MIAMI, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Thursday, August 9 marked the start of the 2018 NFL preseason for many teams, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers faced off against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium that night. NFL players and fans alike were chomping at the bit to get back to some good ol’ Thursday night football.
By close to the end of second quarter, the Buccaneers led the Dolphins 16-3. With less than five minutes left in the second quarter, Miami scored their first touchdown of the game with a scoring drive of eight plays and 75 yards capped off by a seven-yard tocuhdown carry by Perry, closing the gap to 16-10.
After the two-minute warning of the half, Jameis Winston was sacked by Vincent Taylor, losing ten yards. Taylor contnued to be a threat, causing the Bucs to be scoreless on the drive.
“We had a good opening drive – guys getting used to the feel of playing a real game. We did well – got a touchdown on our first drive, moved the ball on our second one,” said Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans during halftime about the Bucs’ opening performance. “It’s good to play against someone else and get the feel back of playing a real game.”
Head Coach Dirk Koetter was equally optimistic about his team’s first half performance, considering the switchout with Winston and Fitzpatrick. “We started well. Got off to a good start, then you get subs in and it can get a little choppy after that. But both Fitz and Jameis moved the team well.”
On the defensive performance, Koetter told the media, “Our first [defense] was a little ‘bend-but-don’t-break,’ but they got the job done.”
At halftime, the Buccaneers subbed in quarterback Ryan Griffin for Jameis Winston. However, the Bucs fumbled the ball which was recovered by Dolphins’ Jordan Lucas.
The Dolphins capped off the scoring drive that followed with another field goal, shrinking the Bucs’ lead to three, 16-13.
On Tampa Bay’s second down on the next drive, Griffin was tackled by Dolphins tight end Gabe Wright, leading to the incomplete pass.
When the Bucs got the ball back, Griffin’s pass to Jason Reese was broken up by Dolphins safety Maurice Smith, causing Reese to fumble the ball, and Miami recovered the ball. Again.
However, the Bucs made up for it. With less than six minutes left in the third quarter, Griffin made the touchdown pass to Alan Cross, and Kenzaro’s extra point was good, bringing the score to 23-13.
In the next scoring series, the Dolphins made an epic 45-yard pass to wide receiver Francis Owusu despite the Bucs double-team on him. The Dolphins’s five-play series culminated in a 40-yard field goal to close the gap once again, making the score 23-16.
At 9:38 left in the game, the Buccaneers defense came through in a nail-biter play. With the Dolphins at 4th and goal at the 3 yard line, Buccaneers safety Jordan Whitehead broke up Osweiler’s touchdown pass to Cameron Lynch.
Within the fial two minutes of the game, the Miami Dolphins nearly clinched the win from the Buccaneers with a touchdown, putting them in the lead by one point, 24-23. However, the Buccaneers scored and secured the win within the last 40 seconds, bringing the final score to 26-24.
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org.