Fans had a chance to see several of Miami's young players and offseason acquisitions showcase their skills in the team's 19-3 loss to the Atlanta Falcons Friday night at Hard Rock Stadium.
Rookie running back De’Von Achane showed off his much-talked about speed on the game's opening kickoff, taking the ball from inside the end zone, down the sideline and out to the Dolphins 38-yard line. The third-round draft pick (84th overall) led the team in carries (10) and rushed for 25 yards. He also was Miami's leading receiver, tallying four receptions for 41 yards.
Quarterback Mike White and the Dolphins offense ran nine more plays and outgained Atlanta by 60 yards on the ground and 10 yards through the air in the first half but were unable to put the ball in the end zone.
Three of Miami's four first-half possessions spanned eight-plus plays and entered the red zone. But all three of those drives ended inside the Atlanta 10-yard line without points - one at the nine-yard line, one at the three-yard line, and the third at the six-yard line.
In total, the Dolphins racked up 129 rushing yards, the most in the first half of a preseason game since at least 2000.
The Falcons, meanwhile, made one first-half trip into the red zone and converted on an 11-yard touchdown run from running back Godwin Igwebuike.
View photos from Preseason Week 1 Atlanta Falcons vs. Miami Dolphins on August 11, 2023, presented by Lexus.
Miami trailed 6-0 at halftime before eventually getting on the board with 9:49 left to play on a 49-yard field goal from kicker Jason Sanders. Atlanta then extended its lead to 13-3 on a 79-yard punt return by Dee Alford with 2:53 left in the fourth quarter and again to 19-3 on a pick-six by defensive back Breon Borders with 2:20 remaining on the clock.
Despite the defeat, there were numerous positives to take from Miami's first 60 minutes of football in the 2023 preseason.
Offensively, running back Myles Gaskin finished with seven rushes for 57 yards (8.1 avg.) while wide receiver Erik Ezukanma showcased his playmaking ability with two carries for 52 yards (26.0 avg.).
Eleven different players caught passes from White and quarterback Skylar Thompson, who played the entire second half.
On defense, Channing Tindall recorded a team-leading nine tackles (4 solo and 1.0 sack) while fellow linebackers Garrett Nelson and Mitchell Agude, both undrafted rookies, finished with one sack each.
Cornerback Cam Smith, the Dolphins second-round pick (51st overall) in the 2023 NFL Draft also flashed. The former South Carolina Gamecock recorded a diving pass-breakup to force a Falcons punt on the opening possession of the second half.
Later in the third quarter, Smith shined again as he tripped up Falcons running back Carlos Washington Jr. for a three-yard loss to force fourth down. Atlanta's drive ended on the following play thanks to an end zone pass deflection by another SEC rookie, safety Keidron Smith, who signed with the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent out of Kentucky in May.
White finished 9-of-14 for 85 yards while Thompson ended the game 10-of-16 for 104 yards.
Miami returns to action on August 19 when they travel to take on the Houston Texans. Kickoff at NRG Stadium is set for 4:00 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on NFL Network and locally on CBS Miami.