Miami Dolphins

Quarter-by-quarter: Dolphins at Steelers

 

dneal@miamiherald.com

First quarter

•  Impact player: Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell ran for 36 yards on nine carries and caught two passes for 14 yards, including a third down conversion before the Steelers’ touchdown.

•  Highlights: Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill kept the ball on a read option and raced 48 yards to set up kicker Caleb Sturgis’ 30-yard field goal. Defensive tackle Paul Soliai barged through the Pittsburgh line for a 12-yard sack.

•  Lowlights: It looked like easy sledding for the Steelers on their first possession, 74-yard touchdown drive. Once again, the Dolphins offense couldn’t finish a drive in the end zone once in the red zone.

Second quarter

•  Impact player: Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake’s fumble-causing sack of Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger put the Dolphins only 31 yards from their first touchdown of the game.

•  Highlights: Wake caused a sack-fumble that was recovered by Randy Starks. The defense allowed only one first down. Dolphins tight end Charles Clay got the first of his two touchdowns on a wide open 6-yarder with 25 percent of the Pittsburgh defense following Mike Wallace. Jimmy Wilson blocked a punt.

•  Lowlights: Poor clock management before the blocked punt and lousy strategy — a 52-yard field goal toward that end of Heinz Field is like playing Fantasy 5 — cost the Dolphins a better shot at an end of half score. And came one tackle from costing them a touchdown.

Third quarter

•  Impact player:Tannehill directed two touchdown drives, threw a touchdown pass and an interception that was run back for a touchdown.

•  Highlights: Brian Hartline stretched for the catch and dragged his toes beautifully for a 4-yard touchdown (upon further review). The half-opening 80-yard touchdown drive seemed to set a tone. The drive to Hartline’s touchdown showed resiliency after a calamitous pair of possessions.

•  Lowlights: A stop and a score from starting a rout, the defense allowed a four-play drive that ended with a 31-yard pass and a 43-yard touchdown pass that reenergized the stadium and Steelers. Troy Polamalu followed with an interception return for touchdown to put Pittsburgh up.

Fourth quarter

•  Impact player: Daniel Thomas got around the corner as he’s not supposed to be able to do for a 55-yard run that put the Dolphins on the Steelers 16 yard line. The winning touchdown was scored two plays later.

•  Highlights: Thomas’ run. Two plays later, Clay shook off Polamalu to convert a third down and did it again to get into the end zone from 12 yards away. Olivier Vernon dragged down Ben Roethlisberger a yard short of a first down on Big Ben’s fourth-and-10 scramble.

•  Lowlights: The 16-yard touchdown pass to Jerrico Cotchery on the first play of the quarter put the Steelers up 28-24. The offense did little – until it had to with 4:31 left.

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