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Miami Beats Bucs To Remain Undefeated In NFL Preseason Play

freecompress NFL 09Success in the NFL mandates that even when teams aren’t playing their best they need to find a way to win. The Miami Dolphins found a way to win ugly in their NFL preseason battle of Florida on Thursday night. After spotting the Bucs a 6-0 lead, Miami used a late first half field goal and scored the only touchdown of the second half to comeback for the 10-6 win. The victory improved Miamis preseason NFL record to a perfect 3-0 while Tampa Bay dropped to 1-2.

A starting QB battle in Tampa was the biggest storyline of the game and veteran Byron Leftwich appears to have gained the edge over Luke McCown. Bucs coach Raheem Morris has indicated that hell be making a decision soon, though he gave little indication as to his preference in postgame comments:

“Obviously you want somebody to jump up and take it. We’ll find out when we go back, look at the tape and evaluate this thing.”

McCown had a rough night, with two sacks and no points scored. He gained 38 yards on 5 for 11 passing and after the game gave a verbose no comment on his status as starter:

“It’s not for me to say. … My part in it is preparing every day, being the best I can be and getting better from my mistakes. As long as I feel like I’m doing that, then I’m OK.”

Leftwich, meanwhile, was 9 of 17 for 100 yards and came up big on several third down completions. He had very little to say about the ‘QB controversy’ and instead focused on his performance:

“Hopefully, I’m the guy. I felt good. I missed a few, but I hit a few also. Luckily for me on the ones I missed, I made plays on the following play to get those first downs.”

Bucs running back Cadillac Williams returned to action after major knee surgery seven months ago. Hes been limited in the last three seasons due to injuries, but looked solid in picking up 54 yards on eight carries. Afterwards, he said the knee problems are not an issue:

“The knee is not an issue to me. … I feel great. I’m just loving what I do.”

Dolphins QB Chad Pennington said that its hard to take much away from a strange game like this one. The game had several delays due to rain and lightening, the longest a 45 minute stoppage:

“It was a very odd game for us, as far as the rain delay, a lot of stoppages of play and things like that We were able to come out get a score before halftime and get a score after the half. We’ll build on that. We’ll be critical of ourselves and make sure we don’t let a win overshadow what we need to do to get better.”

The Dolphins will conclude their NFL preseason play next Thursday against the Saints at New Orleans. Tampa Bay will host Houston next Friday in their final preseason contest. Miami will get the NFL regular season underway against the Atlanta Falcons at The Georgia Dome on Sunday, September 13. Tampa Bay will welcome the Dallas Cowboys to The Cigar City on the same day to kick off their 2009 campaign.

Ross Everett is a freelance sports writer and respected authority on football betting. His writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sportsbooks and sportsbook directory sites. He lives in Northern Nevada with three Jack Russell Terriers and a kangaroo. He is currently working on an autobiography of former interior secretary James Watt.