The Dolphins’ 16-10 win over the Steelers on Sunday night was a game the Dolphins would surely be proud of in 1972. The members of the 72 Dolphins – who were honored in the first half – were known for their “no-name” defense – in a defensive battle that saw Dolphins’ current defense halted in two crucial stops late to keep Miami’s fourth win this season.
The offensively charged first half gave way to a second half full of defensive fuel. Miami and Pittsburgh traded kicks for the majority of the inning until the Steelers directed two late charges to win the match. Pittsburgh was pushed back both times, with Noah Egbenogen taking the win with Kenny Pickett’s end zone interception with 25 seconds left. Javon Holland ended his previous Pittsburgh lead when he stomped past Deontay Johnson’s Pickett Pass, deep in the Dolphin District.
Miami received enough insult from Tua Tagoviloa, who played for the first time after missing the last two games. The Dolphins quarterback threw for 261 yards that included an 8-yard throw to Raheem Mostert on his first drive of the game. Miami led 13-0 after the first quarter before the Pittsburgh attack woke up with a pair of second-quarter points. Beckett cut Pittsburgh’s deficit to three points after hitting fellow rookie George Pickens for 7 yards with 1:50 left until the break. Dolphins managed to score a quick field goal before the break, a result that will ultimately pay huge dividends during the closing stages of Sunday night’s game.
Here’s a closer look at what happened from South Beach.
Why did the dolphins win?
Miami came up with decisive plays in defense, especially in the last two innings of the Steelers. Despite playing without several key players, Dolphins’ defense forced three turnovers while keeping Pittsburgh with a 4 of 14 efficiency in third. Among the top defenders in Miami was linebacker Jaylan Phillips, who scored eight tackles and 1.5 sacks.
The dolphin attack contributed to the cause by taking advantage of the early success of the defense. They also capitalized on their last scoring opportunity in the first half, as Tagovailoa completed 32 yards for Trent Sherfield 21 yards off Terrick Hill to net Jason Sanders’ 47-yard goal.
Miami’s defensive performance saved Mike McDaniel from criticism after the Dolphins coach opted to go fourth and third in the Steelers’ 14-yard streak with 8:43 left in the third quarter. McDaniel invited running to Chase Edmonds that was stuffed by Larry Ogongobe.
Why did the Steelers lose?
For the second game in a row, the Steelers scored 10 points in the first half before failing to score a point in the second half with Beckett under center. As he continues to show promise, the attack of Beckett and the Steelers continues to endure dry spells. Beckett also continues to throw objections at an alarming level; He now has seven in four games.
Conversely, the Steelers’ defense failed to make a major turnover even though Tagoviloa threw four passes in and out of the hands of the Pittsburgh defensive tackle. Two of those passes would have taken field goals off the board if the Steelers had been able to get the game off. The missed fourth chance, which came when Levi Wallace broke Tagovailoa’s third pass down by 2:41 from the left, would have given the Steelers the ball around the 30-yard line. Instead, Pittsburgh got the ball on the 13-yard line after the Dolphins kick.
Transformations marred the good things Beckett did in what was just his third NFL start. The first-round pick went to 32 of 44 with 257 yards while completing passes for eight different teammates. He threw eight finishes to Pat Freiermuth and six to Pickens, who added to his bullish highlight reel with his second-quarter touchdown.
It looks like the Steelers are about to take the lead after moving from their 18-yard streak to the Dolphins’ 15-yard streak late in the fourth quarter. But two offensive penalties made up a third and 16 penalty on Dolphins’ 30th team. Instead of playing it safe and playing for a potential goal opportunity, Beckett threw sticks and was intercepted by Holland, who made the first two from Miami. Big stop late in the game.
While Beckett could have made a safer throw, Pittsburgh’s kicks in the next two games put him in a tight spot.
play the game
This was an easy call, as Igbinoghene’s pick in the Steelers’ last offensive play kept the Dolphins winning while picking up Miami’s three-game losing streak. The choice, which Beckett said was a misunderstanding between him and Johnson, came after Beckett had the chance to catch his first leg while stopping the clock.
“There were some plays where I could kind of see at first and I tried to get first. I came to the sidelines after some of those plays…those things that happen are things I shouldn’t do. I’m going back to the drawing board and re-evaluating some These things. But it was a huge victory for the team tonight.” – Tagovailoa told NBC Sports after the match when discussing some of his decisions not to slip into the run
“The dolphins caught their attack, we didn’t catch up, and that’s probably the difference in the game… We didn’t give our attack short leeway by producing a spin or two, and they did.” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin talks about Dolphins’ ability to turn heads, his defense’s inability to do the same, and the impact that has on the outcome
Other nuggets from Sunday night
- Flores and Fitzpatrick return to Miami
Brian Flores and Minka Fitzpatrick are back in Miami for the first time since their dolphin split. Flores is back after an unofficial exit after leading the Dolphins to consecutive winning seasons. Fitzpatrick returned to Pittsburgh after only two games in his second season. Fitzpatrick delivered several big hits against his former teammates while leading the Steelers defense that forced six balls and slipped in the second half.
The Dolphins celebrated their golden anniversary of the perfect Miami season. Hall of Famers Larry Csonka, Larry Little, Bob Griese and Paul Warfield have Dolphins captains tossed coins. The members of Team 72 enjoyed the excitement of a luxury suite before being honored at halftime.
Miami also celebrated Team 72 by changing end zones while wearing special throwback jerseys.
The Steelers will head to Philadelphia to face the undefeated Eagles. Pittsburgh has not won Philadelphia since 1965. They have lost their last nine games in “Brotherly Love City,” with the last loss occurring in 2016. What makes the Steelers’ job even more difficult is the fact that the Eagles are knocking them out. Goodbye week.
Miami begins its two-game wilderness journey with a visit to Motor City to face the lions. Detroit dropped to 1-5 after Sunday’s 24-6 loss to the Cowboys. The bright spot for the Lions so far has been playing debutante Aiden Hutchinson, who had 1.5 sacks in Sunday’s loss.
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