ORLANDO, Fla. — Running back Arian Foster had a 2-yard touchdown run in the Miami Dolphins’ 17-6 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night.
Foster, who joined the Dolphins during the offseason and is coming off an Achilles injury, had his most extensive playing time with his new team in the third preseason game that was played at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium.
“It’s just a testament to the work we have been putting in, it is doing the work every single day,” Foster said. “We keep getting better, taking each opportunity to give back.”
The four-time Pro Bowl running back played in just one series in the first half, but he made the most of the limited opportunities by sparking the Dolphins to their lone touchdown drive of the half with five carries for 10 yards, capped by his 2-yard scoring run early in the second quarter.
The Dolphins are taking a cautious approach with Foster, who hasn’t played a full season since 2012 with Houston. The former Texans star didn’t play in the Dolphins’ preseason opener and had just two carries for minus-5 yards last week against Dallas.
“There was a couple of situations where we got him the ball and just getting him into a rhythm and used to the flow of the game was good for him,” Miami coach Adam Gase said.
“I just wanted to see him get hit a few times to make sure he’s going to be back for the first game. He won’t play next week.”
With Foster expected to challenge second-year running back Jay Ajayi in the Dolphins’ backfield this season, Gase came into Thursday night’s game wanting a little more to evaluate Foster on.
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, coming off an impressive outing against the Cowboys, didn’t put his team in many scoring positions, but he did move the ball effectively.
He completed 20 of 29 passes for 155 yards while leading the Dolphins to a score in one of two red zone opportunities.
Last week against the Cowboys, Tannehill led the offense to scores in two of three trips into the red zone.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, meanwhile, took a step back from his showing last week against Cleveland. He completed 12 of 22 passes for 129 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.
The Falcons couldn’t get much going and wide receiver Julio Jones left in the second quarter with an ankle injury.
The Dolphins’ defense, led by a strong push from defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and the return of defensive end Cameron Wake, kept the Falcons out of the end zone.
Suh left the game with an ankle injury during the first half.
Falcons: Safety Keanu Neal had five tackles and had one tackle for loss before leaving the game with an injury. Linebacker Deion Jones, who is competing for a starting job, had five tackles and a quarterback hurry.
Dolphins: Rookie left guard Laremy Tunsil continued to play well. Safety A.J. Hendy had three tackles in the secondary and also had a nice hit on special teams.
Falcons: Receiver Mohamed Sanu had two catches for 19 yards on three targets during the first three quarters, while Justin Hardy had just one catch for 11 yards in four targets as the two compete for the No. 2 receiver spot.
Dolphins: Center Anthony Steen got the start over injured veteran Mike Pouncey and played well except for a bad snap that resulted in a fumble during the first half.
Falcons: Safety Keanu Neal went down late in the first quarter with a knee injury. Defensive end Adrian Clayborn suffered a shoulder injury in the first half. Julio Jones left with an ankle injury and defensive end Dwight Freeney did not make the trip because of a shoulder injury.
Dolphins: Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh left the game with an ankle injury. Running back Isaiah Pead suffered a hamstring injury and linebacker Jelani Jenkins injured his ankle.
Falcons: “We are trying to create a standard for how we want to play, and how we want to operate and we didn’t get to that standard tonight.” — Atlanta coach Dan Quinn
Dolphins: “They did a good job. We have to clean a few things up.” — Miami coach Adam Gase on the Dolphins’ offensive performance in the first half.