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Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount shows he can catch passes

Running back LeGarrette Blount evades Miami cornerback Sean Smith on his way to a 52-yard catch during the first quarter.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Running back LeGarrette Blount evades Miami cornerback Sean Smith on his way to a 52-yard catch during the first quarter.

TAMPA — The Bucs' LeGarrette Blount worked a lot this offseason on becoming a more well-rounded running back, including improving his pass-catching.

Though Blount rushed for 1,007 yards as a rookie last season, he had just five receptions for 14 yards.

The Bucs gave Blount a chance Saturday against the Dolphins. QB Josh Freeman targeted him five times, and Blount made three catches for a team-high 62 yards, including a 52-yarder in the first quarter on a checkdown pass.

"A lot of teams don't respect the fact that I can actually go out and catch a pass," Blount said. "So when I do it, it opens up a lot of things for me and for our team."

On the 52-yarder, Blount caught the ball near the right hash, scampered up the sideline and cut back to avoid a defender before getting hauled down at the Miami 29.

"I was thinking touchdown," Blount said. "That's the only thing on my mind: Get a touchdown by any means necessary."

He didn't have as good a day rushing, with five carries for 10 yards.

ON THE MEND: TE Kellen Winslow, making his preseason debut, left early in the second quarter with an ankle injury. He likely would have returned if it had been a regular-season game.

"No big deal," Winslow said.

Winslow made a third-down catch for 6 yards near the right sideline then limped off the field.

The Bucs held Winslow out of the first two games as a precaution, wanting to make sure his chronically sore right knee made it to Week 1 of the regular season.

WELCOME BACK: WR Arrelious Benn, making his preseason debut after offseason left knee surgery, showed no ill effects, including picking up 11 yards on a reverse late in the first quarter.

Benn, who started, made one catch for 12 yards.

"It feels good just being out there with the guys, being in my place and doing anything I can to help the offense and get us to win games and all those little things to help the team," Benn said.

DT Brian Price (pelvis) also made his preseason debut.

LEE LOSES IT: James Lee, who is competing with Jeremy Trueblood for the starting right tackle job, had a rough night. It included picking up a 15-yard personal foul for his role in a scuffle with Dolphins LB Jason Taylor. It was one of three penalties called on Lee in one series; the others were for illegal formation and false start.

HOT CORNER: With CB Aqib Talib (hamstring) out again, CB E.J. Biggers and CB Myron Lewis (making his preseason debut) took turns covering Dolphins WR Brandon Marshall.

Each drew a pass interference penalty. Marshall beat Biggers for a 60-yard touchdown on the Dolphins' first possession with a stutter-and-go route along the right sideline, racing 30 yards after the catch.

"I just got to finish," Biggers said.

Biggers would finish when he forced a Marshall fumble late in the second quarter. After Marshall caught the ball in the right flat, he broke a Biggers tackle and ran upfield. But Biggers chased him from behind and knocked the ball loose. LB Geno Hayes recovered.

"You can never give up on a play, no matter what." Biggers said. "You fall on the ground, you've got to get up like it's hot."

FLAG OF DAY: The Bucs received a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the Dolphins' first touchdown because coaches challenged the call. Under new rules, all scoring plays are automatically reviewed.

Miscellany: S Ahmad Black (ankle) and DT Roy Miller (knee) also were inactive. … P/K Michael Koenen had another strong game, averaging 40.2 yards per punt. … TE Nathan Overbay kept the ball from his winning touchdown in the fourth quarter: "Hopefully, I get more, but one is good to start with."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount shows he can catch passes 08/27/11 [Last modified: Sunday, August 28, 2011 12:24am]
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