The Tampa Bay Buccaneers started their 2018 preseason on defense after the Miami Dolphins won the coin toss and elected to receive. After a couple of first downs, the Dolphins drive stalled and the Bucs took over on offense after Jason Sanders missed a 53-yard field goal.
The Buccaneers started their first drive of the preseason in great field position after the missed field goal, and Ryan Fitzpatrick wasted no time, finding Desean Jackson and Mike Evans on a drive that was capped off by a four-yard Peyton Barber touchdown to put the Bucs ahead 6-0. Then, it seems the ghost of Roberto Aguayo popped up and got Chandler Catanzaro who missed the extra point, keeping the score at 6-0 heading into the second Dolphins drive.
The Dolphins moved the ball on their second drive behind back up David Fales, and the ball moved to the Bucs 14-yard-line on a pass interference call on much maligned corner Ryan Smith. Sanders was good on a 29-yard field goal to pull the score to 6-3 Buccaneers.
The Bucs second drive was off to another decent start, but after Ronald Jones dropped a pass on 3rd-and-13, the Bucs were forced to bring in Brian Anger for the punt. The first quarter came to an end moments after the Dolphins inserted Brock Osweiler into the game at quarterback.
The Bucs forced a punt and Jameis Winston came onto the field at quarterback. Moments later Winston, like Fitzpatrick before him had the Bucs offense on the move, and after a pass to Freddie Martino the Bucs were looking at a 1st-and-goal inside the 5-yard-line. A couple plays later Jones took the carry to the left side where the offensive line opened up a nice hole for the rookie back who took it in for the touchdown. This time Catanzaro hit the extra point, and the Bucs were up 13-3 with just over 11 minutes to play in the first half.
Winston and the Bucs offense looked a few minutes later after the Bucs forced the Dolphins to punt after a lack luster drive, and after Winston found rookie wide out Justin Watson, the team had the ball inside the red zone. The drive would stall inside the 10-yard line, and Catanzaro would come in to hit a 27-yard field goal and put the Bucs ahead 16-3 with just over seven minutes to play in the first half.
The Dolphins offense got moving on the next drive, and running back Senorise Perry carried the team on his back, and into the end zone to pull the Dolphins to within six with the score moving to 16-10 with just under three minutes to play in the first half.
Winston got the ball moving again when the Bucs started the following drive. After Jones lost a yard on a first down carry, the Bucs quarterback found Cameron Brate for a first down in Dolphins territory as the clock hit two minutes to play in half number one.
The Bucs didn’t have an ideal start to the second half, despite receiving the kick off to start the half. Ryan Griffin completed a pass to Watson, but the rookie receiver trying to battle his way onto the team on its deepest position fumbled the ball away. The Bucs defense held after Miami recovered the ball deep inside Bucs territory, and the lead was cut to 16-13 after another Sanders field goal.
Ryan Griffin did a nice job on the following drive, and quickly moved the ball into Dolphins territory. Griffin found tight end Alan Cross on a pair of plays inside Miami territory, including a 10-yard touchdown to finish the drive and put the Bucs ahead 23-13.
The Dolphins next drive came mostly on one play as Fales who was back in at quarterback hit Francis Owusu for 33 yards, setting up an eventual 48-yard field goal from Greg Joseph to cut the Buccaneers lead to 23-16 with just under three minutes to play in the third.
The Dolphins took a fourth quarter drive down the field, this time with Osweiler back in the game, and looked on the verge of tying the game with a 1st-and-goal. Three plays later, the Dolphins went for it on 4th-and-goal from the 3-yard-line, and the Bucs forced the turnover on downs to hold onto the lead with under 10 minutes to play in the preseason opener.
Griffin took minutes off the clock on the next drive moving the ball into Dolphins territory, but Catanzaro missed a 53-yard field goal and the Dolphins got another shot.
Bryce Petty made his way in for the Dolphins, and quickly moved the ball inside the Bucs red zone before finding Isaiah Ford for a touchdown, and a two point conversion to put Miami ahead 24-23 with under two minutes to play.
Griffin and the Bucs weren't content to just let the time run out in a game where the team had to be happy with the work accomplished. Instead, Griffin led the team down the field, and set Catanzaro up with one more opportunity to put points on the board. This time the Bucs new kicker was good, and the Bucs would 26-24 after Ryan Smith capped off a tough game with an interception.