Pivotal questions Steelers must answer against the Dolphins

Diontae Johnson #18 of the Pittsburgh Steelers is called for pass interference against Xavien Howard #25 of the Miami Dolphins on October 28, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Diontae Johnson #18 of the Pittsburgh Steelers is called for pass interference against Xavien Howard #25 of the Miami Dolphins on October 28, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

The Steelers are on the hunt for back-to-back wins, and they will have to answer these questions when they take on the Dolphins.

The Steelers are coming in off a feel-good win against the Buccaneers, but their Florida tour isn’t done. On Sunday night, Pittsburgh is set to take on the Dolphins. While they are on a slight decline, Tua Tagovailoa is set to return to action, and he was leading an impressive Dolphins offense before he was lost to an injury.

Despite their record being 3-3, this is yet another tough matchup for the Steelers. While the win last week was nice, this team is still riddled with issues and questions. Not a lot was answered last week, which makes this game just as tough to gauge as some of the recent matchups. Here are four questions the Steelers will need to answer against the Dolphins.

Can the Steelers pressure Tua?

After a slow start to his career, Tagovailoa was hitting his stride before he was concussed this season. He was amongst the league leaders in passing yards and was efficient with the football while limiting mistakes. While no one is sure how he will look post-injury, the Steelers front seven needs to be ready to feast.

While an improved unit overall, the Dolphins offensive line hasn’t been all that great this season. They’ve allowed 15 total sacks so far this year. While the Steelers pass rush has been hot and cold without T.J. Watt, they did well to get pressure last week. Alex Highsmith is currently the league leader in sacks while Cam Heyward looked more like his usual self. This group needs to get in Tagovailoa’s face early and often.

Can the Steelers run game get going?

I feel like I ask this every week, but here we are once again. Another game, and another disappointing output from the Steelers running game. There are no more excuses at this point: the Steelers line has steadily improved each week. Najee Harris, meanwhile, has the steel plate out of his foot and claims to be healthy.

The Dolphins haven’t been much of a threat to stop the run so far. While a lot of their games have been shootouts, they are a below-average team when stopping the run. Ball control could be huge in this game, as Pittsburgh possessing the ball and grinding down the field could yield another surprise win.

Can the Steelers stop the Dolphins receivers?

One of the matchups I have had circled since early in the season was how the secondary would be able to hold back the Dolphins pair of receivers. Tyreek Hill is a known commodity and speed freak. Anytime he touches the ball, he can score. Next to him is Jaylen Waddle, who is just a step slower but is an insanely efficient route runner.

The Steelers should have a healthier secondary this week, but they aren’t geared toward stopping deep passes against insanely athletic receivers. Minkah Fitzpatrick will have to be on patrol deep, which could open up the underneath for Waddle. This secondary has a huge task ahead of them, and they need to at least limit this talented duo.

Will the Steelers make the right choice at QB?

There has been a lot of talk about the Steelers quarterback situation heading into this week. After Mitchell Trubisky led this team to a win last week in place of a concussed Kenny Pickett, many are speculating that a quarterback competition may be back. Add in the speculated drama from the Jets game and this group is a huge question mark right now.

As of this writing, it seems as though Kenny Pickett is healthy and set to start. While keeping Pickett as the starter is the right move, one has to wonder if the team is rushing him back too soon from a head injury. The Dolphins were just under fire for a similar move, and it seems like Pickett’s turnaround was too quick. The team needs to make the right choice at quarterback if they want to have a shot at this game though.

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The Steelers are looking for a second consecutive win, but the Dolphins are no joke this season. If the team wants to have any shot of winning this week, they will need to answer these four key questions ahead of their Sunday night matchup.