Tagovailoa sharp in Dolphins' 37-17 win over Falcons

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) —

Tua Tagovailoa threw for 187 yards and a touchdown in one half, and the Miami Dolphins beat the Atlanta Falcons 37-17 on Saturday night.

The Falcons rested their starters, while the Dolphins’ first unit played most of the first half in the second preseason game for both teams.

Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, the No. 6 overall selection in this year's draft, avoided a serious injury during the team’s opening drive. Waddle grimaced in pain after his left leg collided with a Falcons defender. The rookie from Alabama was checked in the medical tent and returned, but was not targeted again. Waddle caught three passes for 21 yards.

Miami’s first two drives ended in touchdowns by Myles Gaskin. The running back capped the first drive with a 1-yard score. Gaskin accounted for 57 of the Dolphins’ 75 yards during the drive.

Tagovailoa connected with Gaskin on an 8-yard touchdown pass that gave Miami a 14-3 lead 2:20 into the second quarter.

Jacoby Brissett replaced Tagovailoa in the second half. Tagovailoa completed 16 of 23 passes.

With quarterback Matt Ryan sitting out, AJ McCarron and rookie Feleipe Franks took the snaps for Atlanta. McCarron started, but left with a right knee injury early in the second quarter.

McCarron and Franks are vying for the No. 2 spot behind Ryan. Before his injury, McCarron was 3 of 6 for 43 yards, while Franks finished 4 of 9 for 46 yards and an interception.

Sam Eguavoen had four sacks for Miami, including one in the end zone for a safety in the third quarter.

Miami outscored Atlanta 23-14 in the second half. Malcolm Brown scored on a 1-yard run and Brissett connected with Robert Foster from 8 yards. Third-string quarterback Reid Sinnett threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Kirk Merritt.

Falcons running backs D’Onta Foreman and Caleb Huntley scored on touchdown runs of 1 and 30 yards, respectively, in the second half.

Younghoe Koo’s 53-yard field goal culminated Atlanta’s opening drive for a 3-0 lead.

ALL ARE WELCOME

After limited capacity because of COVID-19 restrictions last season, 57,217 tickets were distributed for Miami’s only preseason home game. Parking lot tailgating by fans, also not allowed in 2020, was in full swing four hours before kickoff.

ROSTER MOVES

The Falcons signed free agent TE David Wells and placed TE Ryan Becker on injured reserve. ... The Dolphins placed LB Kylan Johnson on the reserve COVID-19 list. Johnson joined Miami as an undrafted free agent in April 2020 and spent the 2020 season on the practice squad.

INJURIES

Falcons: LB Errol Thompson was evaluated for a possible head injury.

UP NEXT

Falcons: return home for their preseason finale against the Cleveland Browns next Sunday.

Dolphins: close their preseason schedule at the Cincinnati Bengals next Sunday.

More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

The Associated Press

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