It was all smiles inside Raymond James Stadium as we saw the return of NFL football to Tampa Bay in the first home game of the year. TJ Rives, Gene Deckerhoff, honorary coin toss captain Ernest Mills and plenty of Bucs fans celebrated the arrival of the 2014 season.
Once again, the Bucs defense got off to a big start with some big stops. Gerald McCoy took no time putting pressure on the Dolphins. From Rick Brown:
The Bucs took the ball back at the eight-yard line, with rookie receiver Mike Evans making his first catch as an NFL receiver. Greg Auman calls the play:
Bucs now out to 42 after 11-yard catch to Evans -- his first of preseason -- and 15-yard penalty ... — Greg Auman (@gregauman) August 16, 2014
The Bucs would be forced to punt. Miami put together a drive, but the defense put up some nice stops to force a field goal. 3-0 Dolphins.
Dolphins take 3-0 lead following a 48-yard field goal. — PewterReport.com (@PewterReport) August 17, 2014
The Buccaneers first team would finally get the ball rolling with a Doug Martin gain and some big plays led by Jorvorskie Lane. @PewterReport makes the call as Buccaneers' Senior Writer Scott Smith provides a little help pronouncing Lane's name, should you end up using it on more big plays throughout the season.
Great lead block by Jorvorskie Lane, opening a hole for a Martin 8 yard gain. — PewterReport.com (@PewterReport) August 17, 2014
Jor. Vor. Skie. Lane. Imagine the sound of a huge collision between each syllable. 14 yards and a first down on his first Bucs catch. — Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) August 17, 2014
Tampa Bay would be forced to punt however. The Dolphins held the ball for the first play of the second quarter. The gentlemen of SBNation and Bucs Nation check in to give their reactions to the impressive quarter start.
FUMBLE! Gerald McCoy with the sack and Michael Johnson grabs the fumble! — Sander Philipse (@Bucs_Nation) August 17, 2014
Yes sirrrrrr — Stephen White (@sgw94) August 17, 2014
That works! — Leo (@LeoHowell8) August 17, 2014
Four plays later, the Bucs found the end zone. NFL on ESPN reports and Captain Fear shows his excitement for the first cannonfire of 2014.
TOUCHDOWN BUCS! McCown fires a dart to Vincent Jackson for the 7-yard TD. Tampa Bay leads Miami 7-3. — NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) August 17, 2014
With the Bucs first team up on the Dolphins in the second quarter, the second strings for both teams began to make their appearances.
Matt Moore in at quarterback for Tannehill for the Fins. — PewterReport.com (@PewterReport) August 17, 2014
Bucs have gone to backups on defense line. — Kevin ODonnell Fox13 (@ODonnellFox13) August 17, 2014
The defense forced a quick three-and-out before QB Mike Glennon made his way onto the field for the first time of the night, completing a nice pass to another Bucs rookie. Scott Smith adds the nice play from Josh McCown.
Mike Glennon into the game now. Josh McCown went 5-7, 46 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, passer rating of 128.6. Amazing what good protection can do. — Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) August 17, 2014
* The drive would end with a big connection between Glennon and Mike Evans, making Twitter light up with excitement about the Buccaneer offense. The touchdown would go under review.*
Evans made leaping grab across middle, broke away from defense and down far sideline for 42-yard score. First-team line much improved. — Greg Auman (@gregauman) August 17, 2014
Oh my. There's the future, right there. On third-and-15, Mike Evans bounces off a hit by Jimmy Wilson and runs 30 more yards for a TD. — Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) August 17, 2014
Well, MAYBE a touchdown. The play is being reviewed to see if Evans fumbled before getting in. — Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) August 17, 2014
The ruling of touchdown was overturned, with Evans fumbling at the one-yard line, giving the Dolphins the ball back. Tom Krasniqi and 620 WDAE remain positive on the play, however.
Exchange punts. Miami ball with under two to go. Ball at 29. Four passes of 8, 10, 18 and 18 get them to the 17-yard line. Teams would exchange punts before the Dolphins took over with under two minutes to go, starting from their own 29-yard line. Four passes of 8, 10, 18 and 18 moved them into the red zone.
Dolphins have quickly gone 54 yards in 1:09. Bucs time out as safety Major Wright injured on play ... — Greg Auman (@gregauman) August 17, 2014
On third down inside the 10-yard line, the Dolphins would find the end zone for the first time. Greg Auman calls the score that takes the game into halftime.
Nice throw by Matt Moore -- Matthews did get feet in and touchdown stands. Dolphins lead 10-7 on Bucs, 0:08 left in half ... — Greg Auman (@gregauman) August 17, 2014
The Bucs offense would go three-and-out to start the half. Miami drove down the field and into the end zone for the second time of the night.
Dolphins consistently completing passes against Bucs' backups. FIrst and goal at Tampa Bay 3-yard line, Miami poised to add to 10-7 lead. — Greg Auman (@gregauman) August 17, 2014
Throughout the first half of the game, and on into the third quarter, the Buccaneers dealt with a string of injuries. Roy Cummings of TBO.com and Pewter Report inform:
Mike James injured on the field after a physical stretch run to the left side. — PewterReport.com (@PewterReport) August 17, 2014
The ensuing Buccaneer drive would end in a fumble, giving the Dolphins great field position inside Bucs territory.
Dion Jordan forces fumble on Glennon and Dolphins recover. Kadeem Edwards flagged for holding on the play as well. — PewterReport.com (@PewterReport) August 17, 2014
* The defense stood tall, forcing a three-and-out. Miami added just three to their lead. 20-7.*
Bucs defense has been solid against the run allowing just 15 yards. — Kevin ODonnell Fox13 (@ODonnellFox13) August 17, 2014
Taking a look into the fourth quarter, the Buccaneers defense held strong and there were some notable plays coming on both sides of the ball from backups fighting for position on the final 53-man roster. Take a look at some highlights.
Dane Fletcher nearly picks off off Brady Quinn over the middle. Dolphins flagged for pass interference. — PewterReport.com (@PewterReport) August 17, 2014
As the clock ticked down, the Buccaneers would find themselves in scoring position. On fourth down, Tampa Bay elected to go for it and with pressure in his face, Mike Kafka got away the throw to add seven to the Bucs total with just :21 left.
Dolphins would recover the onside kick attempt and the final whistle blew: 20-14 Dolphins over Buccaneers to close the second of four preseason games.