Ben Roethlisberger — the quarterback who went to that other Miami, as in Ohio — is a giant in the NFL, not just in terms of his imposing size at 6-5, 240 pounds, but also because of his accomplishments, including two Super Bowl titles.
But the Dolphins just took him down.
In a stunning 30-15 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Dolphins sacked Roethlisberger twice, knocked him out of the game for one series, and held him to 189 yards passing, his lowest output since 2013. The Dolphins also intercepted him twice.
Even more impressive for the Dolphins was the fact that Roethlisberger had just 83 yards passing before padding his statistics in the final five minutes.
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Roethisberger credited Miami’s defense, which featured 1.5 sacks from Andre Branch, a half-sack by Cameron Wake and one interception each by Reshad Jones and Isa Abdul-Quddus.
“They outplayed us today,” Roethlisberger said. “They were the better team.”
The Steelers were leading 8-6 in the second quarter when the game changed. Roethlisberger tried to hit Sammie Coates in the right flat but was instead picked off by Jones, who made a brilliant diving catch.
Miami turned that turnover into another field goal and never trailed again.
Worse yet for Roethlisberger, he hurt his left knee on the play.
“It happened before I threw,” Roethlisberger said. “I felt something funny in my knee.
“I don’t know anything yet [about the severity of the injury]. We pray it’s nothing too serious. … We don’t make excuses. We’re all playing through pain.”
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was asked if Roethlisberger’s mobility was affected by the injury.
“I’m sure it was,” said Tomlin, who was in no mood to do much in the way of elaboration.
Asked the same question, Roethlisberger joked: “I’m not that mobile anymore anyway.”
Pittsburgh’s loss continues a disturbing trend for those in the Steelers camp. In the past three years, Roethlisberger is 14-3 at home but just 9-8 on the road.
Of course, Roethlisberger wasn’t the only Steelers player off his game on Sunday. Running back Le’veon Bell was held to 53 yards on 10 carries.
Wide receiver Antonio Brown, who started the day leading the NFL in receptions, was held to four catches for just 39 yards on eight targets.
“A lot of defenders,” Roethlisberger said when asked why Brown didn’t have a bigger day. “We’ve seen that a lot.”
Brown, clearly frustrated, said the Dolphins defense wasn’t anything surprising.
“Double coverage — that’s what I get,” Brown said. “You have to ask someone else. … I thought I had some room [to operate] but maybe not. We lost.”
The Dolphins also did a great job on Coates, who burned the New York Jets last week for 139 yards on six catches.
Coates, playing with a lacerated hand on Sunday, was targeted four times and held without a catch.
“It was just team ball,” Dolphins cornerback Byron Maxwell said. “We disguised our coverages.”
Jones, who started the week slowed by a groin injury, credited the Dolphins training staff to get him ready. And that effort paid off.
“It was a huge win,” Jones said. “[The Steelers] are a good football team, [but we gave] a total team effort.”