TAMPA (CBS4/AP) – Rudy Carpenter threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Nathan Overbay with 3:11 remaining, giving the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a 17-13 preseason victory over the Miami Dolphins on Saturday night. It’s the ‘Fins first pre-season loss, putting their record at 2-1.
Josh Freeman directed a TD drive just before the half to finish on a positive note. Connor Barth kicked a 28-yard field goal for the Bucs, who overcame 15 penalties in a performance not nearly as crisp as they’d hoped for coming off last week’s sloppy, lopsided loss to New England.
Brandon Marshall scored on a 60-yard reception from Chad Henne and Dan Carpenter kicked field goals of 21 and 47 yards for the Dolphins (2-1), who were penalized 11 times themselves.
The Bucs learned before the game that cornerback Aqib Talib won’t be suspended for any of the 2011 season for his arrest in connection with an offseason shooting in Texas.
The fourth-year pro is facing a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Police in the Dallas suburb of Garland say they believe the 25-year-old player and his mother shot at a man in March. Talib’s trial is set for March 2012, and the NFL could revisit the matter pending the outcome of the case.
“We discussed Aqib’s situation and they informed us he will not be suspended for the 2011 football season,” Dominik said. “Certainly we and the National Football League will continue to track the case, and we will proceed accordingly however that pans out.”
Talib sat out Saturday night with a hamstring injury that also sidelined him the first two weeks of the preseason. He led the Bucs with six interceptions in 2010, despite being suspended without pay for the season opener for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, and four other games after suffering a season-ending hip injury.
Freeman and the rest of Tampa Bay’s starters were hoping to atone for a poor performance against New England. The first-team offense gained 34 yards in a little less than a half, and Tom Brady made it look easy by scoring on four of the Patriots’ first five possessions to build a 28-0 lead.
With the exception of a couple of early third-down completions and a short throw to LeGarrette Blount that the second-year running back turned into a 52-yard gain to set up a field goal, Freeman had little to show. Then he guided a six-play, 54-yard touchdown drive that made it 10-10 just before halftime.
The third-year quarterback set up Earnest Graham’s 2-yard TD run with a 15-yard completion to his fullback and a 17-yard scramble to the Miami 2.
Freeman finished 12 of 23 for 149 yards and has not turned over the ball this preseason. He did have two potential interceptions dropped and had one pick nullified by a penalty.
Henne played into the third quarter and was sacked three times. He went 10 of 13 for 175 yards and one touchdown, connecting with Marshall on a sideline throw that was defended well by Bucs cornerback E.J. Biggers, starting in place of Talib.
Marshall made the catch inside the Tampa Bay 35, managed to stay in bounds before cutting back toward the middle past safety Cody Grimm. He and stiff-armed linebacker Quincy Black to remain on his feet and get into the end zone for a 7-0 lead.
Marshall’s second-quarter fumble, forced by Biggers at the end of a 30-yard catch and run, led to Tampa Bay’s touchdown just before the half.