Cowboys, Dolphins careful with quarterbacks in first quarter


Here are observations and takeaways from the first quarter of the Hall of Fame game between the Cowboys and Dolphins:

— Dolphins second-year running back Lamar Miller fumbled his first carry, but his next two rushes (back-to-back carries) went for 11 and 10 yards, and was his speed ever evident. If he gets room to roll, look out.

— On Miller’s first rush, Dolphins center Mike Pouncey quickly got to the second level.

— The Dolphins’ passing game sputtered. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was sacked on his first drop-back; the protection was good, and he made his reads, but no one was open. Tannehill’s accuracy was lacking early, too, with his first two attempts behind his intended target.

— The Cowboys were prudent with their top two quarterbacks. They sat starting QB Tony Romo (back), and they whisked Kyle Orton off the field after the first series. It’s hard to blame them: Romo’s the key to the offense, and Orton’s a very good backup.

— Likewise, the Dolphins yanked Tannehill after he completed a third-down pass to wide receiver Brandon Gibson.

— The Dolphins’ left tackles each had their issues with Cowboys second-year end Kyle Wilber. Starting left tackle Jonathan Martin gave up a pressure on a screen pass, while backup Dallas Thomas twice had issues dealing with Wilber’s speed.

— The Cowboys passed on going for a 53-yard field goal or attempting an offensive play on a 4th-and-3 on their first series. Instead, they punted. In the regular season, that’s a questionable move. Tonight, it’s sensible. Dallas has no reason to show any fourth-down tendencies on offense or to have PK Dan Bailey attempt a long kick.

— The Cowboys had some success running off the left side on their first drive. Second-string running back Lance Dunbar, who got the start tonight, showed well in limited playing time.

— Injuries: Cowboys DT Ben Bass appeared to suffer a left leg injury late in the first quarter.