On a night the Tampa Bay Buccaneers inducted Warren Sapp into their Ring of Honor, it seemed only fitting that their defense preserved the Buccaneers first victory of the season Monday night against the Miami Dolphins.
An explosive series on defense got the job done as Da’Quan Bowers and William Gholston got to Ryan Tannehill on first down, then Bowers and Gerald McCoy got to Tannehill once more on second down. An incompletion on third down set up fourth and 28, and Darrelle Revis picked off Tannehill’s deep throw to secure a 22-19 Buccaneer victory.
The scene was nearly a disastrous one however, as the Buccaneers blew a 15 point lead in the second half, but a Bobby Rainey touchdown put the Bucs ahead before the defense clinched the win.
The Bucs leaped to a 15-0 lead thanks to a one-yard touchdown pass to Donald Penn from Mike Glennon and also added two Ryan Lindell field goals, with a Lavonte David safety sandwiched between the two kicks.
The Dolphins made it 15-7 with 32 seconds left in the first half as Tannehill hit Rishard Matthews for a 6-yard score. They then took a 19-15 lead thanks to two Caleb Strugis field goals as well as another touchdown pass to Matthews.
However, it was Bobby Rainey, making his first appearance for the Bucs, who scored the decisive touchdown as he scampered into the end zone from 1-yard out. The Bucs had gotten into the red zone in large part due to a 31-yard run from Rainey.
However, Rainey hadn’t expected to see much action, if any at all, but when Mike James left the game in the first quarter with a fractured ankle, he was thrust into action.
Rainey ended the night with 45 yards on eight carries including his first career rushing touchdown. James had 41 yards on five carries before his injury, while Brian Leonard racked up 57 yards on 20 carries.
Mike Glennon was 11 of 21 for 139 yards with a touchdown and one interception.
Lavonte David was lights out again for the Bucs on defense, as he had seven tackles, two of which were for losses including the safety.
Dashon Goldson had eight tackles, while Gerald McCoy had five, including the all-important sack on the final Dolphins drive.
On a night where the Bucs saluted the legendary Warren Sapp, it was fitting that it concluded with the defense standing tall.