Dolphins notebook

Quiet return to Pittsburgh for Miami Dolphins’ Mike Wallace

 

abeasley@miamiherald.com

Mike Wallace didn't have one of his better statistical games in his return to Western Pennsylvania.

He'll have to settle for essentially ending his former team's season.

Wallace had just two catches for 19 yards in the Dolphins’ 34-28 victory over the Steelers, but said he was able to leave town happy because his team got the win. With the loss, the Steelers fell to 5-8 and are all but eliminated from postseason consideration.

“Somebody had to be out,” Wallace said. “Better them than us.”

Wallace, who played his first four seasons with the Steelers, was named one of the team's three captains before the game.

He acknowledged playing at Heinz Field as a visitor was a little strange — particularly using the smaller locker room.

“Everything in life happens for a reason,” Wallace said. “I'm happy with where I'm at. Those guys are having great success as a unit over there. They're happy, obviously, with where they're at. There's success on both sides.”

Wallace added: “Those are my brothers for life. I went through a lot of battles with those guys. All love toward those guys.”

Patterson plays

Cornerback Dimitri Patterson was active and played for the first time in three weeks Sunday. He has been plagued by a pesky groin injury all season and the Dolphins made sure to ease him back slowly.

Nolan Carroll got the start over Patterson and played well. He had a huge pass break-up on third down of the Steelers' penultimate drive and finished with two tackles.

Change of guard

Sam Brenner lined up at left guard on the Dolphins’ opening drive of the second half instead of starter Nate Garner, but it had nothing to do with injury.

Instead, it was part of the Dolphins' plan to rotate the two players throughout the game. The Dolphins went on to score on that drive on a four-yard run by Daniel Thomas.

Stanford injured

Key special teams contributor R.J. Stanford broke his lower leg in the first half of Sunday’s game. The normal recovery time for such an injury is four to six weeks, although Stanford could conceivably return if the Dolphins go deep into the playoffs — assuming they don't put him on injured reserve.

Stanford, who left the Dolphins’ locker room on crutches and his foot in a walking boot, had been dealing with a stress fracture for some time. However, he has not been listed on the team's injury report.

This and that

• Dolphins inactives: QB Pat Devlin, CB Jamar Taylor, CB Will Davis, S D.J. Campbell, OG Danny Watkins, OG David Arkin, DT A.J. Francis.

•  Joe Philbin remained perfect on challenges this year when he successfully got an incomplete pass call reversed into a Brian Hartline touchdown.

•  Charles Clay’s two receiving touchdowns were a career high.

• The temperature at kickoff was 25 degrees, making it the ninth-coldest game in the Dolphins’ 48-year history.

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