Dolphins top Cowboys 17-3 in preseason finale

On a night when the Dolphins rested all of their starters expect wide receiver Brian Hartline, the defense bent but didn’t break, the running game showed some life, and quarterback Matt Moore completed 81% of his passes in Miami’s 17-3 win over Dallas in a half-empty Sun Life Stadium.

In a bit of surprise move, Tony Sparano chose to sit his first-team offensive line after their embarrassing performance against the Buccaneers. The second string stepped in admirably, though, plowing the way for 106 yards on the ground and not conceding a sack.

Daniel Thomas ran hard on his eight carries, tallying 36 yards. The newly signed Larry Johnson also impressed, piling up 39 rushing yards and producing the play of the night on a 22-yard touchdown run.

Matt Moore looked the part of reliable backup, tossing for 142 yards and a touchdown on 9 of 11 passing. Moore found roster fringe players like Marlon Moore for a 22-yard connection and tight end Jeron Mastrud for an 18-yard touchdown. He also finally hooked up with Clyde Gates on a deep ball that went for 42 yards.

Defensively, the Dolphins struggled to get the Cowboys’ backups off the field, as Dallas held the ball for over 36 minutes and compiled nearly 400 yards of total offense.

But on the Cowboys’ first promising drive, roster bubble players Will Allen and Tyrone Culver helped their cause with a nice breakup from the former and an interception from the latter in the end zone. The Dolphins forced five field goals the rest of the way and Dallas only connected on one.

At any rate, the exhibition season is finally over. The next time the Dolphins step onto the field it will be the real deal on Monday Night Football against the Patriots. Let the countdown begin.

But business is in order first. The Dolphins have some difficult decisions to make between now and Saturday night at 6 p.m. when they will be forced to cut 27 players in order to establish their 53-man roster. Look forward to our 53-man roster prediction at some point tomorrow.

Game Ball: Matt Moore- 9-11, 142 yards, 1 touchdown 

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