Buccaneers vs. Dolphins final score: Tampa Bay steals 17-16 win

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

A late fumble cost the Dolphins the game as they failed to capitalize on the struggles of Bucs QB Josh Freeman.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked up their first win of the 2013 preseason on Saturday night, coming back against the Miami Dolphins with just over a minute remaining for a 17-16 victory. Tampa Bay defensive end William Gholston forced a fumble on a run by Jonas Gray, and safety Sean Baker recovered to put the Bucs on the Miami 25 with just over two minutes remaining. Four runs from Peyton Hillis advanced the ball, and a short pass from Mike Glennon to David Douglas put Tampa Bay in the end zone and gave them their first win of the year.

Prior to the final minutes, Miami was in control for much of the game, capitalizing on inconsistent play from Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman. Ryan Tannehill led the Dolphins, completing 17-of-27 passes for 150 yards with one touchdown, and he has now thrown 56 preseason passes without an interception. He spread the ball around well, finding Brandon Gibson five times for 43 yards, Brian Hartline four times for 40 yards and Mike Wallace three times for 31 yards.

The game was Tampa Bay's first opportunity to get an extended look at Freeman's form, and he struggled to make the most of the opportunity, going 6-for-16 for 59 yards with a fumble lost. Freeman has a lot to prove in the final year of his rookie contract, and from the early looks it may be a tough job. Running back Brian Leonard gained some attention with some hard efforts, but ended up without much to show for it in the box score, with just 38 yards on 10 carries.

Miami's defense kept Freeman off his game, sacking him five times through three quarters of work. The Dolphins are still sorting out questions in their secondary, and both Will Davis and Nolan Carroll continued to make a case for playing time. They each ended the night with a tackle and a pass defended to their credit. Dimitri Patterson, currently slated as a starting cornerback, had two tackles but no passes defended.

Tampa Bay's preseason concludes at home against the Washington Redskins, while the Dolphins will host the New Orleans Saints.

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