The Pittsburgh Steelers took on the Miami Dolphins Sunday afternoon, as it was definitely one to be forgotten, but will be on the minds of fans for weeks to come. The defense had no answer for the Dolphins’ ground game; their own offense couldn’t muster any type of momentum all game long, either. The Steelers would lose 30-15.
The game began in high spirits, although the Dolphins found their way through the field to the tune of an 8 play, 53-yard drive that lasted just over 3 minutes. A Mike Mitchell unnecessary roughness penalty assisted that drive, as it eventually stalled in the red zone, and saw Andrew Franks kick a 30-yard field goal. The Dolphins jumped to an early 3-0 lead.
The Steelers fought back, as they strung together just a few plays before Darrius Heyward-Bey’s afterburners kicked in, showcasing that incredible speed. Todd Haley’s creativity called for a wide receiver reverse, as Heyward-Bey grabbed the ball and jolted 60 yards towards the end zone after a few broken tackles. Ben Roethlisberger would find Le’Veon Bell in the corner of the end zone for a successful 2-point conversion, as the Steelers gained their first lead of the day, at 8-3. That drive lasted only 6 plays, going 73 yards.
The bend-but-don’t-break defensive reputation finally made an appearance, as Ryan Tannehill found Marqueis Gray for a 53-yard reception after the pocket broke down. William Gay had a tough afternoon, as he lost the receiver behind him.
A would-be go ahead touchdown throw by Tannehill on the following play would be called back because of an illegal formation penalty, which gave the defense another shot at stopping them- which they made good of. Another Franks field goal, this time of the 23 yard variation, made the game 8-6.
The following Steelers’ offensive possession resulted in a Reshad Jones interception. Ben would then leave the game because of a left-knee injury.
After starting on a short field, the Steelers’ defense would force a third field goal, as Miami decided to go with short, check-down type passes. They regained the lead at 9-8.
After a 3-and-out drive led by Landry Jones, the next Miami offensive possession would yield their first trip to the end zone. A deep 39 yard pass to Jarvis Landry ignited the drive, as the Dolphins would go 71 yards on 9 plays- splash plays were showing up everywhere for the defense, as Miami was able to capitalize on many chunks yards in single plays. Damien Williams capped off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run down the middle, making the game 16-8 going into halftime.
The Steelers only had 7 first downs in the first half, to go along with 140 total yards. Conversely, they allowed 12 first downs on 231 total yards of offence.
The third quarter began with a glimmer of hope, that would unfortunately not be translated to on-field success. The Dolphins would move down the field, but yet another red zone stall would bring out Andrew Franks; this time, Daniel McCullers would get one of his big mitts on the attempted field goal, as the 24-yarder would be blocked. The Steelers hoped from some momentum.
Ben would come back into the game, but that momentum never really made an appearance, as the following offensive possession would result in his second interception of the day, this time to Isa Adbul-Quddus.
The Dolphins would charge down the field once more, turning in points off of the turnover. Ajayi would break off a 33 yard run that would be indicative to how the drive would end. After 6 plays, and 52 yards, it would be Ajayi who would cap off the drive with a 1 yard touchdown run. The lead would grow to 23-8.
The Steelers would finally grab their second touchdown of the day, and it would be at the hands of newly signed from the practice squad Cobi Hamilton, to the tune of 23 yards. The touchdown capped a 10 play drive that went 97 yards, all through the air. This would cut into the lead, 23-15.
This would unfortunately be as close as they would come, as Jay Ajayi would gash the defense for one last 62 yard touchdown. Splash plays absolutely killed this team all afternoon long.
The Steelers would drop the game 30-15 against the Miami Dolphins. Ben and company looked off all afternoon, which could have had something to do with Ben’s tweaked left knee. Nevertheless, the offence sputtered almost every possession, whereas the Miami offence took advantage of a depleted Steelers defense. Time of possession was a devastating issue all game long, as the Steelers’ defense had no answers for the Miami offence- there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.