(Reuters) – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers added to Miami’s current turmoil by handing the Dolphins a 22-19 defeat on Monday.
Quarterback Mike Glennon led an 80-yard drive in the fourth quarter for a go-ahead touchdown that provided the final score and gave the Buccaneers (1-8) their first victory of the season.
“Tonight we wanted to play four quarters, and we came out with the win,” Tampa Bay receiver Vincent Jackson told reporters. “The past is the past. There’s a lot of football left.”
The Dolphins are embroiled in a controversy after lineman Jonathan Martin left the team at the end of October suffering from emotional distress that his representatives said came from alleged bullying and abuse by team mates.
Fellow lineman Richie Incognito, who was singled out by Martin, is suspended indefinitely pending investigation by the National Football League, and Miami played their first game without him.
With the spotlight firmly on them, Miami (4-5) appeared weakened by the absence of their linemen as they fell behind 15-0.
Ryan Tannehill rallied Miami to 19 straight points, throwing a touchdown pass at the end of the first half and one in the third where the visitors also got two field goals from Caleb Sturgis.
After the Buccaneers answered, on a one-yard TD by Bobby Rainey with 10:26 left, Miami’s final gasp ended with a Tannehill interception and they returned to the reality of widespread speculation about their locker-room culture.
“We have good guys on this team who understand adversity and understand how to handle it,” Tannehill said. “I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m not saying it’s fun to deal with. But I have faith in these guys.”
On the field, the Dolphins finished with a franchise-low two rushing yards on the night.
Tannehill had 229 yards passing to go with two scores, both thrown to Rishard Matthews who finished with 11 catches for 120 yards.
Tampa Bay’s defense dominated the line early before Miami found enough time to throw as the game wore on.
Tampa Bay took a 7-0 advantage on an unlikely pass to left tackle Donald Penn, who had reported as an eligible receiver on the play.
Buccaneers running back Mike James figured prominently on the opening drive, but he exited with an ankle injury after just five carries for 41 yards.
Tampa Bay added two field goals and a safety to take control of the contest in the first half and ultimately become the last team in the NFL to get a win.