It wasn’t quite a tale of two halves for the Pittsburgh Steelers. More like a tale of two segments, with the second being much longer. The Steelers got off to an awful start in last night’s game against the Miami Dolphins in the first quarter, but they were able to close ranks and shut them out the rest of the way, scoring 27 unanswered to win by 13.
And so the theme of the day proved to be resilience, perseverance, subjects that a number of players would go on to talk about after the game. Despite being down big early—the Steelers had not won a game after trailing by 14 points in the first quarter in decades—they stayed the course, and they righted themselves right into a victory.
“It wasn’t the fluid start that we were looking for, but you don’t always get what you want”, head coach Mike Tomlin said of the matter after the game. “I like the mettle that the guys showed. They didn’t blink. In all three phases they complemented one another, and we were able to persevere”.
In spite of the fact that he threw an interception on his first pass attempt since suffering a concussion three weeks ago, and then nearly threw another a few throws later, Mason Rudolph never blinked. He kept attacking down the field, and once those passes started connecting, they were able to take over.
And once they seized the lead, the defense, and the pass rush, was able to take over across the way. T.J. Watt in particular had a big game, himself, Bud Dupree, and Cameron Heyward registering the defense’s four sacks on the night.
While the steadiness of the offensive line set the table, it was ultimately the gradual finding of footing for Rudolph that was the biggest swing in the game. He was making throws in the third quarter that he was off the mark on in the first. There was some knocking of the rust off after having not played for so long.
“Not only for him, but for all of us”, Tomlin allowed. “There’s always that angst when you’re coming off of a bye week when you’re warming up to the action. I thought we could’ve started faster. Not only with him, but all of us. I’d like to see our defense keep them out of the end zone when we turn the ball over, for instance. That’s an area of complementary ball that we’ve been focused on. That was a failure. So we’ve all got to start faster”.
There weren’t many on either side of the ball who looked particularly good in the early portions of that game, up until perhaps Minkah Fitzpatrick’s interception, which started to kick things into gear. They settled in after that, and kept the pressure on until the end.