posted on Aug, 29 2004 @ 09:26 AM
Chris Simms just wants to play. He'll leave the decision about Tampa Bay's No. 2 quarterback job to Jon Gruden.
"I have been saying that I am not worried about it," the second-year pro said after the Buccaneers beat the Miami Dolphins 17-10 on Ryan Nece's
56-yard interception return for a touchdown Saturday night.
"All I can control is what I do on the field. It's in the coach's hands."
Simms completed 11 of 13 passes for 145 yards to remain ahead of Brian Griese in the race to be Brad Johnson's backup. He was 4-of-4 for 76 yards in a
78-yard drive that Earnest Graham finished with a 2-yard TD run.
Nece's interception off Sage Rosenfels snapped a 10-10 tie midway through the fourth quarter. The son of Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott raced up the right
sideline untouched with help from Corey Ivy's block on Rosenfels near the goal line.
A.J. Feeley scored on a 1-yard dive and Olindo Mare kicked a 28-yard field goal for Miami (1-2).
Receiver Marty Booker, acquired from Chicago last week in a trade for defensive end Adewale Ogunleye, made his debut for the Dolphins. He had two
receptions, including a 17-yarder from Feeley in the second quarter.
"It felt funny when I was in the locker room putting on my stuff. It's just good to get back out," Booker said.
"I felt comfortable. Coming into the game, I didn't think I'd be that comfortable. I felt prettygood with the system, and it's just all about going
out there and playing football."
Both teams entered the game coming off poor offensive performances the week before. And, both did a better job of moving the ball, with Miami using
some of its regulars into the third quarter and the Bucs' first unit playing about a half.
"We made improvement. ... I see it coming together a little bit better this week than we did last week," Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt said.
Johnson led one Tampa Bay drive that ended with Martin Gramatica missing a 43-yard field goal, and another that produced a 30-yard field goal for a
3-0 lead. After being limited to just 152 yards on 53 plays against Jacksonville last week, the Bucs gained 142 on 29 plays in the first half alone
Jay Fielder started for Miami and played one quarter, completing 7 of 11 passes for 55 yards. Feeley had a second-quarter touchdown pass to Randy
McMichael wiped out by a holding penalty on Jeno James, and the Dolphins settled for Mare's field goal that made it 3-3 at the half.
"I would have liked to get a little bit more of a rhythm going," Fiedler said. "I just had two drives out there."
Travis Minor rushed for 11 yards on six carries. He reminded the Dolphins once again of how much they're likely to miss Ricky Williams when the
fourth-year pro was stopped for no gain twice from the Tampa Bay 1 in the third quarter.
Feeley scored on a quarterback sneak on fourth down, giving Miami a shortlived 10-3 lead. The Bucs (2-1) drove 78 yards on the ensuing possession to
tie the game on Graham's TD, with Simms completing passes of 24 yards to Jamel White and 26 yards to Michael Clayton to set up the score.
Former Oakland running back Charlie Garner made his first preseason appearance for the Bucs after missing two exhibitions with a sore hamstring. He
gained 20 yards on four carries.
Feeley played two quarters and was 8-of-14 for 83 yards. Johnson worked nearly a half for the Bucs, going 8-of-12 for 72 yards.
Griese replaced Simms at the start of the fourth quarter and was 5-of-8 for 44 yards. He led the Bucs into scoring position once, but Gramatica's
44-yard field goal try fell short.
[Edited on 8/29/2004 by Ben]