Week 6 Game Recap: Miami Dolphins 13, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27
What you need to know
The Miami Dolphins welcomed back suspended RB Ricky Williams, who started the game in the backfield alongside rookie RB Ronnie Brown, but his return was not enough to lead the Dolphins past the Buccaneers. The Dolphins, as a team, finished the game with only 18 rushes and failed to find holes in the Tampa Bay defense and never got it going on the ground. Williams finished the day with a mere eight yards on five carries, but was a factor in the passing game, catching all six balls thrown his way for 22 yards. His longest run of the day, a 13 yard play, was called back on a Dolphins’ penalty. Miami’s other talented runner, rookie Ronnie Brown, also struggled in the running game with 22 yards on nine carries, but did find the end zone in the fourth quarter, with an eight yard score following a Buccaneers’ fumble. Brown did have a 38 yard reception, and he finished with 44 yards on two grabs.
Dolphins QB Gus Frerotte had an unspectacular game, finishing with 267 yards on 21 of 43 passing, and was not able to get going through the air. While Frerotte was unable to capitalize on some potential opportunities, missing receivers on a few plays that could have been big plays, he did spread the ball out to eight different receivers. A 34 yard touchdown pass to WR Chris Chambers was nullified on their first drive of the game on a Dolphins’ holding penalty. The drive was capped off with a field goal by K Olindo Mare. Frerotte was sacked four times and lost two fumbles, and faced constant pressure from the Tampa Bay defense.
Miami’s receivers found some room in the Tampa Bay secondary and were able to make a few nice plays, but could not turn any of those big plays into scoring opportunities. TE Randy McMichael got the most looks from his QB, but he finished with only 20 yards on three catches. WR Chris Chambers, who had the aforementioned 34 yard TD wiped out, had three catches for 50 yards, 31 of which came on one play.
Zach Thomas led the way defensively for the Dolphins, finishing with nine tackles, four assists and one sack.
While the Dolphins welcomed back one of their talented runners, the Buccaneers were without their standout running back, rookie Carnell Williams, for the second straight game. However, Tampa Bay was able to come away with the win in typical Buccaneer fashion. RB Michael Pittman filled in admirably for Williams, rushing 15 times for 127 yards, including a 57 yard touchdown run. Pittman, who was also a little banged up himself with a shoulder issue, gave the Buccaneers the spark they needed on their opening drive, with a 33 yard run that led to a Tampa passing score.
QB Brian Griese, who has struggled a bit, was on the way to one of his most efficient efforts of the season. Griese was 12 of 16 for 120 yards and a seven yard touchdown to WR Joey Galloway, before having his knee rolled on late in the second quarter. He would leave the game with what the Buccaneers are initially calling a sprained left knee, and was relieved by backup QB Chris Simms. Simms helped lead the Bucs on their first drive of the second half, completing six of eight passes on the drive the was capped off by a Matt Bryant 32 yard field goal. Said coach Jon Gruden of the injury: "It could be a few weeks, it could be the end of the season. We don't know for sure. We should know something here in the next day or so, and then I'm sure he'll get some other opinions, so it could be a couple of days. But we're obviously very concerned, and we should be."
Buccaneer WR Joey Galloway continued his hot play with nine grabs for 96 yards and scored for the tenth time in 11 games, a seven yard strike on the opening drive of the game. Once again Galloway was the go to receiver, getting 14 targets, and all of his catches but one came in the first half. WR Michael Clayton’s involvement in the offense continued to be a mystery, as the second year wideout only got three looks, hauling in two passes for 27 yards.
The Tampa Bay defense had another solid game, and once again showed why they are one of the elite defensive units in the NFL. LB Shelton Quarles led the club with eight tackles and one assist and was helped by LB Derrick Brooks, who finished with seven tackles, two assists and one sack. Tampa’s defense clamped down on the Miami running game, virtually taking the Dolphins’ rushing attack completely out of the game.
What you ought to know
|QB Gus Frerotte, Pass: 21 - 43 - 267 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 9 - 0|
Frerotte had a tough day at the office. He finished with 267 yards through the air on 21 of 43 passing, but was sacked four times, lost two fumbles, and his only passing touchdown was called back via penalty. One of his fumbles was recovered by Tampa Bay, which they returned for a touchdown. Frerotte was pressured constantly throughout the game and missed a few big play opportunities. On the positive side, he did spread the ball around to eight different receivers, but he got no help at all from either his offensive line or the Miami rushing attack.
|RB Ronnie Brown, Rush: 9 - 22 - 1, Rec: 2 - 44 - 0 (3 targets)|
Brown and Ricky Williams shared the backfield, but neither were able to get going. Brown received the bulk of the rushes, running nine times for 22 yards and a touchdown. He did finish with 44 yards receiving, 38 of which came on one reception.
The return of Ricky Williams was unspectacular at best. Williams finished with only eight rushing yards on five carries, but his main contribution came in the passing game, where he had six catches for 22 yards. He did have a 13 yard run called back. It remains to be seen how the Dolphins plan to use their two talented runners, but 14 rushes between the two of them cannot be the answer.
Morris had two catches on the last drive of the game and was a non factor.
Chambers had 50 yards receiving on three catches, but did have a 34 yard touchdown called back. He also led the Dolphins in rushing, with 25 yards on three carries. He did fumble, but was able to recover the lost ball.
Welker was the Dolphins’ leading receiver, hauling in three catches for 97 yards, all of which came in the fourth quarter. He definitely showed some big play ability with gains of 21, 48 and 41 yards. One play was called back on a holding penalty that came after the catch, or Welker would have surpassed the century mark.
Booker had 12 yards on one reception, but was targeted seven times in the passing game.
Gilmore was a non factor, with one catch for four yards.
McMichael was targeted eight times, but was able to come down with only three of those for 20 yards receiving. He was bottled up by the Buccaneers’ defense, but was Frerotte’s favorite target on third downs. Half of the balls thrown his way were on third down, but McMichael and Frerotte were only able to convert on two of them.
Mare connected on both of his field goal attempts, from 47 and 53 yards out, as well as his only extra point attempt of the day.
Miami failed to shut down the Buccaneers’ running attack, where Michael Pittman filled in for the injured Carnell Williams. Tampa Bay averaged 5.3 yards per carry, and Pittman went over 100 yards, including a 57 yard touchdown run. Earnest Graham also contributed to the Bucs ball control offense with 50 yards rushing on 17 attempts, and helped the Bucs eat up valuable time late in the game.
The Dolphins’ pass defense did have three sacks, but could not shut down the Buccaneers’ safe passing attack. Before his injury, QB Brian Griese was extremely efficient in the passing game, having completed 12 of 16 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown on the opening drive of the game. Miami’s secondary failed to slow down the only healthy weapon in the Tampa Bay passing game, WR Joey Galloway, who burned them for 96 yards and a touchdown.
|QB Brian Griese, Pass: 12 - 16 - 120 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0|
Griese was on his way to a nice game, completing 12 of 16 for 120 and a touchdown, before having his knee rolled on by Dolphin LB Zach Thomas late in the second quarter. He led the Buccaneers to a score on their opening drive, connecting with Joey Galloway from seven yards out. The extent of his injury was unknown, but the early word is that they fear it could be an ACL injury that could possibly end Griese’s season.
Simms came out of the bull pen in relief of injured Brian Griese and completed six of ten passes for 69 yards. Simms led the Buccaneers on a scoring drive on their first drive of the third quarter that led to a Matt Bryant field goal. Tampa Bay, looking to protect the lead, ran the ball for most of their second half drives.
Graham helped shoulder the load, relieving Pittman on occasion, and finished with 50 yards rushing on 17 attempts. He did have a fumble in the fourth quarter that led to a Dolphins’ touchdown, but Gruden showed confidence in him, giving him seven carries after the fumble.
Pittman was one of the key reasons Tampa bay came away with their fifth win of the season. Filling in for Cadillac Williams, Pittman went over the century mark with 127 yards rushing, including a 57 yard touchdown run. He also caught the only pass thrown his way for 11 yards.
Alstott was not a factor in the game, finishing with 23 yards on one reception.
Galloway continued his hot play of late, hauling in nine catches for 96 yards and a seven yard score. He was clearly the most targeted receiver, getting 14 looks (more than two times more than any other Buccaneers’ receiver).
Clayton had another mysterious game, with only two catches for 27 yards on three targets. While he is playing hurt, fantasy owners are surely frustrated with his involvement in the offense, especially after Gruden made a point to try to get him more involved in the offense. He still does a great job blocking downfield, and is an excellent asset in the running game.
Hilliard caught both passes thrown his way, both on third down plays that resulted in Tampa Bay first downs.
Smith had two catches for no gain, but did have a 31 yard pass play called back for a pass interference call against himself.
Becht was not a big factor in the passing game, with one catch for 13 yards.
Bryant hit field goals from 36 and 32 yards and made good on all three of his extra point attempts.
Tampa Bay shut down the Miami rushing attack, and spoiled the return of RB Ricky Williams. Helped by the fact they jumped out to an early lead, as well as the fact the Dolphins’ RBs struggled to get to the second level, they allowed only 64 yards rushing. Miami’s lone touchdown came on a Ronnie Brown run from eight yard out following a Tampa Bay turnover.
The Buccaneers’ pass defense did an excellent job containing the Dolphins’ wideouts, but was helped out by Frerotte’s inability to hit open receivers on what could have been big plays. The Tampa pass defense gave up a touchdown to Chris Chambers that was called back because of penalty, but for the most part they shut down the Miami receivers. They did a good job on TE Randy McMichael in coverage, not allowing the talented tight end to find many openings. The Buccaneers sacked Frerotte four times and brought constant pressure on the Miami QB. DE Greg Spires forced a Frerotte fumble that DB Will Allen returned for a touchdown.