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Dolphins Finish Preseason With 34-7 Victory Over Falcons


The Dolphins took control early and never looked back in their preseason finale Thursday night.

The Dolphins scored 21 points in the first quarter for the first time in a preseason game since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger and cruised to a 34-7 victory against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The victory, the third-most lopsided in Dolphins preseason history, gave them a 1-3 preseason record.

With the Dolphins resting most of their starters, Brock Osweiler got the start at quarterback and guided the three touchdown drives in the first quarter thanks to a lot of help from rookie running backs Kalen Ballage and Buddy Howell.

Ballage, back in action after missing the previous two preseason games because of a concussion, scored on a 9-yard run and had three catches for 37 yards, including a 16-yard gain on the first offensive play of the game.

For good measure, Ballage also had a tackle in punt coverage.

Howell, the undrafted free agent from FAU, had the other two first-quarter touchdowns, first on a 1-yard reception and later on a 1-yard run.

That second score came after linebacker Stephone Anthony picked off a pass after it was deflected by cornerback Torry McTyer, who was one of many Dolphins defenders who impressed in that first half.

August 30, 2018

Defensive ends Jonathan Woodard and Claudy Mathieu each had a sack; Cameron Malveaux forced an incompletion with pressure and later batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage, and linebacker Chase Allen made the tackle when the Dolphins stopped a fourth-and-1 run on the first play of the second quarter.

That led to a 33-yard field goal by Greg Joseph after David Fales completed consecutive passes to wide receiver Isaiah Ford.

Osweiler threw a second touchdown pass on the final play of the third quarter when he hit Francis Owusu with a perfect back-shoulder throw near the pylon to convert a fourth-and-2 from the Atlanta 14-yard line.

Osweiler, who played the first and third quarters, finished the game 16-for-25 for 147 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions and a passer rating of 106.6.

Jason Sanders closed out the scoring with a 56-yard field goal with 4:33 left in the fourth quarter after earlier missing a 53-yard attempt in the second quarter.

Fales, who played the second and fourth quarters, completed 13 of 20 passes for 94 yards with no touchdowns, one interception and a passer rating of 55.0.

The Dolphins held the Atlanta offense, which also rested most of its starters, to only 43 yards until the Falcons drove 21 yards for a touchdown in the final seconds of the first half after Drew Morgan muffed a punt.

August 30, 2018

Safety Jordan Lucas had a big second half, coming up with an interception off a deflection on the first possession, then tackling running back Malik Williams in the open field for a 1-yard loss on a running play, and then sacking quarterback Kurt Benkert for a 5-yard loss.

The only Dolphins starter who played against Atlanta was rookie third-round pick Jerome Baker, who started at linebacker.

The Dolphins open the regular season a week from Sunday against the Tennessee Titans at Hard Rock Stadium at 1 p.m.

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