BUCS : AFTER THE DUST SETTLES : DOLPHINS
By Leo Haggerty
Again, Bucs fans, I will repeat for a second straight week and I’m also echoing Tampa Bay HC Dirk Koetter. A win is a win is a win and that’s all that matters.
In the National Football League, there are no style points. There’s a winner and there’s a loser determined by the scoreboard and nothing else. You are what your record says you are.
The Pewter Pirates improves to 4-6 with a 30-20 win over the Dolphins in Miami who dropped to an identical 4-6 log. The score is a bit deceiving because Buccaneers K Patrick Murray broke a 20 all tie with 4 seconds to go.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Fins tried the “rugby return” but left the pigskin in the end zone. It was recovered by the Bucs Adarius Glanton for a bonus touchdown.
The game should not have even been that close. The Fish were guilty of 5 turnovers, three interceptions and two fumbles, while the Buccaneers played turnover-free football.
Normally, when you win the turnover stat that convincingly, it equates to a fairly easy victory. Not so with Tampa Bay in this contest.
After intercepting Miami QB Jay Cutler deep in Bucs territory, K Patrick Murray gave the Bucs a 3-0 lead with a 30-yard boot. The lead would be short-lived.
On their ensuing possession, Miami found the end zone to take a 7-3 lead. Cutler hit Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry with a 2-yard strike but, from that point on, it was all Pewter Pirates for the rest of the half.
Tampa Bay scored the next 17 points, converting two interceptions and a fumble, building a 20-7 halftime advantage. Another Murray FG preceded two TD strikes from Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. The first went to TE O.J. Howard and the second went to WR DeSean Jackson.
The problem interview second half was that the Tampa Bay offense went it the deep-freeze while the Dolphins climbed back into the tilt. Miami scores field goals on the first two third quarter drives and then found the end zone with three minutes to go to tie the game. That set the stage for Murray’s game-winner.
A major sore spot for the Buccaneers was their inability to run the football. The Bucs rushed the pigskin only 24 times for a woeful 53 yards and that just over 2 yards an attempt. That won’t get it done on any level of football.
How did Tampa Bay win? I submit to you it was more Miami losing. Five turnovers along with 17 penalties for 123 yards spelled doom for the Dolphins.
So how will the Bucs do in Atlanta this weekend? Check my GOAL LINE STAND column later in the week for that analysis and prediction.