Ohhhh boy. This one is definitely going to generate a lot of chatter this week from a lot of people.
The Steelers did not play a good football game this week. Ben Roethlisberger was careless with the football, fumbling three times including a head scratching play at the end of the game that nearly handed Miami a win. With the Steelers trailing 22-20, Roethlisberger attempted to run a QB draw into the endzone but fumbled just before he reached the goal line. Luckily, for the Steelers, nobody from either team clearly recovered the ball right away and the Steelers got the ball back for a 4th down field goal despite the fumble.
I’m sure the Dolphins are pretty furious about the outcome of that play and ensuing challenge by Tony Sparano. But I’m not sure how else that could have been played out. Sure, it looked like Miami probably pounced on the ball, but you can’t definitively say either way. The Dolphins still got the ball at the end of the game with plenty of time on the clock and some timeouts and couldn’t make anything out of it.
The Steelers defense looked shaky for the final three quarters of the game as well. Chad Henne (!!) picked the secondary apart at will and injuries to LaMarr Woodley and Aaron Smith made the afternoon that much worse. Even when Dick LeBeau threw a myriad of blitz packages at the Dolphins, the Steelers just couldn’t get any pressure on Henne throughout most of the game.
The game wasn’t all bad though. Emmanuel Sanders recovered from a fumble on the opening kickoff to have a solid game including a big return to set up the Steelers winning drive. Mike Wallace and Hines Ward were both outstanding and Roethlisberger threw the ball well when he wasn’t fumbling.
It certainly wasn’t pretty and there will be plenty of people calling ‘Conspiracy!’ after this one, but it is what it is. Hopefully the Steelers can get healthy and rebound a bit from a poor outing.