Rapid Reaction: Miami Dolphins
December, 8, 2013
By James Walker | ESPN.com
PITTSBURGH -- A few thoughts on the Miami Dolphins’ 34-28 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
What it means: It wasn’t easy, but the Dolphins picked up a crucial road win to improve to 7-6 and significantly improve their playoff hopes. Miami survived six lead changes, culminating with a game-winning touchdown by tight end Charles Clay, to remain in firm standing for the final wild-card spot in the AFC with three games remaining. This was the first time this season that Miami scored 30 points or more. The Dolphins also are above .500 for the first time since Week 6. They are at home for two of their last three games.
Stock watch: Clay gave the Steelers’ defense a lot of trouble. He caught seven passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns. Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake also had a huge sack and forced fumble in the first half. Wake stripped Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and the turnover led to a touchdown. Miami’s secondary has been solid most of the season, but it struggled against Pittsburgh’s passing game. Roethlisberger threw for three touchdowns. The Dolphins struggled sticking to Pittsburgh’s receivers in the bad weather. But Miami's defense held tough in the final minutes of the fourth quarter and closed out the game.
Concussion watch: The Dolphins lost their starting running back, Lamar Miller, to a concussion. He was knocked out of the game in the third quarter after being hit hard by Pittsburgh safety Ryan Clark. Miller was immediately taken out of the game and replaced by backup tailback Daniel Thomas. Miller’s status for the next game is uncertain.
What’s next: The games only get tougher. The Dolphins will host the reigning AFC East champion New England Patriots next Sunday. New England beat Miami 27-17 in October and will be looking for the season sweep.