In 2009, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers started the season 0-7. On the day they inducted Hall of Fame defensive lineman Lee Roy Selmon into their Ring of Honor, the Bucs won their first game of the year. Last night they inducted Hall of Fame defensive lineman Warren Sapp into the Ring of Honor and promptly went on to win their first game of the season, 22-19 over the Miami Dolphins.
The Bucs have held second half leads in four of their eight losses, and fans at Raymond James Stadium saw that happening again last night when Miami wide receiver Rishard Matthews took a Ryan Tannehill swing pass into the endzone to make the score 16-15 Miami. Former Gator Caleb Sturgis then hit a 30 yard field goal to push the lead to 19-15. But Tampa Bay did not blink, and on the following drive they marched 80 yards capped by a one yard TD run from Bobby Rainey. That would be all they needed, and on the final drive the Bucs sacked Tannehill twice and Darrelle Revis finished it off with an interception on 4th and 28. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy says it was great to close a game out strong.
“We had a lot of opportunities early in the season to end games and we didn’t,” McCoy said. “So we said we’re going to end this one.”
The Dolphins got a pleasant surprise out of Matthews, was finished with 11 catches for 120 yards and two TDs. However that was virtually the only positive on offense, as Tampa Bay held Miami to a franchise low two rushing yards, making it the fourth-worst rushing performance in an NFL game since 1990. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin says the ground game struggles really affected the other areas of their game.
“We didn’t have any way to keep them off-balance,” Philbin said. “Our play-action game wasn’t as good, because we just weren’t able to establish the run.”
The Fins are now 4-5 on the year and will host the San Diego Chargers next week, while the Bucs (1-8) take on the division-rival Falcons.