Tampa’s Josh Freeman threw a 13 yard TD pass to Sammie Stroughter to take a 7-0 lead on the first series of the game, but Miami cut the margin to 7-3 on a Dan Carpenter field goal with time running out in the first half. Miami scored their only touchdown of the game on a 2 yard Lex Hilliard rush on the final play of the third quarter to take a 10-7 lead and held on for the victory.
NFL betting enthusiasts who backed the Bucs as +3’ point road underdogs had to sweat, but in the end cashed their tickets as Tampa Bay covered the number. The Bucs improved to 24-14 ATS as a preseason underdog since 1990 and are currently on a 6-1-1 ATS run in Week 1 of the exhibition campaign. Miami dropped to 17-25 ATS as a preseason favorite in the same timeframe. The 17 combined points scored went well UNDER the posted total of 33.
Despite the loss, the Bucs had a lot to be happy about and in particular the play of rookie wide receiver Mike Williams who made a nice catch to set up the Tampa Bay touchdown. Williams had this comment after the game:
“This could be the start of something good. It was good to start like that.”
Willams was considered something of a risky pick due to a number of off the field problems at Syracuse. His response:
“I try not to listen to it: `This guy is bad, he’s going to ruin the team, why did you take him here? I don’t listen. They’re going to say what they have to say. I just go out and play.”
For now, the guy he most needs to impress—Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris—likes what he sees:
“Seeing him get open against one-on-one coverage, which you have to do in this league, that was promising. I want to see more of that.”
Overall, Morris was happy with much of what his team did:
“I was very pleased with the way we ran the ball. I was very pleased with the way we threw, especially the first unit. And I was very pleased with the defense, the way we stopped the run. It was a pretty good day.”
Tampa Bay has a good shot to get a victory in their next preseason game, hosting Kansas City on Saturday. Miami will play on the road against their other Florida rival, the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Bucs will start the 2010 regular season at home against the Cleveland Browns, where they’re -3 point favorites with a total of 36. The Dolphins play their first game at Buffalo where they’re -3 point road favorites against the Bills with the total set at 37’.