Despite losing Ronnie Brown in the third quarter, Miami came from behind to beat Tampa Bay, 25-23.
Tampa Bay (23) @ Miami (25)
This was a battle of place kickers, with Miami's Dan Carpenter winning the contest as his fourth field goal gave the Dolphins the lead for good, 25-23. Both kickers were perfect on the day, with Chris Barth connecting on three fifty yarders, tying an NFL record, and Carpenter hitting four of his own, including the game winner. Despite Miami (4-5) winning this ball game, they suffered a big loss in the third quarter with an injury to Ronnie Brown, who finished the game on the sidelines on crutches. Luckily for the Phins, they have Ricky Williams, who had a huge run during the fianl drive that ultimately set up the game winning field goal.
This game turned out to be an incredible learning experience for each young quarterback featured in the contest. Tampa Bay rookie Josh Freeman followed up a poor first half with a solid second half, but it was Chad Henne who managed to steal the show in the end. After Henne threw a critical interception with under two minutes to play in the game that set up a Cadillac Williams touchdown to give the Bucs the lead, Chad utilized receiver Devone Bess to orchestrate a masterful final drive resulting in the win for the Phins.
After Ronnie Brown left the game, Miami fed the ball to Ricky Williams who carried the Dolphins on his back, finishing the contest with over 100 yards. The status on Brown is uncertain, but fortunately for Miami they have an extremely healthy Ricky Williams, which does allow the Dolphins to not rush Brown's recovery. Brown was having an excellent game before getting injured and fumbling, posting 80 yards and a touchdown.
Tampa Bay (1-8) had a strong second half, including two fourth quarter touchdowns, but in the end, Miami was just too much for the Bucs to handle. Also, a critical mistake by Tampa Bay coach Raheem Moore led to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty right before halftime which was soon followed by a Miami touchdown. Moore blames himself for the loss because of those words he had said to the official. Regardless of that penalty, the Phins won this game thanks to a clutch fourth quarter game winning drive when it really mattered.
This was a hard fought game for both teams, as the Bucs were relentless, never giving up. Miami has a talent this season for making games exciting, especially in the fourth quarter. This battle was no different, as Miami won after coming from behind once again, but they almost blew another close game. They controlled this contest from the get go, holding the lead for the majority of the contest and almost became victims of yet another fourth quarter collapse. This was a matchup they could not afford to lose, especially with coach Sparano sitting out Joey Porter. But after another exciting finish, the Phins remain in the hunt for a playoff bid and head to Carolina next week to attempt to make that goal become reality.
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Written by Josh Souder