Dolphins Finish Preseason With 34-7 Victory Over Falcons

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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.

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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.

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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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