Steelers Recap: Week 6 vs. Miami Dolphins
The Steelers took a trip to Miami for a matchup against the Dolphins, but instead found themselves swimming with the sharks.
The Dolphins were the better team in every phase of the game on way to its 30-15 victory.
“We didn’t perform well enough to win today,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said after the game.
After Miami opened the scoring with a field goal on its first drive of the game, a failed onsides kick attempt seemingly forfeited any momentum from the previous score. The Steelers needed only three plays on their ensuing possession to find the endzone. Darrius Heyward-Bey took an end-around handoff 60 yards for the go-ahead score—using his speed to outlast the Miami defense. Pittsburgh seemed to have grabbed control of the game at that point.
However, its next three drives of the first half totaled only 13 plays that included two punts and an interception. Miami added two field goals and a touchdown to take a 16-8 lead at halftime.
The Steelers looked to change the scope of the game in the second half when they blocked a field goal attempt by the Dolphins, but an ensuing interception—Roethlisberger’s second of the game—stood in the way. The Dolphins would capitalize with a score, and Pittsburgh never rebounded.
Pittsburgh struggled against the run: Though not as strong as it once was, the Steelers pride themselves on being a stout defense against the rush. To say they struggled against Miami is an understatement. Jay Ajayi rushed for 204 yards and two touchdowns. Damien Williams also added a rushing touchdown. The Steelers had only allowed three rushing touchdowns all seasons, and hadn’t allowed 100 yards to a single back through five games.
Missed opportunities: While the Steelers were struggling for the majority of the day to get the defense off the field, several possessions for Miami ended in field goals, a relative win for the defense. However, two missed field goals (one block) by the Dolphins left the door open for the Steelers to capitalize. The Steelers scored late in the game to pull within one touchdown, but failed to recover the ensuing onsides kick, and surrendered a 62-yard touchdown run by Ajayi on the very next play.
Injuries catching up to Steelers: It sounds like a broken record at this point, but the Tomlin-praised ‘next man up’ attitude has continued to work for the Steelers. But maybe it’s catching up with them. Case in point, the defensive line not having Cameron Heyward against the Dolphins was a significant factor in Pittsburgh’s pass rush, or lack thereof. Daniel McCullers was unable provide the much-needed pressure, and missed a key sack that would have forced a Miami punt. Instead, a 53-yard pass play set the Dolphins up with first-and-goal from the 1-yard line. Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill was sacked seven times against Tennessee. The Steelers never got him down.
Notes: Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger finished the game despite his knee injury. He was scheduled to have surgery for a meniscus tear. PFS will have an update on the timetable of his injury when made available.
Chris Galiszewski is the lead writer for the Pittsburgh Steelers at PFS. Follow him on twitter @cgaliszewski