In a preseason game played almost entirely by young players on Saturday night, quarterback Kyle Trask did well, but the Dolphins held on to win by two points after Jose Borregales’ second-chance kick hit the upright.
The opening kick from 49 yards by Jose Borregales easily split the uprights. Sadly, the Miami Dolphins had called an ice-the-kicker timeout just prior to the snap, and Borregales’ follow-up kick hit the right upright, resulting in a 26-24 setback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their 2022 preseason debut on Saturday night.
Since preseason results don’t really matter in terms of wins and losses, the Buccaneers’ locker room was positive after the defeat and they were pleased with some standout performances from players like second-year quarterback Kyle Trask, wide receivers Tyler Johnson and Jerreth Sterns, and pass rushers, Anthony Nelson and Cam Gill. Before his final miss, Borregales had a solid night as well, scoring a game-winning 55-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, along with three successful extra points and a touchback on a kickoff.
Trask remarked, “We experienced some highs and some lows. “I was genuinely pleased of our boys for staying confined the entire time. We did a terrific job of staying locked in and fighting to the last finish despite the fact that it was kind of a back and forth roller coaster”.
Dolphins Win Preseason Battle of Reserves, 26-24, over Buccaneers:
Both sides rested nearly all of their starters, resulting in a 60-minute struggle for roster spots and important reserve positions. Blaine Gabbert, Tom Brady’s primary backup the previous two years, started after being excused from the team for the majority of the next two weeks. Gabbert performed well. He led two drives, the second of which featured a noteworthy 72-yard march that resulted in the game-winning score. For a total of 56 yards on his five completions, Gabbert also ran one 23-yard post route to second-year WR Jaelon Darden for the touchdown.
Trask, a potential long-term quarterback solution and the Buccaneers’ second-round pick in 2021, had a solid day, completing 25 of 33 throws for 258 yards, one touchdown, and one interception while posting a 95.3 passer rating. In the closing two minutes of the first half, his interception and lost fumble, which was recovered for a touchdown, changed the course of the game, although Bowles was hesitant to place blame on the inexperienced thrower. Bowles added, “I think he did a nice job. “He was put through a lot of the scenarios we practiced. The two-minute scenario was excellent. He drove well in the opening period. He committed two turnovers, one of which we need to better block on a fumble that came from the blind side. Although the other one had bad luck, I think he handled the game effectively. He was in the game, handled situations well, and didn’t lose his composure. I think he performed well overall.
Skylar Thompson, a seventh-round rookie quarterback, started the entire game for the Dolphins and completed 20 of his 28 throws for 218 yards and one touchdown. He had a crucial 21-yard scramble on the fourth-quarter drive that set up what ultimately turned out to be Jason Sanders’ game-winning 53-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter. He also completed a 22-yard touchdown pass to WR Lynn Bowden late in the second quarter. Thompson was under a lot of pressure from the Buccaneers’ defense, who recorded sacks from DL Patrick O’Connor, Nelson, and Gill.
With Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Russell Gage, and Julio Jones all sitting out the game, a number of young receivers came up. Undrafted rookies Kaylon Geiger and Jerreth Sterns each had four catches for 52 and 51 yards, while third-year player Tyler Johnson led the club with six catches for 73 yards. As the Bucs overcame a nine-point deficit in the third quarter, Sterns scored on a 19-yard throw from Trask.
Regarding the scoring strike to Sterns, Bowles remarked, “He had a tremendous throw on that.” He handled that ball with a lot of touches.
On Saturday night, the Buccaneers’ amazing depth at receiver was visible even with their front-line players sitting it out.
Tyler turned up in the first half, as did Sterns and Geiger, according to Bowles. “They’ve got some talent. At the receiver, we have a lot of difficult choices to make. The lights turned on after [Sterns], [Geiger], and [Tyler] turned them on. There are many excellent movies to watch.
The Buccaneers virtually rested all of their starters, as has become standard practice throughout the NFL. Even though second-year player Robert Hainsey, the presumed replacement for injured center Ryan Jensen, was also in the lineup, the only listed starter who participated in the game was left guard Aaron Steenie.
The Buccaneers’ opening drive failed in part due to a holding call on Stinnie:
The Buccaneers’ opening drive failed in part due to a holding call on Stinnie, which resulted in a punt by rookie Jake Camarda that Preston Williams grabbed at midfield and returned to the Buccaneers’ 32.
White reached the 28 with his second kickoff return. WR Tyler Johnson received an underneath ball on the first play of the drive, avoided numerous defenders to gain the edge, and gained 12 yards for a first down. Johnson made a spectacular leaping catch in the middle of the field two players later to move the ball to the Miami 37 and gain 21. Following a third-and-two rush by Giovani Bernard over the right guard, Gabbert had a clean pocket and completed a 23-yard touchdown ball to Darden on a post pattern through the slot.
By the end of the first quarter, the Buccaneers had already reached the third level of their depth chart, and rookie ILB J.J. Russell ended Miami’s subsequent drive with a third-down hit on rookie QB Skylar Thompson that resulted in an incomplete pass close to the middle.
As the second quarter got underway, Trask took over to lead the following drive, and the Bucs grabbed the first down at the 40 when White took a third-down check-down and edged past several defenders for 13 yards. Johnson caught a ball across the middle two plays later, avoided a tackle, and later ran around the left end for 22 yards. The ball entered the end zone on consecutive completions of 15 and 7 yards to Vaughn, and with a five-yard run up the middle, Vaughn gained a first down at the 13. Following a defensive penalty that resulted in first-and-goal at the six, Vaughn carried the ball three times in a row before sprinting in on third-and-goal with the help of rookie tight end Ko Kieft’s block.
The opening play of Miami’s subsequent drive came when Thompson connected with wide receiver Trent Sherfield in stride along the right seam for a gain of 33 to the Buccaneers’ 41. The Dolphins gained a first down at the Bucs’ 28, but Nelson drew a three-yard penalty on running back Salvon Ahmed by moving into the backfield. Two plays later, Nelson maneuvered past the Miami blocking line’s right edge and tackled Thompson for a 10-yard loss. The Dolphins settled for Sanders’ low-line drive conversion of a 52-yard field goal attempt.
The following Tampa Bay drive resulted in the game’s first turnover. After two White runs converted the situation to third-and-five, Trask fired a throw to the rookie running back while under pressure, but Dolphins’ Elijah Campbell was able to come up with an incredible interception that he caught between his legs. Thompson connected with a wide-open Lynn Bowden in the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown on the first play following the change of possession. With a little under two minutes remaining in the first half, the extra point made it a one-point game.
Two plays into the following drive, LB Darius Hodge came around Trask’s back side and smacked the ball out of his grasp, continuing Miami’s defensive streak that had given the visitors the lead at the half. LB Sam Eguavoen quickly returned the loose ball 33 yards for the game-winning score after picking it up.
After the break, the Dolphins promptly extended their lead. The ball was at the Miami 40-yard line after Jake Camarda’s kickoff ran out of bounds, and Thompson hit Bowden right away for a gain of 29. RB Myles Gaskin gained 21 yards to the Bucs’ six-yard line after breaking free around the left end two plays later. The Dolphins sent in Sanders to kick a 33-yard field goal while Tampa Bay’s defense held firm.
The Buccaneers entered the end zone:
On the following possession, the Buccaneers entered the end zone after Trask connected with undrafted rookie TE JJ Howland down the right seam for a gain of 29. Sterns was just warming up when Trask converted a third-and-six with a clear-out out the sweep. Sterns exited the slot and ran vertically to the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown on the following snap. Midway through the third quarter, Borregales converted the extra point, bringing the score to 23-21.
Following that, the Buccaneers’ defense forced a three-and-out when rookie ILB Olakunle Fatukasi intercepted Thompson’s third-down pass. Trask then directed a drive that ended with a field goal, with WR Kaylon Geiger receiving the key pass and gaining 19 yards by turning around and cutting to the edge. The drive came to a stop at Miami’s 36, but strong-legged University of Miami kicker Borregales connected on a 54-yard field goal with four minutes remaining in the third quarter to give the home team the lead.
Defense reserves for Tampa Bay continued to play well, resulting in another three-and-out. A scrambling Thompson was caught in the open field by Fatukasi, who once more added the final touches by stopping him from reaching the sticks. Trask launched the subsequent drive with a 26-yard pass to Geiger down the right numbers following a punt. Camarda popped a fair catch that Bowden could only fair receive at the five-yard line as the drive halted just across middle.
On the following drive, Thompson’s 21-yard scramble put the Dolphins in position to score, but rookie CB Don Gardner nearly intercepted a ball on the left sideline, and on third down, DL Patrick O’Connor dropped the quarterback for a nine-yard sack. Even yet, Miami was close enough for Sanders to kick a 53-yard field goal with seven minutes left to give the Dolphins a two-point lead once again.
As a result of Trask being sacked on third-and-three for a loss of 12, Tampa Bay’s subsequent drive was unsuccessful. With less than four minutes left, the Dolphins began their subsequent possession at their own 47, but they did nothing and punted it back. The following Buccaneers’ drive ended with a fourth-and-12, but Trask kept it going with a 20-yard pass to Sterns at the one-minute mark. Thompkins converted a third down by slipping to make a catch at the Dolphins’ 31, but the Buccaneers spiked the ball with 26 seconds left and one timeout left. The Bucs made one run to burn off the remaining time before sending in Borregales.
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