1. Ben Roethlisberger is good at football: His first NFL start, back in 2004, came against the Dolphins in Miami and Roethlisberger has never lost to the Dolphins in Miami in four tries. And if you’re thinking 2004 is a long time ago and Roethlisberger is getting old, consider he leads the NFL in passing touchdowns (15), TD passes per pass attempt (7.8), three-touchdown games (three) and 300-yard games (three). Roethlisberger is having the best season of any quarterback the Dolphins have faced all season so far. So is this going to get ugly?
2. Is Mario Williams finally going to show up this week? The Dolphins expected Mario Williams to be a grand pass-rush threat, which he has been much of his career before last season. But he has so far disappointed. Indeed, he got called out by defensive coordinator Vance Joseph as needing to “play harder,” and he agreed with his coach’s assessment. So does he play harder? Working on Williams’ behalf is that Pittsburgh starting right tackle Marcus Gilbert has been ruled out. So Williams will face backup right tackle Chris Hubbard, a converted center/guard.
3. Are Miami’s corners up to the task of covering Antonio Brown? The Dolphins face the most explosive receiver they have seen since Cincinnati’s A.J. Green a couple of weeks ago. The team threw every exotic coverage it could at Green and he still lit up the Miami corners, particularly Tony Lippett. So how will Lippett and Byron Maxwell deal with the smaller but much faster and quicker Antonio Brown? Joseph has said the Dolphins will make stopping Brown the defense’s No. 1 priority. One assumes that means more than one player will be in Brown’s vicinity every play.
4. What news with the Miami offensive line this week? Dolphins coaches have joked that Sunday morning showers are out. That’s in obvious reference to the slip-and-fall shower accident left guard/tackle Laremy Tunsil had last Sunday morning, causing him to miss the game. Tunsil is back this week, as is left tackle Branden Albert. Indeed, this is scheduled to be the first regular-season game Miami will start its best five offensive linemen in a game.
5. About that Steelers rushing attack … : The Steelers long ago transformed from the physical, smash-mouth, run-first philosophy that dominated the franchise from the 1970s to the mid 2000s. They are a passing team now. But they happen to come in with one of the NFL’s most talented running backs in Le’Veon Bell. And they are no doubt aware the Dolphins are dead last in the NFL against the run after giving up 235 rushing yards to Tennessee last week. It suggests the Steelers might try to run the football. Just a guess.