Even if Antonio Brown hadn’t stepped out of bounds at the Dolphins’ 12-yard-line on Pittsburgh’s final play Sunday, defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said Monday the Steelers committed two penalties that should have nullified the play even if a miraculous touchdown had been scored.
“The offense was not set, so the play should never have started to begin with,” Coyle said. “One of their receivers was still moving to get aligned, and the play went off.”
Also, Coyle said Ben Roethlisberger threw an illegal forward pass to Brown, “but not by much. Looking at the television copy, it looked like the ball was a little bit ahead.”
If Brown caught the ball beyond the point that Roethlisberger threw it — and replays suggested he did — then that should have been a penalty, thus ending the game.
Coach Joe Philbin said the referees had the authority to review that aspect of the play, but did not because they had already determined Brown had stepped out of bounds.
Asked what he would advise his players to do differently in that situation, Coyle said: “You have to tackle the first guy that catches the ball. That usually helps. We have to tackle and get them on the ground sooner. We had chances. The footing didn’t help. But that’s not an excuse.
“At one point, it looked like we were kids in the school yard playing keep away. Guys were looking around looking at who the ball might be going to next as opposed to who actually had the ball. It looked like a rugby game. The only thing missing was the band.”
Coyle was referring to the 1982 California-Stanford game, which ended with Cal scoring a touchdown after five laterals. Stanford band members came on the field during the play.
• Coyle said “the question has come up about whether it’s best to take a time out in that situation.” The Dolphins chose not to because “it’s very shaky you can get a play off with the amount of time left on the clock.”
• One problem on that play from a Dolphins perspective is “we had guys still running to get back in position. There were two laterals on the play before, so guys were dispersed all over the field and not in a normal position.”
• What was Philbin thinking during that play? “I might have been saying a couple of Hail Mary’s, a couple of Our Father’s. I know my mother probably was, wherever she was.”
What was Coyle thinking? “I was trying to be calm. As the banter was going on, I was saying, ‘We got him! We got him! [Pause] ‘I don’t know if we got him!’
“When he accelerated, he was flying. It was definitely scary.”
This and that
• Running back Lamar Miller left Sunday's game with a concussion, but his agent Drew Rosenhaus said on his weekly WSVN-Fox segment that he expects Miller to play Sunday against New England.
• The Dolphins gave Sam Brenner 48 snaps and Nate Garner 16 at left guard Sunday, and Brenner “represented himself well,” Philbin said.
• Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman said Ryan Tannehill “has gone through a season where he has taken some shots [from sacks and hits] and here he is still standing at the end of the season. I’m not sure there are a lot of quarterbacks who have been able to endure like he has. He has a mindset that’s different from most people. He’s very resilient.”
• Sherman ended his news conference with an unsolicited tribute to Philbin, saying he “has done a phenomenal job to get us to this point” amid “distractions” from the team’s bullying scandal.
• The weekly Dion Jordan playing time update: He played only 25 of Miami’s 69 defensive snaps Sunday: five on running plays, 14 in which he rushed the quarterback (he was credited with one hurry) and six in coverage.
• Back from a groin injury, cornerback Dimitri Patterson played sparingly (12 snaps).