The Dolphins offense saved its best for last against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday night, but couldn’t hang on in the end.
Matt Gay kicked a 48-yard field goal with six seconds left to give the Bucs a 16-14 victory at Raymond James Stadium in a game that featured little offense until a late flurry.
Jason Sanders kicked two field goals, including a 49-yarder late in the first half, to account for the other scoring for the Dolphins, who put themselves in position to win despite being penalized 13 times for 122 yards.
Before the teams combined for 18 points in the final four minutes, this game was dominated by defense and there were several standouts for both teams.
Eguavoen had a team-high seven tackles, including two for loss on running plays, and forced a fumble in the first half that was recovered by cornerback Eric Rowe for the only turnover of the game.
Harris had 1.5 sacks, combining with Jerome Baker to take down Jameis Winston in the first quarter and later bringing down Blaine Gabbert in the second quarter.
Baker had three tackles in the first half and preceded his half-sack with a near-miss for another one when he got to Winston very quickly but couldn’t bring him down.
There weren’t a lot of offensive highlights for either team until the fourth quarter. The Dolphins’ longest play of the game was a 34-yard run by Kenneth Farrow late in the third quarter and the longest pass play was a 22-yard hook-up between Josh Rosen and Durham Smythe late in the second quarter.
Rosen got the start at quarterback for the Dolphins and played the entire first half. He completed 10 of 18 passes for 102 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. He also was sacked three times.
Ryan Fitzpatrick took over in the second half and played into the fourth quarter. He was 3-for-9 for 20 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.
As was the case in the opener, Rudock closed out the game after coming in early in the fourth quarter. He had completions of 10, 25 and 12 yards on the Dolphins’ touchdown drive.
In addition to his touchdown, Laird led all rushers with 51 yards on eight carries, including a long of 22 yards in the fourth quarter.
The one blemish on Rudock’s resume on this night was an end zone interception when the score was tied 6-6.
The Dolphins came closest to reaching the end zone in the first half when they failed to convert on fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line in the first quarter.
The drive started after Rowe’s fumble recovery and the Dolphins got a first-and-goal from the 5-yard line after a completion from Rosen to rookie Preston Williams combined with an unsportsmanlike conduct on the Buccaneers.
But a holding penalty on veteran tight end Dwayne Allen pushed the Dolphins back to the 15-yard line, and the drive ended when Rosen’s fourth-down pass hit the ground before getting to intended receiver Isaiah Ford.
The Dolphins took a 3-0 lead in the second quarter on Sanders’ 45-yard field goal, which capped a 35-yard drive. The biggest play on the drive was a 12-yard completion from Rosen to Butler.
Tampa Bay tied the score in the second quarter after the Dolphins put together a goal-line stand of their own after the Bucs had a first-and-goal from the 5. The big defensive play came when first-round pick Christian Wilkins sacked Gabbert on third down.
The Dolphins took the lead after an 11-yard punt return by Williams set them up in Tampa Bay territory in the final minute. A 15-yard completion from Rosen to Ford set the stage for Sanders’ second field goal.
Tampa Bay tied the score in the fourth quarter with a second field goal set up by a 41-yard screen pass from Ryan Griffin to Donald Ogunbowale.
Tampa Bay took a 13-6 lead after Coach Bruce Arians’ successful challenge resulted in a defensive pass interference penalty that gave the Bus a first-and-goal from the 4, and Griffin immediately followed with a short TD pass to tight end Tanner Hudson.
The Dolphins’ final drive began their own 49-yard line after a 26-yard return by Chris Lammons after he picked up a ball that had been knocked loose from Dolphins returner Trenton Irwin.
The Dolphins return to Hard Rock Stadium for their third preseason game, Thursday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The game will kick off at 8 p.m. and be televised nationally by FOX.