There was some good, bad, and ugly Saturday night in the Buccaneer’s 26-24 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
At least for one game, Quarterback Kyle Trask showed that he might be the guy to command the offense after Tom Brady’s exit.
The night started well and ended well for Trask as he completed 25/33 passes for 258 yards with one touchdown and an interception.
In between was an ugly interception and then a fumble, all in 28 seconds, that gave Miami a 20-14 halftime lead.
What was most impressive about Trask was his ability to take the Bucs down the field with 3:32 to play and put the Bucs in a position to win the game.
However, Jose Borregales missed from 49 yards with three seconds remaining, giving the Dolphins the 26-24 win.
Head coach Todd Bowles liked what he saw from his second-year quarterback. “We hadn’t seen him under pressure. We hadn’t seen him get knocked down and throw an incomplete pass and get up. We hadn’t seen him throw an interception. We hadn’t seen him throw a touchdown in a preseason game to date, other than practice. It was more about what kind of moxie he had out on the field and what kind of control he had on the field, whether he would panic in different situations or whether he would do the right thing. He passed a lot of those tests, so he’ll get more of it next week.”
Overall the Bucs offense outgained Miami 389-242 and kept the Miami running game in check most of the night, allowing just 49 yards.
Twenty-one out of the Buc’s 24 starters did not suit up, and I would expect the same next week in Nashville as the Bucs have joint practices with the Titans Wednesday and Thursday, ahead of Saturday’s preseason game.
Blaine Gabbert started the game at quarterback for the Bucs and was a perfect 5/5 for 56 yards and one touchdown. Jaelon Darden had one catch in the game: a 23-yard touchdown pass from Gabbert that gave the Bucs a 7-3 lead.
Free agent receivers Kaylon Geiger and Jerreth Stearns were also very impressive, as Kyle Trask would find those two receivers repeatedly.
Stearns caught the only touchdown pass from Kyle Trask, which was the best pass of the night thrown by either quarterback.
If Stearns and Geiger continue to play as they did against Miami, the Bucs will have a tough decision to determine who will make the team as the fifth, sixth, and possibly seventh wide receiver.
Todd Bowles talked about the two free agents’ impact on the game.
“Sterns and Geiger both showed up. Tyler showed up in the first half. Those guys can play. Like I said, we have a lot of tough decisions at receiver. Stern can play. He caught a lot of balls in college, and when the lights came on, he turned it on, Geiger turned it on, and Tyler turned it on. There’s a lot of good film to watch.”
Wide receiver Tyler Johnson battling to win a spot at receiver, was the best receiver of the night, catching six balls for 73 yards.
Running the ball, Rachaad White rookie was impressive in his debut, carrying seven times for 32 yards and finishing with 4.6 yards per carry. He demonstrated good vision, ran hard, and showed speed in his seven carries.
Ke’Shawn Vaughan started the game and played most of the first half, netting 19 yards on ten carries and scoring the Buc’s only rushing touchdown.
Defensively, the Buc’s young defense played well against the run and struggled against the passing attack of Miami led by Skylar Thompson. Thompson completed 20/28 passes for 218 yards and one touchdown.
Linebacker Cam Gill made his presence felt early on, sacking Thompkins and stopping Sony Michael for a three-yard loss to stall a Miami drive forcing the Dolphins to settle for a field goal.
Teammate Anthony Nelson picked up where Cam Gill left off, stopping Miami running back Salvon Ahmed for a three-yard loss in the second quarter. A few plays later, Nelson sacked Thompkins for a ten-yard loss forcing Miami to settle for another field goal.
The play of Gill and Nelson did not go unnoticed by Todd Bowles. “Nelson is a good player. He stepped up last year and had a bunch of sacks. He has great vision and great intelligence. He doesn’t look muscular and everything, but he is very strong. He knows how to play; he is very savvy, and he is a big part of what we are doing.”
Outside linebackers Cam Gill and Anthony Nelson were the two game stars on defense, combining for six tackles and two sacks.
A battle at kicker has been going on since OTA’s in the spring between Ryan Succop and Jose Borregales.
Borregales handled the extra points and field goals Saturday night and was a perfect 3/3 on extra points and 1/2 in field goals. But, of course, the big miss was the 49-yarder as time ran out.
My player of the game is quarterback Kyle Trask. Trask completed 25/33 passes for 258 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Trask will get 75-80 percent of the snaps in Nashville on Saturday as the Bucs will play the Titans in the second preseason game.