Miami Gardens - Dolphins owner Stephen Ross smiled broadly as he high fived team president Mike Tannenbaum. Second year running back Jay Ajayi had just reeled off a 62 yard touchdown run up the right sideline to put an exclamation point on what was already an impressive home victory for the Dolphins. This was an important win for the team in aqua - and not because they were supposed to beat the team from Pittsburgh - but because they weren't.
During the week leading up to the game, the Steelers had been favored by as many as ten points, on the road against these young upstarts. For three hours on Sunday, the Dolphins told the Vegas bookmakers where they could stick those ten points. But, where some lost money on this game, others, like the team's fan base, gained a renewed sense of confidence. We won't blame you if you have a little more spring in your step at the office this week. Anytime your starting running back rushes for over 200 yards, while your defense, and yes - this is the Dolphins' defense we're talking about here - holds Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger under 200 yards passing, you've got a pretty good chance of winning the game, and that's exactly what Miami did. Offseason free agency pickup Andre Branch, a little known defensive end who is mostly known as a run stopper, had one and a half sacks of Big Ben, and both of Miami's starting safeties, Reshad Jones and Isa Abdul Quddus, came down with interceptions against the Steelers. Miami won consecutive games in the all time series against Pittsburgh for the first time since 1985-87, and amazingly, despite all the losses against the rest of the NFL over the past decade and a half, now hold a tenuous 14-13 lead against the boys in Black and Gold.
Make no mistake, the Dolphins are still a 2-4 team on Monday, and have multiple holes to fill on both sides of the ball. Sometimes, though, you don't play for money, for fame or for a playoff spot. Sometimes, you play for the most important reason of all. Respect. The Dolphins have a little bit more of that today than they did yesterday. On behalf of the entire Phinsider Nation, we also want to extend our best wishes to Ben Roethlisberger for a full and speedy recovery of what we hope is nothing more than a minor sprain. Great game, guys.