Bobby Rainey’s 1-yard run capped an 80-yard drive, and the Bucs held on the final 10 minutes to become the last team in the league to win this season.
Jacksonville beat Tennessee on Sunday, leaving Tampa Bay (1-8) as the league’s only winless team entering the game.
The Dolphins (4-5) started slowly before overcoming an early 15-0 deficit to lead 19-15 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Dolphins have been the talk of the NFL, with the league investigating accusations that second-year pro Jonathan Martin left the team because he was being harassed or bullied by fellow offensive lineman Richie Incognito.
Ryan Tannehill threw touchdown passes of 6 and 19 yards to Rishard Matthews, but got no help from a running game that was limited to just 2 yards rushing.
Tampa Bay running back Mike James hurt his ankle during the opening drive and was taken off on a cart.