Cheat Sheet: Steelers at Dolphins


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The Steelers are on the road as they face the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.
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These teams have only met on 11 occasions. Pittsburgh leads the series 9-2, including five victories in their most recent six matchups. Tampa Bay got a victory against the Steelers in 2014 and 1998 and Pittsburgh won the first four matchups, including a 42-0 whitewash in 1976, the Buccaneers' first year in the NFL. Tampa Bay went 0-14 in 1976. The most recent meeting between these two teams occurred in Tampa Bay in 2018, with the Steelers getting a 30-27 win.


  • The Dolphins lost last week to Minnesota but produced 224 more yards from scrimmage. Miami averaged 6.3 yards per play compared to 4.7 by the Vikings. The Dolphins held the football for well over 35 minutes. But Miami was minus-3 in turnover differential and committed 10 penalties for 97 yards. The Dolphins are now in the midst of a three-game losing streak after starting the season with three-straight wins.
  • The Dolphins are near the top of the league in yards per play on offense at 6.1 yards. The Steelers offense averages 4.8 yards per snap. The Steelers allowed just 4.5 yards per play last week.
  • Turnovers have been a huge problem for the Dolphins. They currently sit at minus-5 compared to plus-1 for the Steelers. Pittsburgh's defense has taken the football away 10 times compared to just four for the Dolphins. Only the Raiders and Commanders have fewer takeaways. Both offenses have turned the ball over nine times. Miami's three quarterbacks have only thrown just one total interception, however.
  • Miami is possessing the football for 29:55 per game. Pittsburgh is now up to 28:09 after a slow start.
  • The Dolphins have been penalized 43 times this year. Their opponents have only been flagged on 24 occasions. Over the last two weeks, Miami has committed 21 penalties for 199 yards.
  • There are eight offenses that are producing under four yards per rush. That includes the Steelers (3.6) and the Dolphins (3.9). There are a dozen defenses allowing 4.2 yards per rushing attempt or less. That also includes Pittsburgh (4.1) and Miami (4.2).
  • The Dolphins blitz 29.3 percent of the time. Pittsburgh blitzes 24.5 percent of the time, which is about league average after blitzing Tom Brady just once in Week 6. And both teams have a dozen sacks.
  • Pittsburgh's defense is fifth-best in the NFL on first downs.
  • The Dolphins average starting field position is at their own 24.7-yard line. Only the Giants and Commanders start their offensive drives with worse field position.


  • The Steelers have an average depth of passing target 8.9 yards downfield. The only teams targeting their receivers further downfield are the Saints, Falcons, Bears and Ravens.
  • Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett each average 6.2 yards per attempt. Trubisky has thrown 78 passes compared to 55 from Pickett. Pickett's average depth of target is 7.9 yards downfield compared to 10.2 by Trubisky this year.
  • In terms of yards created per route run, here is the current pecking order with the Steelers' top three wide outs: George Pickens 1.35, Deontae Johnson 1.31, and Chase Claypool 1.02.
  • Johnson has five or more catches in every game this year except for one. He is eighth among all wide receivers in targets this year, but 32nd in receiving yards.
  • With Pat Freiermuth inactive last week, the Steelers used Zach Gentry on 42 snaps and Connor Heyward for 30 offensive plays.
  • Freiermuth has been targeted on 25.2 percent of his routes run. Only Mark Andrews has a higher target percentage than Freiermuth among NFL tight ends. Miami allows a league-high 81.8 percent catch rate to opposing tight ends.
  • Miami gives up 7.9 yards per pass attempt. Only the Lions, Seahawks, Vikings, and Titans are worse.
  • In terms of total yards after the catch this year, Pittsburgh sits at 28th in the league.
  • Last week, Najee Harris out snapped Jaylen Warren 44-20. However, on 34 Steelers' dropbacks, Harris only ran a route on 17 plays. Warren ran a pass route on 12 instances against the Buccaneers.
  • Eight different Dolphins have recorded a sack this year, but no one on the team has more than two. If you look at quarterback knockdowns, Miami's defense is only better than the Rams and Bears.
  • Christian Wilkins is playing over 94 percent of the snaps for the Dolphins this year. That is an extremely high number for any defensive tackle. He has not recorded a sack.
  • Collectively, the Steelers' wide receivers have 88 rushing yards.
  • Only 29.8 percent of the rushing attempts against Miami this year have gained five or more yards. That is second-best in the league.
  • The Dolphins are allowing 8.8 points in the fourth quarter of games. Only four teams are worse.


  • Miami's offense is 12th in EPA per play. The Dolphins are ninth in EPA per dropback, but 23rd in rushing EPA.
  • Between Skylar Thompson and Teddy Bridgewater, the Dolphins threw for 385 yards last week. Of Miami's 385 passing yards last week, 306 of it went to Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. They were targeted 25 times combined. Hill has at least a dozen targets in four of his six games in a Dolphins uniform. Last week was Hill's 8th career game with at least 10 receptions and 150 yards. That is the most for a player in his first seven season, and he has gotten to at least 150 receiving yards in half of his games played for the Dolphins.
  • Hill's 701 receiving yards leads the league. Waddle isn't far behind with 533, which is fifth-most in the NFL. Hill has a league-leading 287 yards on passes 20 or more yards downfield. At his current pace, Hill would finish the season with 1,986 receiving yards.
  • Of all the wide receivers in the league with at least 10 receptions thus far, Hill's 3.61 yards per route run is the best. Stefon Diggs is a distant second at 2.85. Waddle is also extremely impressive, creating 2.69 yards every time he goes out on a route.
  • Since 2013, there have been 830 instances of a player running at least 150 routes through the first six weeks of the season. Only 11 of the 830 receivers have averaged at least three yards per route run and none have averaged more than Hill's 3.61, which is double league average during that time frame.
  • Miami's passing game leads the NFL with seven completions of 40-plus yards.
  • It seems very likely that Tua Tagovailoa will return to the field against the Steelers. He has played about half the snaps as most starting quarterbacks in the league, but he still ranks second in quarterback EPA, just ahead of Patrick Mahomes and just behind Josh Allen. Allen, Tagovailoa and Mahomes are well above any other quarterback in the NFL in EPA right now. If you prefer QBR, Tagovailoa's score of 80 is ahead of every quarterback in the league, including Allen (75.5) and Mahomes (74.1) who rank second and third respectively.
  • The Steelers have allowed 7.5 yards per pass attempt.
  • Pittsburgh has only allowed one touchdown this year to opposing tight ends.
  • The Buccaneers rushed for just 75 yards in Pittsburgh last week.
  • Only the Rams and Buccaneers are producing fewer rushing yards per game than Miami.
  • Raheem Mostert is dominating the Dolphins backfield. His 309 rushing yards are 220 more than Chase Edmonds. No other running back even has 10 rushing yards through six games.
  • Miami is 31st in the NFL in rush attempts per game. And only 29.8 percent of their rushing attempts have gained at least five yards. That also is 31st in the league.
  • Pittsburgh's opponents are handing the ball to their running backs 25 times per game. That is the third-highest average in the league.
  • Miami only converted four of 14 third down attempts in Week 6. That is exactly what Pittsburgh held the Buccaneers to last week.
  • Alex Highsmith, the current NFL sack leader, has more than half of the Steelers dozen sacks. Cameron Heyward is the only other Steelers defender with more than one sack. The majority of Highsmith's sacks (4.5) have come on the road. The Dolphins quarterbacks were sacked six times against Minnesota.
  • On third and fourth downs, Myles Jack has only been on the field 50 percent of the time. On the other hand, Robert Spillane has been on the field for 87.5 percent of these situations.
  • The Dolphins are averaging just 2.2 points scored in the first quarter of games. But they put up 8 points on average in the fourth quarter.
  • The Steelers opponents begin their drives on their own 31.3-yard line.
  • Miami has trailed on the scoreboard for 71 percent of its offensive snaps. That is the third-highest percentage in the league.
  • When Tagovailoa is Miami's quarterback this year, the Dolphins have converted 47.1 percent of their third down attempts. When he isn't on the field, Miami converts just 29.4 percent of their third down tries.


  • The Dolphins punt returners are averaging just 2.2 yards per return on six attempts with 10 fair catches. Jevon Holland, Hill and Waddle have all been used to field punts this year. 
  • Jason Sanders has already missed three field goal attempts this year as well as an extra point.


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December 31st, 1972: Dolphins 21, Steelers 17, Three Rivers Stadium

This was only the second meeting in NFL history between these storied franchises that had more than their share of dominant moments in the 1970s. The upstart Steelers had just defeated Oakland in the Immaculate Reception game and had a lot of momentum for this home contest. However, Miami had yet to lose a single game and went on to win Super Bowl VII, making the Dolphins the only perfect team in NFL history. Those are two of the most historic events in the history of the National Football League. Earl Morrall started this game for the Dolphins, but Don Shula pulled him in favor of Bob Griese at halftime. Griese only threw five passes but led his team to victory, nonetheless. These teams combined to throw for just 243 yards. The first touchdown of the game was scored by offensive lineman Gerry Mullins, who fell on a fumble in the end zone for the score.


  • Diontae Johnson leads the Steelers with 33 receptions & 295 rec yds in 2022 - Johnson has 10+ targets in 4 games in 2022 (T-most such games in NFL)
  • Chase Claypool had a season-high in rec, rec yards & rec TD in Week 6 vs TB - Claypool: 7 receptions, 96 rec yards, rec TD in Week 6 - Most receiving yards in a game since Week 5, 2021 vs DEN (130 yds) - Claypool has 146 rec yds the last 2 weeks (Had 79 rec yds Weeks 1-4)
  • Najee Harris leads the Steelers with 83 carries and 264 rush yards (1 rush TD) - Harris has 3.2 yds/carry in 2022 (Lowest among RBs with 60+ carries) - Harris has fewer than 75 rush yards in all 6 games this season
  • Alex Highsmith leads PIT with 6.5 sacks, 6 TFL and 9 QB hits in 2022 - 6.5 sacks are the most in the NFL - Highsmith joins Watt (2021), LaMarr Woodley (2008) & James Harrison (2008) as the only PIT players with 6.5+ sacks in the first 6 games of a season since individual sacks were first officially tracked in 1982 - 2008 Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII over ARI
  • The Steelers lead the NFL with a 0-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio from such looks
  • Cameron Sutton and Levi Wallace both have a 26.7 pct ballhawk rate against passes of 10+ air yards this season, tied for 5th among defenders with at least 15 such targets as nearest defender


  • Dolphins LT Greg Little vs. Steelers Edge Alex Highsmith - Little filled in at left tackle for Terron Armstead last week and had a very rough go of it. Armstead, who Miami gave big money to this offseason, could return from his toe injury this week, but the Dolphins offensive line is in flux right now with a lot of moving parts. Meanwhile, Highsmith is leading the NFL in sacks and is playing at a very high level. Unlike in most cases, Highsmith won't be coming from the quarterback's blind side assuming Tagovailoa gets the start. He could be set up for another big game, nonetheless.
  • Steelers QB Kenny Pickett vs. Dolphins S Jevon Holland - Holland is just someone to worry about. Since he entered the league last year, Holland has been a big-time impact player. His coverage is superb, whether Holland is playing man or zone. He is an excellent tackler and isn't bashful about throwing his body around near the line of scrimmage. Holland will match up with tight end Pat Freiermuth, play in the box or align deep downfield in single high or in a Cover-2 shell. He has great range and playmaking ability from a single-high alignment, which is important for how much Miami blitzes. Holland is on a path to becoming one of the NFL's best safeties. He also has played the most snaps on Miami's defense this year.