Buccaneers-Dolphins Final Score: Ryan Fitzpatrick saves the day
The Bucs quarterback led a textbook game-winning drive.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Miami Dolphins in a nailbiter, 30-20. Ryan Fitzpatrick led the offense down the field for a game-winning field goal after a total shambles of a second half, in which they’d given away a 20-7 lead.
With Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jay Cutler at quarterback, this promised to be a turnover-prone day. In the end that was only true for the Dolphins, and even then the amount of turnovers was limited by Cutler playing just a single half. The Dolphins made that up in different ways, though: they got called for a whopping 17 penalties on the day.
On offense, Mike Evans returned from suspension and made his mark with five catches for 92 yards, while rookie O.J. Howard had a couple of big plays and added three catches for 52 yards and a touchdown.
On the other side of the ball, the Bucs defense looked dominant in the first half, forcing four turnovers–three interceptions from Jay Cutler, and one forced fumble. The offense turned those turnovers into 17 points, and added a field goal, giving the Bucs a 20-7 half-time lead.
And then, Jay Cutler left the game with a concussion, and the Dolphins stopped turning the ball over every other play. Matt Moore led the Dolphins down the field time and again by finding wide open receivers—that stout, turnover-forcing first-half defense was apparently filled with holes, even on third-and-long.
In fact, the Bucs as a whole looked completely incompetent in the second half. The offense couldn’t even run the clock, let alone move the football, and should have given up a safety (but the refs had mercy on Tampa). Meanwhile the defense allowed Matt Moore to pass for nearly 300 yards in a single half, and allowed a 61-yard Kenny Stills touchdown to tie the game.
Thankfully, Ryan Fitzpatrick wasn’t having it as he led the Bucs down the field in the final three minutes. The Bucs drained the clock, and Patrick Murray nailed the field goal and gave the Bucs the lead with just four seconds left—just enough for the Dolphins to give up a final touchdown as they tried to return the final kickoff.
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