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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Rapid Reaction: Buccaneers 45, Dolphins 17

The Bucs got the win over the Miami Dolphins at home in convincing fashion. 


The Buccaneers won the toss after Miami called heads to begin the game. The tails meant Tampa Bay elected to receive, putting the ball in the hands of Jacoby Brissett and the Dolphins offense to start. Led by wide receiver Preston Williams, Miami would get as far as the five-yard line before the Buccaneers' defense ultimately stood up and forced the Dolphins to settle for a 23-yard field goal with just over 11 minutes left in the first.

The 3-0 lead would be short-lived as Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay offense trotted out. The Bucs went marching right down the field behind four consecutive first downs, ending up at the Miami 10-yard line in a third down and six situation. Brady fired to running back Gio Bernard on a play action pass and Bernard somersaulted over his defender right across the goal line for the score, putting to rest many of the red zone question marks the Bucs' offense has been facing lately. It gave the Bucs a 7-3 lead with 7:04 left in the first quarter.

Miami answered right back, thanks in part to a Buccaneer penalty for defensive pass interference that got them just outside the red zone. A play later and Brissett found running back Myles Gaskin open after beating outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul in coverage for the 24-yard touchdown pass. The Dolphins re-took the lead, 10-7, with 3:16 left in the first.

The Bucs would span the field on a 10-play, 51-yard drive during which wide receiver Antonio Brown became the fastest player to 900 career receptions in NFL history, but they'd end up having to settle for a field goal behind a third-down sack of Brady. It tied the game at 10-all with 14:06 remaining in the second quarter.

The next drive for Miami would start with Brissett, despite the Dolphins' quarterback suffering a hamstring injury and being officially listed as 'questionable' for the remainder of the game. The Dolphins would go three-and-out, giving the ball right back to the Buccaneer offense.

The ensuing series was also a quick one for the Buccaneers but it was because it only took Brady and company three plays to score, thanks to a 62-yard catch and run house call by Brown. It was his 81st career touchdown reception and put the Bucs up 17-10 with just over 11 minutes left in the half.

Miami's next drive would stall right around midfield with the Bucs' defense again forcing the punt. Tampa Bay's offense took back over and took their time getting down the field. The 13-play, 77-yard drive was capped off with a four-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Brown again, making the score 24-10 with 1:48 left in the half.

The Dolphins would get all the way to the Buccaneer 30 before outside linebacker Shaq Barrett stripped Brissett of the ball. It was recovered by Ndamukong Suh, giving the Bucs one more shot before the half.

The drive would end as Tampa Bay ran out of time on a 60-yard field goal attempt by punter Bradley Pinion. It was no good and the Bucs went into the half up 24-10.

The Bucs' opening drive of the second half wouldn't yield them any points either as they punted the ball away and back to Miami. This time, the Dolphins would move the needle, with some help from the Buccaneers' defense and a pass interference penalty that got Miami a first and goal at the one-yard line. Two plays later and Brissett found Gaskin wide open in the end zone, cutting the Bucs' lead to 24-17 with 6:56 left in the third quarter.

The good news was that the Bucs' answered on their next drive. Largely thanks to the will power of wide receiver Chris Godwin and his yards after the catch ability, Tampa Bay moved down the field on another 13-play drive, this one spanning 75 yards, ending in a five-yard touchdown run by Fournette. It gave the Bucs a 31-17 lead with 14:57 remaining in the game.

The defense then held up their end of the bargain, forcing the Dolphins three-and-out on their next drive. The ball was back in the Bucs' hands after less than a minute.

It would again be another productive drive, though this one was quicker. The Bucs spanned the field in just four plays, covering 61 yards and culminating in a 34-yard touchdown pass to Evans. It gave the Bucs a 38-17 lead with 11:49 to play.

The next drive would be a quick one for the Dolphins again after Brissett was picked off by cornerback Jamel Dean on a pass intended for Waddle. The Bucs took back over at the Miami 41 with just under 10 minutes to go.

Tampa Bay made quick work of another score despite committing back-to-back false start penalties. In second and 11, Brady hit Evans yet again for his fifth touchdown pass of the afternoon that put the Bucs up 45-17 with less than nine minutes to play.

The Bucs again would stop the Dolphins from adding to their point total and force the punt, giving the ball right back to the offense. This time, it would be Blaine Gabbert under center, with Brady finishing his afternoon throwing for 411 yards, five touchdowns, no interceptions and a 144.4 passer rating.

Gabbert led a drive down the field again, hitting Antonio Brown for 23-yard gain that got the Bucs well into Miami territory. On first and goal at the five, Gabbert took the first of a few knees to preserve the score and the Bucs 45-17 win to improve to 4-1 on the season.

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