Jeff Reed kicked an 18-yard field goal with 2:26 remaining, and the Steelers' defense forced an interception on the Dolphins' fourth play of the ensuing possession, a fourth-and-6 pass which replay showed was actually a sack/forced fumble by rookie Jason Worilds. As it was, James Harrison will get credit for an interception that he had trapped off the ground.
Replay wasn't used for that final play, and was useless on the game's most controversial play.
On the third-down play before Reed's game-winning kick, Ben Roethlisberger scored an apparent touchdown that was overruled when replay revealed he had fumbled a half-yard before the goal line. But replay could not show which team recovered the fumble, so the Steelers were given the ball back at the half-yard line and Reed kicked his third field goal of the game.
The Steelers fell behind 6-0 after a pair of early fumbles, but rallied for a 17-9 lead on Roethlisberger's 53-yard bomb to Mike Wallace in the second quarter.
The Dolphins rallied with a Chad Henne 26-yard touchdown pass to Davone Bess and two more field goals by Dan Carpenter, who kicked five in the game. Carpenter's last kick, from 40 yards, gave the Dolphins a 22-20 lead with 5:17 left.
It was a physical contest in which the Steelers rushed for only 58 yards and held the Dolphins to 64 yards rushing.
Roethlisberger, who fumbled three times, completed 19 of 27 passes for 302 yards and touchdown passes to Wallace and Hines Ward.
The Steelers suffered a big loss when Aaron Smith tore his left triceps muscle in the third quarter. The prognosis did not sound positive.
"We lost some men through the course of the day," said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. "LaMarr Woodley has a hamstring; we don't know the extent of that from a long-term standpoint. Flozell Adams has a left ankle (injury); same thing, although I think it's a low ankle, so there's a little optimism there. Aaron Smith looks like he has a torn triceps, of course that is not good, but such is life in the National Football League. We'll adapt."