Steelers swim past Dolphins, 3-0

PITTSBURGH – Monday night's game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins featured a little bit of everything – except for points.

The Steelers re-sodded Heinz Field following Saturday's Pitt game versus the South Florida.

Apparently, nobody checked the weather reports.

The new field, which was laid on top of the old playing surface, failed to drain properly. As a result, the footing at Heinz Field, which is normally treacherous already at this time of year, was worse than usual.

And it helped even the playing field between the NFL's only winless team, the Dolphins, and the leaders of the AFC North, the Steelers.

Miami, a 16-point underdog, gave the Steelers everything they could handle in the sloppy, wet and windy conditions at Heinz Field, but Pittsburgh pulled out a 3-0 victory on Jeff Reed's 24-yard field goal with 17 seconds remaining in the game.

The victory improved the Steelers record to 8-3 and kept them a game ahead of Cleveland in the AFC North standings, while Miami lost its 14th consecutive game dating back to last season to fall to 0-11.

For a while it looked as if the game would end in the first scoreless tie in team history since a 1933 game between the Steelers, then known as the Pirates, played to a 0-0 tie with Cincinnati, then known as the Reds.

Neither team showed much interest in scoring until a botched Miami field goal attempt changed the tone of the game.

The Dolphins attempted a 37-yard field goal by Jay Feeley with 11:26 remaining in the game, a kick that was partially blocked. But the Dolphins were penalized for delay of game and instead of attempting a 42-yard field goal, Miami attempted to convert the first down.

Steelers linebacker James Harrison sacked rookie quarterback John Beck – making his second career NFL start – and forced a fumble that was recovered by Aaron Smith at the Pittsburgh 30 to send Miami away empty.

The Steelers, however, were unable to use the momentum to their favor, punting the ball back to Miami after driving to the Miami 33 when Ben Roethlisberger was sacked on third down.

Daniel Sepulveda's punt was fair-caught at the Miami 10 and the Dolphins went backwards from there, punting the ball from their own 5.

Pittsburgh took over at the Miami 42 with 4:13 remaining in the fourth quarter. On second-and-eight from the 40, Roethlisberger hit Hines Ward with a 21-yard pass down the seam to the Miami 19.

A holding penalty on tight end Heath Miller moved the ball back to the 29, but Roethlisberger and Ward hooked up two more times for six and 11 yards, respectively, to put the ball at the Miami 12 for a third-and-three play.

Roethlisberger then threw a six-yard pass to Willie Reid on a wide receiver screen – the quarterback's 15th consecutive completion – before throwing incomplete to Willie Parker in the corner of the end zone.

Parker, who had 81 yards on 24 carries, ran the ball to the 5 before Roethlisberger was sacked for a one-yard loss on third down to set up Reed's game-winner.

It was a fitting end to a game that featured little offense and few scoring opportunities.

Pittsburgh took the opening possession of the game and moved to the Miami 25, but Roethlisberger, who completed 18 of 21 for 165 yards, was intercepted by former Steelers' star Joey Porter, who was making his first appearance at Heinz Field since his release by Pittsburgh in the offseason.

That would be it for scoring opportunities until the Steelers attempted a 44-yard field goal on the next-to-last play of the third quarter, a kick Reed missed badly to the left.


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