MIAMI GARDENS (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins completed their preseason schedule on Thursday night at Sun Life Stadium with a 22-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Dolphins can now focus on getting their roster down to 53 players and preparing for the season opener in 10 days after finishing the preseason with a 1-3 record.
The game didn’t start out well for the Dolphins. After going three and out on their opening drive, Miami forced Tampa Bay to punt a few plays later but LaMike James muffed the kick, giving the Bucs the ball at the Dolphins 9-yard line.
Two plays later Tampa Bay scored a touchdown on a pass by Mike Glennon, who made some very nice throws during his half of work.
Both starting quarterbacks, McLeod Bethel-Thompson and Glennon, threw first quarter interceptions.
Bethel-Thompson also fumbled a high snap from Sam Brenner inside Miami’s 5-yard line, giving the Buccaneers a safety and a 12-3 late first quarter lead.
One of the bright spots of the night for the Dolphins was that first round pick wide receiver DeVante Parker suited up and started the game.
He made one catch for 11 yards to give Miami a first down. The coaching staff likely wanted to put him out there to test his ability in a game setting.
It appears that he may in fact be ready for the regular season opener in Washington.
Cornerback Will Davis has been on the roster bubble and rumors have been swirling that Miami is looking to trade the former 3rd round pick. He certainly made a case to make the team against Tampa Bay, pulling in two first half interceptions.
Additionally, several linebackers who are trying to make the final roster played well on Thursday.
Undrafted rookies Zach Vigil and Jeff Luc made some big hits during the first half. Chris McCain, who is a lock to make the 53-man roster, also had a solid game during his limited reps.
Miami’s newly named punter Matt Darr had a spectacular game. He landed three punts inside Tampa’s 5-yard line and showed that he can put a nice touch on the ball.
Rookie kicker Andrew Franks handled all the kicking duties for the Dolphins and continued to make a strong case to make the team. He hit a 30-yard field goal and consistently forced touchbacks on Miami’s kickoffs.
Incumbent kicker Caleb Sturgis didn’t touch the field, meaning that Miami’s decision makers have likely seen all they need to from the 26-year-old.
Another rookie, running back Jay Ajayi, was given a lot of playing time on Thursday night and he certainly made the most of it. He ran the ball nine times for 66 yards and added a pair of receptions for another 37 yards.
Second-year defensive tackle Anthony Johnson played well, picking up a second half sack. He was also seen getting some time as a defensive end, which is something we haven’t seen before.
Miami had a couple of chances to take a late lead but quarterback Josh Freeman threw a pair of interceptions deep in Tampa Bay territory to close out the game.
Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin and general manager Dennis Hickey have some decisions to make as NFL teams must get their rosters down to 53 players by 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Once Miami’s roster is set, it’ll be time to start preparing for Week 1 of the regular season.
The Dolphins open their 2015 campaign on the road against the Washington Redskins on Sunday September 13th at 1 p.m.
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Watch Miami take on the Washington Redskins on Sunday September 13th at 1 p.m. on CBS4, your official Dolphins station!
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