 20-yard pass when he was wide open in the Tampa Bay secondary.

-- On the next series, it was Brian Hartline's turn to drop a pass.

-- Second-year tackle Andrew Gardner was badly beaten for a sack and to make matters worse he was called for holding on the play.

-- Davis was beaten for a 30-yard completion down the sideline to rookie Mike Williams and Sean Smith was beaten two plays later when he left Stroughter wide open down the sideline.

-- Chris Clemons missed a tackle on a Josh Johnson scramble, allowed the quarterback to convert a third-and-16 with an 18-yard run.

-- Thigpen fumbled a snap on a third-and-4 from the Tampa Bay 5-yard line and the turnover cost the Dolphins at least three points.

-- Rookie wide receiver Marlon Moore dropped an easy swing pass from Thigpen.


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