Steelers score vs. Dolphins, takeaway: Defense is key to Miami’s win over Pittsburgh in Tua Tagovailoa return

The Dolphins’ 16-10 victory over the Steelers on Sunday night was a game the 1972 Dolphins could be proud of. Known for their “no-name” defense, the ’72 Dolphins — who were honored at halftime — were seen as a defensive battle that saw the current Dolphins defense make two key plays in the late game stop to keep Miami’s fourth win of the season.

An aggressive first half gave way to a defensive second half. Miami and Pittsburgh traded punts for much of the half until the Steelers were late twice to win the game. Pittsburgh was reversed both times, with Noah Igbinogny intercepting Kenny Pickett in the paint with 25 seconds left to seal the victory. Javon Holland ended Pittsburgh’s previous game when he stepped on a Pickett pass for Diontae Johnson deep inside Dolphins territory.

Miami got enough offense from Tua Tagovailoa, who played for the first time after missing the last two games. The Dolphins’ quarterback threw for 261 yards, including an 8-yard drive to Raheem Most on the first drive of the game. Miami led 13-0 after the first quarter before Pittsburgh’s offense woke up with two points in the second. Pickett cut Pittsburgh’s lead to 3 after hitting rookie George Pickens for a 7-yard run with 1:50 left of the half. The Dolphins managed to score a quick shot before halftime, a score that would ultimately pay off hugely in the closing stages of Sunday night’s game.

Here’s a closer look at what’s going on in South Beach.

why the dolphins won

Miami played a pivotal role on the defensive end, especially in the Steelers’ last two possessions. Despite playing without a few key players, the Dolphins’ defense forced Pittsburgh to three turnovers while holding Pittsburgh to 4-for-14 efficiency in Game 3. Linebacker Jaylan Phillips, Miami’s top defender, finished with eight tackles and 1.5 sacks.

The Dolphins’ offense contributed to the cause by capitalizing on the early success of its defense. They also took advantage of the last scoring opportunity of the first half as Tagovailoa finished 32 yards to Trent Sherfield 21 to Tyreek Hill to set up a 47-yard field goal by Jason Sanders.

Miami’s defensive performance saved Mike McDaniel from criticism after the Dolphins coach opted for fourth and third runs at the Steelers’ 14-yard line with 8:43 left in the third quarter.McDaniel launches attack on Chase Edmonds that’s stuffed Larry Ogunjobi.

Why the Steelers lost

For the second straight game, the Steelers scored 10 points in the first half but failed to score in the second half with Pickett at center. While he continued to show promise, Pickett and the Steelers’ offense continued to endure a dry spell. Pickett also continued to intercept at an astonishing level. He now has seven of four games.

Conversely, despite Tagovailoa throwing four passes that went in and out of the Pittsburgh defensive back, the Steelers defense had no major turnovers. If the Steelers can come up with this game, two of those passes will take the shot down. A fourth missed chance, when Levi Wallace broke Tagovaloa’s third pass with 2:41 left, would give the Steelers a win near their own 30-yard line ball. Pittsburgh threw the ball to their 13-yard line after the Dolphins’ punt.

The turnover ruined what Pickett had done in his third NFL start. The first-round pick went 32-for-44 for 257 yards while completing passes to eight different teammates. He threw 8 to Pat Freiermuth and 6 to Pickens, who rounded out his rookie set with a touchdown in the second quarter.

turning point

The Steelers appeared to be on the verge of taking the lead after moving from their own 18-yard line to the Dolphins’ 15-yard line late in the fourth quarter. But two offensive penalties set up a big late-game pause in the Dolphins’ 30 and 16.

While Pickett could have made safer throws, Pittsburgh’s penalties in the ensuing two games put him in a bind.


It was an easy decision, as Ibinogni’s selection on the Steelers’ final possession kept the Dolphins’ win while ending Miami’s three-game losing streak. Pickett said it was a miscommunication between him and Johnson, who passed up an opportunity to pick up the first ball with his leg while stopping the clock.

Available for quotation

“In some games, I could see the first drop and try to get the first down. After some games I came to the sideline… those things that happened were things I shouldn’t have done. I “I’ll go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate some of those things. But tonight was a great team win. ” — Tagovailoa discusses some of his decisions not to skate in postgame interview with NBC Sports

“The Dolphins got their ball and we didn’t get ours, and that’s probably the difference in the game. … We didn’t give our offense a short game by producing one or two turnovers. , they did.” – Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin on the Dolphins’ turnover-making ability, his defense’s inability to do it, and the impact it had on results

Other Nuggets on Sunday night

  • Flores, Fitzpatrick return to Miami

Brian Flores and Minka Fitzpatrick are back in Miami for the first time since their split with the Dolphins. Flores unceremoniously withdrew from his return after leading the Dolphins to consecutive winning seasons. Fitzpatrick returned after being traded to Pittsburgh just two games into his second season. Fitzpatrick delivered several big blows to his former teammates while leading the Steelers’ defense to force six punts and a turnover in the second half.

The Dolphins celebrate the golden anniversary of a perfect season in Miami. Hall of Famers Larry Kosonka, Larry Little, Bob Gris and Paul Warfield tossed coins on either side of the Dolphins captain. Members of the ’72 team enjoyed a performance in a luxury suite before halftime.

Miami further celebrated the ’72 team by changing the end zone with special retro jerseys.

what’s next

The Steelers will travel to Philadelphia to face the undefeated Eagles. Pittsburgh hasn’t won in Philadelphia since 1965. They have lost their last nine games in “City of Brotherly Love,” the last of which came in 2016.To make the Steelers’ task even harder, the Eagles are coming off their bye week

Miami started a two-game road trip to the Motor City to take on the Lions. Detroit trailed 1-5 after a 24-6 loss to the Cowboys on Sunday. One bright spot for the Lions so far has been the performance of rookie Aiden Hutchinson, who had 1.5 sacks in Sunday’s loss.

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