Pittsburgh Steelers Fall To Miami Dolphins, Playoff Hopes Over: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

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Dec 8, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Miami Dolphins tight end Charles Clay (42) scores a twelve yard touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Miami Dolphins won 34-28. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers faced off against the Miami Dolphins and lost at home for the third time at home when they came up short against the Dolphins 34-28 Sunday afternoon.  The game lived up to the 2013 staus quo for the Steelers with poor defensive play when they really needed it to count, questionable offensive play calls, and an overall sense of unpreparedness from the top down.  The snow was flying, which made the playing conditions an extra layer of ‘fun,’ and the refs continue to act befuddled over how to interpret rules handed down from league officials.  There’s plenty to go around, so let’s get to it.

The Good

Big Ben with another solid game – Ben Roethlisberger had a chance or two to march this team down the field and take the lead late in the 4th quarter.  For those who continue to blame Roethlisberger for the losing woes of this team, I say ‘Screw you, you jag.  Have you seen our defense at all this season?’  Big Ben continues to play solid as this franchises QB.  And, for as many opportunities this defense has given Ben to lead this team to a comeback game winning drive, he can’t win them all.  No quarterback can.  None.

Ben finished the day 17 of 25 for 349 yards, 3 TD’s, no interceptions and a rating of 137.5.  He lost a fumble early in the game which the Dolphins would later score on the ensuing possession.  That’s on him, but it’s not like the defense helped out in getting off the field in crucial 3rd down moments either.  I’d hate to see what this team is like without Ben at the helm in the long term.  I’ve advocated for a trade of the big lug after the Steelers went 0-4, but after seeing how poorly the rest of the team performs, this organization would be the laughing stock of suck’ville (like Jacksonville or Houston laughing stock) if he wasn’t on this team.  Can you imagine what life would be like with Gradkowski or Landry Jones taking snaps.  :Shudder:  He’s giving the Steelers the best chance to win.  Too bad his own OC and defense won’t help the cause.

Dec 8, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) is sacked by Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward (97) during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Cam Heyward Beast Mode – Cam Heyward had as close to a career game today as a D-lineman can have.  He racked up 9 tackles (6 solo), 1 sack, 1 TFL, and a tipped ball that went incomplete.  Heyward has been having a great season, and it is encouraging to see that (FINALLY) a first rounder is starting to really shine at his position.  I’ll admit that I was ready to claim Heyward a ‘bust’ were he to have another mediocre season.  Instead, I’m singing his praises because he deserves the recognition after a game like today and the season thus far.  Congrats, Cam.  Keep it up.  I think we’ll be seeing more stat lines like today’s more than just once a season in the near future.

Troy’s Pick 6 – I wasn’t going to list this after Troy just about erased his efforts with some awfully poor tackling late in the 4th quarter that led to TD’s for the Dolphins.  But, I feel that Troy needs some recognition for the great interception and even better run back to take it over the pylon.  Troy’s had a bit of a resurgence the last few games, which is great to see.  It’s unfortunate that he still thinks has the step in him he had when he was a young buck and missed a few tackles on Sunday that hurt the team.

Cotch for Team MVP – Jerricho Cotchery is having the best season of his career and just added onto that today with four more catches and another touchdown grab.  It’s refreshing to see him perform so well when you have guys like Sanders who can’t seem to catch a pass to save his own life… or the Steelers’ playoff life.  Just another day at the stadium for this vet.

Honorable mention: The secondary held Wallace to 2 catches for 19 yards and no TD’s.