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Print

What went right, wrong vs. Miami

Posted Dec 8, 2013

WHAT WENT RIGHT
* Two things that Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill does often is get sacked and throw interceptions. On second down during Miami’s opening possession, Tannehill threw a short pass toward TE Dion Sims, only to have Troy Polamalu cut in front of the receiver but drop the interception. On the next play, Cam Heyward sacked Tannehill to force a punt.

* On a third-and-6 at the Miami 20-yard line midway through the first quarter, a quick pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Le’Veon Bell in the right flat turned into a 9-yard gain and a first down with the help of a nice block by Matt Spaeth on Reshad Jones.

* On the ensuing third-down situation – third-and-4 from the Miami 5-yard line, Ben Roethlisberger passed Terry Bradshaw as the all-time leader in touchdown passes during the regular season, 213-212. The pass went to Emmanuel Sanders and gave the Steelers a 7-0 lead.

* Even the easy ones count. When Ryan Tannehill dropped a shotgun snap and had to dive on the ball, Jason Worilds was there to touch him down. The play became a sack, Worilds’ seventh of the season.

* The Steelers were down, 17-7, following Daniel Thomas’ touchdown run, and their offense was facing a third-and-1 at their own 26-yard line. Into the game came short-yardage running back Jonathan Dwyer, but the Steelers attacked through the air. Ben Roethlisberger found a wide-open Heath Miller down the left seam for a 31-yard gain.


* On the play following the third-down conversion to Miller, Roethlisberger found Antonio Brown on a short crossing route that became a 43-yard touchdown after a nifty run and some solid downfield blocking. The touchdown cut the Miami lead to 17-14.

* On the second play following the kickoff, Troy Polamalu made up for dropping an interception in the first quarter by stepping in front of Brian Hartline and returning the ball 19 yards for the touchdown that gave the Steelers a 21-17 lead.
* It was a big play by the defense, and it was another sack for Jason Worilds. On a third-and-3 from the Miami 44-yard line with 12:38 left in the fourth quarter, Worilds broke through for his second sack of the game, and the Dolphins were forced to punt.

WHAT WENT WRONG
* After a 5-yard gain on the game’s opening play, the Steelers attempted to go no-huddle only to have DT Paul Solaia push C Cody Wallace backward to the point he bumped Ben Roethlisberger. The resulting sack was just the second of Roethlisberger dating back to the game against Detroit on Nov. 17.

* The read-option is a popular play in college football, not so much in the NFL. But it worked perfectly for the Dolphins late in the first quarter of what was a 7-0 game at the time. QB Ryan Tannehill took the snap and put the ball into the belly of RB Lamar Miller. As OLB Jarvis Jones closed on the play and his Miller, Tannehill pulled the ball out and got around the left end for 48 yards to the Pittsburgh 13-yard line. A 30-yard field goal by Caleb Sturgis cut the Steelers lead to 7-3.

* Ben Roethlisberger was sacked for a second time, early in the second quarter, and it also ended his streak of turnover-free play. DE Cameron Wake recorded the sack/strip, and DT Randy Starks recovered at the Pittsburgh 32-yard line.

* The sequence began with a 4-yard pass to Jerricho Cotchery on a third-and-7, and then the Steelers again failed in that ploy to try to draw the defense offside on a fourth-and-short. The ensuing penalty for delay of game put the ball at the Pittsburgh 42-yard line and brought out the punt team. Mat McBriar’s punt was blocked by Miami safety Jimmy Wilson, and the Dolphins took over at the Pittsburgh 42-yard line.

* Ryan Clark was victimized by an overreaction by line judge Adrian Hill on the possession that ended with Daniel Thomas’ touchdown run that upped the Miami lead to 17-7. On a 4-yard pass that would have moved the ball to the Pittsburgh 4-yard line, Clark was flagged for a hit on a defenseless player that in truth was a shoulder into the midsection in an effort to dislodge the ball. The 4-yard penalty put the ball at the 4-yard line, and Thomas scored on the next play.

* Is that Charles Clay or some football reincarnation of Kellen Winslow Sr.? It was a third-and-4 at the Miami 35-yard line in the third quarter of a game in which the Steelers held a 21-17 lead. Clay, listed as a tight end, beat Cortez Allen deep down the right sideline and hauled in a 40-yard pass for a first down that was the springboard for the touchdown that restored Miami’s lead to 24-21.

* The offensive line acquitted itself fairly well when the injuries it had to overcome and the quality of the opposition are considered. But on a possession midway through the fourth quarter, at a time when the Steelers had a lead and were trying to drain the clock, two penalties on the unit were very costly. The first was an illegal procedure penalty on Cody Wallace for what was described as an illegal snap. That set up a second-and-14, a play on which Roethlisberger completed one of those quick-inside-screen passes, which gained 12 yards. But that was nullified when Ramon Foster was flagged for being illegally downfield. The Steelers ended up punting with 4:39 left.

* Bad tackling was a major factor in a play that can be called the turning point in the game. A simple zone-scheme running play turned into a 55-yard gain down to the Pittsburgh 16-yard line when Daniel Thomas simply was not tackled.

* Maybe it ends up going down as the No. 2 miracle play in franchise history – behind the Immaculate Reception – but the Steelers were denied in an attempt to steal a victory when Antonio Brown was ruled to have stepped out of bounds at the Miami 12-yard line following a completion and a bunch of laterals that ended up gaining 60 yards.

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