MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - Mike Tomlin didn't necessarily subscribe to the trap-game theory biting the Steelers.
But he didn't reject it, either.
"You can characterize it as such because we lost," Tomlin said of the 30-15 thumping the Steelers absorbed from the Dolphins on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium.
The Dolphins had been 1-4 prior to hosting the Steelers.
And the Steelers took the field at 4-1 and knowing they'd be hosting the Patriots this coming Sunday at Heinz Field.
Tomlin wasn't willing to attribute how the Steelers played against the Dolphins to that upcoming AFC showdown with New England or to overlooking Miami.
He just knew the Steelers hadn't played well enough to win.
"When I look at it, I don't look at who we play, or their record, things of that nature," Tomlin said. "I look at how we perform.
"We didn't tackle well enough to win. We didn't take care of the ball. Anybody in the National Football League is going to beat you when you have a combination of those two things."
The Steelers' tackling issues contributed to Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi's 25-carry, 204-yard, two-touchdown explosion.
Ajayi had 31 carries for 117 yards in Miami's first five games.
And Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was intercepted twice, the game's only two turnovers.
The Dolphins turned the turnovers into a combined 10 points.
Miami also wound up springing six plays that gained at least 30 yards (including a 22-yard reception by wide receiver Jarvis Landry that turned into a 37-yard pickup after an unnecessary roughness penalty against safety Mike Mitchell was added).
The Steelers had given up seven such plays in their first five games.
"That sounds like a perfect formula for getting your (butt) whupped," Mitchell said.
Guard Ramon Foster insisted the Steelers had been beaten, not trapped.
"They won today," he said of the Dolphins. "I won't take anything away from those guys. They played a very good game."
Added linebacker Vince Williams: "We don't look past anybody. Saying it's a trap game is taking away credit from the Miami Dolphins. Those guys played a great game. We're not going to say it's a trap game or we weren't up for it. We just didn't perform well."
PICK TWO:** Roethlisberger attributed his first interception to Dolphins safety Reshad Jones making a play and the second to a misread and throw into coverage.
"The first interception, the guy made a great play," Roethlisberger said. "The second one, they rolled down late. The safety (Isa Abdul-Quddus), I wasn't expecting him to be there, that's just on me."
ROAD WOES: The loss at Miami dropped the Steelers to 4-2 on the season, 3-0 at home and 1-2 away from Heinz Field.
Their troubles on the road aren't difficult for guard David DeCastro to grasp.
"Not really," he said. "Road games are tough."
That said, the Steelers' struggles away from home have to be addressed, DeCastro said.
"We gotta figure it out," he continued. "You gotta win on the road if you want to be successful in the NFL.
"Everyone's professionals, there are reasons it's tougher to win on the road than at home. But at the same time teams do it, the great teams do it. We want to be great, so we gotta figure out a way to do it."
GET WELL SOON: The Steelers recorded zero sacks, had two quarterback hits and allowed an average of 6.2 yards per carry in their first game without defensive end Cam Heyward.
"Cam's a tremendous player," Williams said. "Obviously, his presence was missed greatly up front. You can't replace a guy like Cam, as you guys can see."
Game action from Week 6 against the Miami Dolphins.
Added defensive end Stephon Tuitt: "Any time when your best players are off the field it's going to cause things to happen, teams are going to expose that. But it's the NFL, it's gotta be the next man up ready to play."
NOT HAVING A BALL: Wide receiver Antonio Brown was held to a season-low 39 yards receiving on four catches (he also had four catches for 39 yards on Sept. 18 against Cincinnati).
Brown was targeted eight times and lamented not being more involved.
"That's always my mentality, get the ball and make a difference," he said. "I just couldn't make much of a difference today. I didn't really get it in my hands a lot."
HE SAID IT: "I'm not really that mobile anymore, anyway. I just do the best I can." _ Roethlisberger on whether the knee injury that forced him out for a series and a play late in the second quarter affected his mobility upon his return in the second half.