For the second straight week, the Steelers were stuck in a tight low-scoring battle. And once again they found a way to come out on top, triumphing 20-14 over the Miami Dolphins in a swampy Pro Player Stadium.
After an incredible defensive performance last week, Pittsburgh's rush defense was unusually porous, allowing 130 yards on the ground, including 101 to Ricky Williams. While Williams' 67 yard TD run may skew the stats a little, there were still far too many plays in which the Steelers were giving up 8 or 9 yard runs to Williams or Ronnie Brown.
Chad Henne added 177 yards through the air, but was also sacked 5 times. Lawrence Timmons was his main pursuer, as Timmons had 8 tackles (4 for loss), and 1 sack, while Brett Keisel also added 2 sacks.
Offensively, the Steelers were unable to get a strong performance from Mendenhall again, as he picked up only 48 yards on 16 carries. However, he ran very well in the second half and became more of an option, wheras in the opening half the run was very secondary for the Steelers.
Ben Roethlisberger threw for 235 yards in his second game back, with nine different receivers catching at least one pass, showing incredible balance in the passing game. Mike Wallace led the way with 5 catches for 64 yards, while Matt Spaeth made three catches for 29 yards and his first touchdown of the season.
One great sign for the Steelers was their red zone play, as they were 4-for-4 with 2 TDs and 2 FGs.
"Our defense hasn't really performed as consistently as we'd like. On average they look solid, but when the individual games are brought forth there have been a few really bad performances. We're gonna look to be more consistent on that end to limit the 3rd and short opportunities that teams have."
-- Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin
STAR OF THE GAME
After a less than stellar performance against the Browns, Big Ben looks like he has finally shaken off the rust with a solid performance against the Miami Dolphins. Roethlisberger threw for 235 yards on 22 of 34 passing for one score and no interceptions, totaling up for a 94.6 passer rating. He also ran for 36 yards on 4 carries, including a 1 yard touchdown on a quarterback sneak in the third quarter.
While there were still a few throws that he missed which normally you wouldn't see, Ben was much improved in terms of his decision making and reads, as he was much less inclined to just throw it up to the deep man, and instead utilized his checkdowns and short game very effectively.
With the Steelers clinging to a 10-7 lead in the third quarter, Keenan Lewis found the perfect time to make a big play. On a Jeremy Kapinos punt, Lewis flew down the field to where Miami returner Davone Bess was posted around his own 35. After Bess caught the ball, Lewis leveled him and knocked the ball free.
Keyaron Fox was the first on the scene, and eventually after the dust settled he ended up coming out of the pile with the football. Just a few plays later, the Steelers used a 23 yard swing pass to David Johnson to set up a 1 yard touchdown sneak from Roethlisberger, giving the Steelers a 17-7 lead and a stranglehold on the contest.
SCORING SUMMARY1 - PIT Suisham 25 FG
2 - PIT Spaeth 11 pass from Roethlisberger (XP)
2 - MIA Williams 66 run (XP)
3 - PIT Roethlisberger 1 run (XP)
4 - MIA Brown 2 run (XP)
4 - PIT Suisham 24 FG (XP)