Bucs Central

Game Preview: Dolphins @ Bucs


Date: Thursday, August 27, 2009
Kickoff: 8:00 p.m. ET
Site: Raymond James Stadium (65,890)
2009 Preseason Records: Tampa Bay 1-1, Miami 2-0
2008 Records: Tampa Bay 9-7, Miami 11-5
National Television: FOX
Play-By-Play: Joe Buck, Color: Troy Aikman, Sideline: Pam Oliver
Bucs Radio: US 103.5, flagship station (103.5 FM, 620 AM)
Play-by-Play: Gene Deckerhoff, Color: Dave Moore, Sideline: T.J. Rives
Up Next: Tampa Bay vs. Houston (9/4), Miami at New Orleans (9/3)

With the starters on both sides of the football getting to play three quarters vs. the Dolphins, it should be the first extended look that fans & media pundits get to truly evaluate the majority of the first team offense and defense. The under lining theme is still the quarterback battle and who will come out victorious. It’s put up or pack up time for either Byron Leftwich or Luke McCown with trade rumors swirling about the internet.

Injury Update: Several injured players are being ruled out of Thursday night’s game vs. the Miami Dolphins, including running back Kareem Huggins (knee), kicker Matt Bryant (hamstring), wide receiver Antonio Bryant (knee), wide receiver Dexter Jackson (ankle), wide receiver Michael Clayton (hamstring), safety Donte Nicholson (quad), tight end John Gilmore (calf) and safety Will Allen (shoulder), cornerback Elbert Mack (ankle) will be a game time decision.

Tampa Bay hosts the Dolphins, marking the 16th time in the last 17 seasons that the two teams square off in the preseason. The Bucs and Dolphins are meeting for the 24th time in the preseason, the most meetings for either team in the preseason. Miami leads the series 14-9, but Tampa Bay has won five of the last seven meetings. The first preseason contest between the two teams was on August 21, 1976, a 28-21 Miami win in Tampa. The Bucs have claimed wins in 1984, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2008. During the regular season, the series is tied at four wins each with Tampa Bay winning the last three meetings. The Buccaneers won 27-13 in 2005 in Tampa, 16-13 in 2000 at Miami and 31-21 in 1997 in Tampa. The Buccaneers also won, 23-17, in 1982 in Tampa. The first meeting between the two clubs was in the Bucs’ first season in 1976, a 23-20 Miami win in Tampa. The Dolphins also captured wins in 1985 (41-38 in Miami), 1988 (17-14 in Tampa) and in 1991 (33-14 in Miami).

Miami leads series 14-9
Year Score Site
1976 L, 28-21 Tampa
1977 L, 13-7 Tampa
1978 L, 24-20 Tampa
1979 L, 13-7 Tampa
1984 W, 14-13 Tampa
1986 L, 21-3 Miami
1991 L, 29-13 Tampa
1992 L, 22-7 Miami
1994 W, 29-14 Miami
1995 W, 24-17 Orlando
1996 L, 13-10 Miami
1996 L, 19-7 Tampa
1997 W, 24-10 Tampa
1998 L, 14-13 Tampa
2000 L, 15-13 Miami
2001 L, 17-14 Tampa
2002 W, 14-10 Tampa
2003 W, 20-19 Miami
2004 W, 17-10 Tampa
2005 L, 17-14 Miami
2006 L, 13-10 Tampa
2007 W, 31-28 Miami
2008 W, 17-6 Miami

Tampa Bay 17, Miami 6 (8/9/08)
MIAMI – Facing the Miami Dolphins for the ninth consecutive time in the preseason, Tampa Bay opened its exhibition slate with a 17-6 victory in Miami. For the first time in team history, including regular season and postseason contests, the Buccaneers finished a game without committing a turnover or a penalty. Tampa Bay’s defense stifled the Dolphins, limiting Miami to 198 yards on just 47 offensive plays as the Buccaneers held nearly a 13- minute advantage in time of possession. Offensively, Tampa Bay quarterbacks completed passes to 14 different receivers while collectively finishing with a 90.0 rating. RB Michael Bennett led all players with 74 yards on 19 carries and one touchdown. Trailing 3-0 late in the first half, Buccaneers QB Brian Griese hit WR Brian Clark on a three-yard scoring pass with no time remaining to cap a 19-play, 78-yard drive for a 7-3 lead. Dolphins K Dan Carpenter trimmed the lead to 7-6 late in the third quarter on a 49-yard field goal. Set up by his own 31-yard run, Bennett increased the Buccaneers lead to 14-6 on the ensuing possession on a one-yard touchdown run, closing out a 13-play drive. K Matt Bryant tacked on a 32-yard field goal for the Buccaneers with 2:57 remaining in the contest to put the
game out of reach.

Tampa Bay 27, Miami 13 (10/16/05)
TAMPA – The Buccaneers offense churned out 180 rushing yards while the defense limited the Dolphins to 64 rushing yards and registered four sacks and one defensive touchdown. Bucs RB Michael Pittman rushed for a season-high 127 yards on 15 carries, including a 57- yard TD run, and WR Joey Galloway tied his career-high with nine receptions for 96 yards and one TD. Defensively for Tampa Bay, defensive ends Simeon Rice and Greg Spires each posted one sack and one forced fumble while S Will Allen returned the Spires forced fumble for a TD. Tampa Bay started the game fast, taking a 7-0 lead on a 10-play, 78-yard opening drive that culminated with a QB Brian Griese seven-yard TD pass to Galloway. Following a Miami FG on its opening drive, the Buccaneers pushed their lead back to seven on K Matt Bryant’s 36-yard FG late in the first quarter. Near the end of the first half, Griese was forced from the game with a knee injury, giving way to QB Chris Simms, who finished the game by completing six-of-10 pass attempts for 69 yards. Holding a 13-6 advantage in the third quarter, Pittman sprinted free for his long TD run to put the Buccaneers up by 14. On the ensuing drive, Spires forced a QB Gus Frerotte fumble that Allen returned 33 yards for a 27- 6 Bucs edge. Following a Tampa Bay fumble in its own territory, Miami cut the lead to 27-13 with 9:56 remaining in the contest on RB Ronnie Brown’s eight-yard TD run but would not get any closer as Tampa Bay’s defense forced another turnover on a fumble recovery by DT Anthony McFarland.

Over the last 10 years, the Buccaneers have tied for the third-best overall record in the NFC, with an 87-73 regular season mark from 1999-2008, equaling that of the N.Y. Giants. Only the Philadelphia Eagles (97-62) and Green Bay Packers (92-68) rank ahead of the Buccaneers. In addition, only the Eagles, with seven, made more playoff appearances in that span than the Buccaneers’ six (the Giants and the Seattle Seahawks also had six). At home at Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay very nearly had the NFC’s best mark over the past decade. Minnesota tops the list at 53-27, while the Buccaneers, Packers and Seahawks are all tied for second, one game back at 52-28.

Team Record Winning Percentage
1. Philadelphia 97-62-1 .609
2. Green Bay 92-68 .575
3. Tampa Bay 87-73 .544
3. N.Y. Giants 87-73 .544
5. Seattle 86-74 .538

Team Record Winning Percentage
1. Minnesota 53-27 .663
2. Tampa Bay 52-28 .650
2. Green Bay 52-28 .650
2. Seattle 52-28 .650
5. Philadelphia 50-30 .625

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