Bucs put the fun in dysfunction, rally for first win
TAMPA - Donald Penn made his 101st start at left tackle Monday night against the Dolphins. But for one play on the opening drive, the 6-foot-5, 340-pounder lined up at tight end, sneaked off the line of scrimmage and hauled in a 1-yard touchdown pass from Mike Glennon.
Penn then took off toward the goal post, leaped toward the crossbar and did a finger roll.
Passes to tackles, reverses on punt returns, a safety by linebacker Lavonte David.
The Bucs put the fun back into dysfunction.
Playing against a distracted Dolphins team, the Bucs blew a 15-point lead but rallied with a 22-19 win at Raymond James Stadium and a national television audience.
Bobby Rainey, claimed off waivers from the Browns last month, scored a go-ahead 1-yard touchdown run with 10:19 remaining in the game. And on Miami's last drive, two sacks of Ryan Tannehill forced a fourth and 28, on which cornerback Darrelle Revis intercepted a pass.
Tampa Bay built a 15-0 lead, controlling the tempo with a strong running game and stingy defense.
Rookie Mike James, who rushed for 158 yards in last week's 27-24 overtime loss at Seattle, started fast again with four carries for 38 yards. But on his fifth carry, a second and goal, he fell after gaining 3 yards, was carted off the field with a left ankle injury and did not return.
On the next play, Gabe Carimi entered at left tackle and Penn moved to tight end before catching the second touchdown of his career.
Sandwiched around two Rian Lindell field goals was a safety by David, who knifed through the gap and tackled running back Daniel Thomas 2 yards deep in the end zone.
For the first time this season, the Bucs faced a team mired in more off-field distractions than them.
On Oct. 28, starting left tackle Jonathan Martin left the Dolphins over alleged bullying by starting left guard Richie Incognito, who was suspended by the team.
But against an offensive line that had allowed the most sacks in the NFL this season and was missing the two starters, the Bucs had trouble generating a pass rush.
Tannehill, who went 15-of-19 for 121 yards in the first half, mounted a 90-yard drive in nine plays. With Revis blanketing Mike Wallace, his favorite receiver was Rishard Matthews, who caught eight passes for 77 yards in the first half. Matthews' 6-yard touchdown reception cut the Bucs' lead to 15-7 with 28 seconds remaining before the half.
At one point, the Bucs had a 10-1 advantage in first downs. But by the middle of the third quarter, the Dolphins matched it.
Miami punter Brandon Fields pinned the Bucs deep by nailing one out of bounds at the Tampa Bay 1. After a three-and-out, Marcus Thigpen returned a punt 34 yards. That set up a 40-yard field goal by Caleb Sturgis to leave the Dolphins trailing 15-10.
Much like it has all season, the Bucs offense disappeared to start the third quarter. The Bucs entered averaging 4.5 points in the second half.
A pair of holding penalties and a shanked 21-yard punt by Michael Koenen set the Dolphins up at the Tampa Bay 41. This time, Tannehill found Matthews in the left flat, and he turned the corner for a 19-yard touchdown.
Revis tipped away the two-point conversion pass, but the Dolphins led 16-15 with 2:01 remaining in the third quarter.
An interception by Dolphins safety Jimmy Wilson led to another Sturgis field goal, this time from 31 yards. The interception broke a streak of 158 passes without one by Glennon, a club rookie record.