Team Notes

The grounds crew at Pro Player Stadium spread about 80 bags of sand on the baseball infield at halftime of Sunday night's game in an attempt to dry up what was a big mud puddle. They only made it worse, according to Hines Ward.

"They poured some more dirt out there and it really made it muddy," Ward said.

Olindo Mare scored Miami's only points with a 34-yard field goal, his only try, while Pittsburgh kicker Jeff Reed was 2-for-4 with a long of 51. Reed does not envy Mare's home field advantage with the muddy baseball infield.

"I've never experienced that before," Reed said of the sloppy Miami field. "Olindo has a tough job here."

The Steelers flew into Ft. Lauderdale a day early, on Friday evening, because of the pending storm and had to wait until Sunday night to play what was supposed to be a 1 p.m. kickoff. Also, they were without power during the storm Saturday night at their hotel in Ft. Lauderdale.

"We lost power in the middle of films," rookie QB Ben Roethlisberger said. "We all had flashlights and Coach Cowher was trying to come get us to play flashlight tag in the lobby, but I don't think that anyone went. It's just one of those things where you need to be mentally ready all of the time."

RB Duce Staley averaged 4.6 yards in bad running conditions and had his first 100-yard game as a Steeler, with 22 yards on 101 carries.

WR Hines Ward remained two yards off the pace for the NFL lead with 346 yards on 22 receptions. Ward caught nine passes for 96 yards against Miami.

LB Joey Porter finally came alive in the third game of the season. His silent play through the first two games changed abruptly in Miami when he led the team with seven tackles and had his first sack of the season.

SS Troy Polamalu had the first interception of his career. Their No. 1 pick in 2003 is off to a fast start as their new starter at strong safety. He led them in tackles in game two and tied for second with six Sunday.

CB Deshea Townsend, who became a starter midway through last season, leads the Steelers with two interceptions and also has a sack.

Team Notes:
PASSING OFFENSE: C -- It wasn't pretty on an ugly night, but the conditions accounted for the lower stats. Roethlisberger completed 12 of 22 for 163 yards with one TD, one early interception and one sack. His passer rating was 74.6 and he engineered a touchdown drive in the fourth quarter that put the game away. The rookie showed great poise and composure in such less than ideal conditions in his first NFL start. Hines Ward remained hot with 9 catches for 96 yards and the game's only TD. Burress caught two for 60 yards.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B -- It wasn't a night conducive to gaining 153 yards but that's what the Steelers managed to get, a key stat on such a horrible night when they started a rookie quarterback. Duce Staley had his first 100-yard game with the Steelers, running for 101 yards on 22 carries. They averaged 4.0 yards a carry.

PASS DEFENSE: A -- A.J. Feeley helped them with a terrible performance that produced a 32.5 passer rating. He was 13 of 27 for 137 yards. They sacked him three times and intercepted him twice - by Troy Polamalu and Deshea Townsend.

RUSH DEFENSE: A -- Again, the Dolphins helped out the Steelers by showing little ability to run the ball. Pittsburgh held them to 52 yards on 29 carries, a 1.8-yard average. A big hit by safety Chris Hope also knocked out starting running back Lamar Gordon early in the game.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- Kicker Jeff Reed missed two field goals, but he also made two from 40 and 51 yards on a bad day. Steelers punt returners let the ball drop, for the most part, rather than risk trying to catch it and losing it on a day in which any mistake could have turned the tide. Chris Gardocki averaged 41.5 yards on six punts, yeoman's work considering the conditions.

COACHING: B -- The worst decision of the day was to have the rookie quarterback throw on their first offensive play and it was picked off. The second worst decision was to attempt a 51-yard field goal in bad weather with a 3-0 lead in the third quarter - but Jeff Reed made Bill Cowher look good by making it. Other than that, they made sound game-day decisions and someone did a great job of getting the rookie quarterback ready to play.

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