Buccaneers-Dolphins: What we learned

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

TAMPA, Fla. -- Even on the night when the Buccaneers finally earned their first win of the season, Tampa Bay couldn't avoid bad news.
The Bucs beat the Miami Dolphins 22-19 Monday night despite losing rookie running back Mike James to a reported broken left ankle.
"It feels good to finally get that first one," Tampa Bay quarterback Mike Glennon said. "Now we know going forward we have a lot of confidence."
Tampa Bay (1-8) led 15-0 late in the second quarter, but the Dolphins (4-5) staged a furious rally, scoring on their final drive of the first half and outscoring the Bucs 12-0 in the third quarter to take a 19-15 lead.
The Bucs replied in impressive fashion, and they did it behind a fourth-string running back. Doug Martin went on injured reserve last week due to a shoulder injury, and James' injury left Brian Leonard as the primary ball carrier. Leonard gained 57 yards on 20 carries.
Still on the decisive drive, running back Bobby Rainey had a 31-yard carry to Miami's 1-yard line. He then ran for his first career touchdown to give the Bucs a 22-19 lead with 10:26 left to play.
"I felt confident this whole week," Rainey said. "My mindset was just to go in, do my job and protect the football. It's a blessing, and that's a thing that I've battled my whole career, was just being patient."
After the teams traded possessions, the Dolphins nearly forced the Buccaneers to punt from their own 15-yard line with 5:50 to play, but a personal foul on linebacker Philip Wheeler for hitting quarterback Mike Glennon in the helmet after a third-down incompletion gave Tampa Bay a new set of downs.
Tampa Bay eventually was forced to punt, backing the Dolphins up to their own 5-yard line with 3:08 to play, with Miami needing a field goal to tie the game. After a few first downs, Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill was sacked on back-to-back plays immediately following the two-minute warning, then threw an incompletion to set up fourth-and-27 with 1:44 left.
Tannehill's deep pass to receiver Mike Wallace was intercepted by cornerback Darrelle Revis, sealing the Bucs' win. One day earlier, Florida's other NFL team, the Jacksonville Jaguars, earned their first win of the year.
"We didn't play well enough in any phase, offense, defense or special teams, to win the game," Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said. "We had plenty of opportunities, but they played better in the fourth quarter."
Glennon completed 11 of 21 passes for 139 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Tampa Bay ran the ball 37 times for 140 yards.
Tannehill went 27-for-42 for 229 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Dolphins wide receiver Rishard Matthews caught 11 passes for 120 yards, but Miami's running game was non-existent. The Dolphins gained 2 yards on 14 carries.

What the Dolphins said
"I thought our concentration was good. We didn't have a giveaway until the last play of the game, offensively. I don't think we were sloppy, but our tempo wasn't very good at the beginning of the game. I don't think it was because of our preparation." -- Coach Joe Philbin.
"I don't think (the loss) had anything to do with (the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito situation). I know it sounds funny for me to say that, but I don't think we were distracted that much toward the end of the week. Maybe in the beginning of the week on Monday or Tuesday, but toward the end of the week we were fine, we just lost the football game." -- Wide receiver Mike Wallace

What the Buccaneers said
"It's weird. Technically, we had three running backs go down this week, between Doug (Martin), (Jeff) Demps and now Mike (James). To have just two remaining, they did a great job. We knew what kind of guy Brian Leonard was, what kind of character he had. Bobby Rainey, what has he been here, two or three weeks? He has learned the playbook. The best thing he did was ball security. Sometimes when you're new like that, the ball is all over the place. This is probably the way we've got to go, ham and egg it with those two guys." -- Coach Greg Schiano.
"It's been tough to keep all these guys positive, but one thing we've done is come to work every day. We've been through a lot, but to get this win really feels good because our practices have been intense and we haven't been getting the results. A lot of teams would have folded and given up by now." -- Tackle Donald Penn, who caught a touchdown pass as the Buccaneers beat the Dolphins for their first win of the season.

What we learned about the Dolphins
1. Rishard Matthews can be a breakout wide receiver. On the season entering Monday's game, he had 10 catches for 117 yards and no touchdowns. In the loss to the Bucs, he caught 11 balls for 120 yards and two scores. Miami didn't get much from its other receivers -- Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline combined for 72 yards on nine catches -- but Matthews put the Dolphins in position to win.
2. Without help from a running game, quarterback Ryan Tannehill won't be able to engineer victories, no matter how well he plays. The Dolphins only picked up 2 rushing yards, but they still had a chance to win the game late. When Miami fell behind 15-0 early, Tannehill didn't shy from the pressure. He went 27-for-42 for 229 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His only interception came on fourth-and-27 play in the final minute of the game.
3. Things aren't getting any better for the Dolphins, who endured a miserable week because of the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito scandal and now lost to the previously winless Buccaneers. Miami's players and coach Joe Philbin insisted the team was focused for Monday night's game, but another brutal week of close media attention lies ahead as the NFL investigation continues.

What we learned about the Buccaneers
1. Running backs keep going down for the Buccaneers, but they keep finding capable-enough replacements. Doug Martin (shoulder) and Jeff Demps (groin) went on injured reserve last week, and Mike James was lost on the first drive of Monday's game with a fractured ankle. Filling in, Brian Leonard and Bobby Rainey combined for 102 yards. Rainey scored the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter.
2. The third quarter remains a struggle for the Buccaneers, who have just 10 points in that period through nine games this season. The Bucs were outscored 12-0 in the third quarter Monday night, losing a lead, but they managed to rally in the fourth quarter. If Tampa Bay can't figure out how to produce in the third quarter, it may be difficult for the team to earn any additional wins.
3. Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon is good enough to win in the NFL. Glennon went 11-for-21 for just 139 yards and he threw his first interception in four games, but he threw a first-quarter touchdown pass and played well enough overall.

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