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Dolphins at Steelers final score, immediate reactions, and playoff bracket

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The AFC Wildcard round concluded with the Dolphins at Steelers.

Wild Card Round - Miami Dolphins v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers concluded the AFC side of the Wildcard bracket with a Sunday afternoon contest. Miami came into the game as the sixth-seed while the Steelers, the AFC North champions, had claimed the third-seeded position in the bracket.

The game started out with Pittsburgh running and throwing all over the Dolphins, with Antonio Brown doing most of the early damage with a 50-yard and a 62-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Le’Veon Bell then started doing just about whatever he wanted to do.

Miami kept in the game, somehow, coming up with two field goals stay within 14 points thanks to a missed extra point on the Steelers’ third touchdown of the day, this one coming from Bell. Miami moved the ball well late in the half and appeared to be in position to move within a touchdown after a Michael Thomas interception and some good throws from Matt Moore. However, a fumble killed Miami’s chances just before the end of the half.

The second half started just like the first half ended. Miami got the ball first, only to have Moore fumble. After holding the Steelers to a field goal, Moore threw an interception on the Dolphins next offensive play.

Miami never recovered and the Steelers are moving on in the Playoffs while the Dolphins are going home.

Below, you will find the final score from the game, the NFL Playoff matchups for the Divisional round next week following the completion of the game, and my immediate reactions to the game. Each week, I keep a running tally of my thoughts and reactions during the game, then sum up everything with the immediate reactions at the end.

Final Score

Dolphins 12 - Steelers 30

AFC Divisional Round

Saturday, Jan. 14

NFC: (3) Seahawks at (2) Falcons: 435 pm ET | FOX

AFC: (4) Texans at (1) Patriots: 815 pm ET | CBS

Sunday, Jan. 15

AFC: (3) Steelers at (2) Chiefs: 1:05 pm ET | NBC

NFC: Packers/Giants at (1) Cowboys: 4:40 pm ET | FOX

First Half

  • The Dolphins won the toss and will defer. Steelers getting the ball first.
  • Le’Veon Bell for 11 yards on first down. That’s not the way to start this game, Miami.
  • Ben Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown for 7 yards. All three “Bs” touch the ball on the first two plays.
  • Dolphins stuff Bell for a 2-yard loss. Good rush off the end from Kiko Alonso and up the middle from Jordan Phillips.
  • Roethlisberger to Eli Rogers for 19 yards on the screen play. When Earl Mitchell is making the tackle 19 yards down the field, that’s not a good thing ever.
  • Touchdown. Roethlisberger to Brown for 50 yards. PIT 7-0.
  • That was way too easy for Pittsburgh. Miami’s defense has to show up a lot better than that.
  • Brown caught that ball on just a bubble screen and ran straight down the sideline. It was one hesitation move and then he was gone. Did a great job waiting for the tight end to get over there for the block.
  • Dolphins throwing on first down. 11 yards Matt Moore to Jarvis Landry.
  • Bud Dupree comes unblocked on Moore on third-down. Just gets rid of the ball, but takes a big hit. Moore’s pass was nearly picked off, but Landry did a nice job of breaking it up.
  • Punt. Holding on the Steelers, so they back up 10 yards after the touchback.
  • Roethlisberger to Darrius Heyward-Bey for 10 yards.
  • Bell for 7.
  • False start, backing Steeler up to a 2nd-and-8.
  • Bell for 2 yards. 3rd-down. Miami needs to make the stop right here.
  • Nope.
  • Roethlisberger to Demarcus Ayers for 11 yards. There was just no one near him in the zone.
  • Bell for 3 yards.
  • Touchdown. Roethlisberger to Brown for 62 yards. PIT 14-0.
  • This time, it was a quick slant, and he was gone.
  • Ajayi for -3 yards. Steelers are doing a good job early of making sure Ajayi has no where to go.
  • Ajayi for 0.
  • Moore to Kenny Stills for 36 yards. Great throw and catch.
  • Moore to Landry for 2 yards.
  • Ajayi for 4 yards.
  • Field Goal. Andrew Franks 38 yards. PIT 14-3.
  • Bell for 8 yards.
  • Bell for 5 yards.
  • Earl Mitchell jumps offside. 5 yards for Pittsburgh.
  • Bell for 15.
  • Bell for 6.
  • End of first quarter. Miami has no answer at all for Bell right now.
  • Bell for 5 yards.
  • Bell for 8 yards.
  • Bell for 26 yards yards. Comes up 1 foot shy of a touchdown. Replay reversed the original touchdown call. But, they are going to go straight back to Bell here.
  • Bell for -1. Alonso and Donald Butler with the stuff.
  • Alonso stops him again.
  • Pittsburgh is challenging. And, it does look like he may have gotten in.
  • Touchdown. Bell for 1 yard. Pittsburgh misses the extra point. PIT 20-3.
  • Ajayi for 2.
  • Ajayi for 3. Dolphins look like they are trying to stick to the game plan of giving the ball to Ajayi over-and-over until he is able to start finding some space.
  • Moore to Ajayi for 4 yards.
  • Punt.
  • FAKE! Michael Thomas takes the first snap and picks up 3 yards on 4th-and-1!
  • Ajayi for 7.
  • Ajayi for -1.
  • Moore to Dion Sims for 17 yards. Miami is finally starting to move the ball.
  • Damien Williams for 1.
  • Moore is down. Roughing the passer is called, but Moore is sitting on the sideline and it does not look good. Ajayi called for unsportsmanlike conduct for fighting after the hit on Moore. Dolphins get the first down because of the first penalty, but it is 1st-and-25 now.
  • Ajayi for 8.
  • Moore is back in. Looked like he was pointing to his back, but he was hit in the jaw, so a concussion check was done. He seems to be cleared.
  • Moore to Parker for 7. Holding on Ja’Wuan James. Good hold. He was beaten by Dupree, so he hooked him to make sure he did not get a clean shot at Moore.
  • Moore to Ajayi for 5. Brings up 3rd-and-22.
  • Moore incomplete. Threw the ball to no one, splitting routes from Landry and DeVante Parker. Probably should have seen Landry come back outside, but whatever the case, that was a miscommunication.
  • Field Goal. Franks for 47 yards. PIT 20-6.
  • Roethlisberger to Brown for 6.
  • Bell for 1.
  • Roethlisberger to Bell for 4.
  • Bell for 0. Good play by Cameron Wake, standing up his block on the edge, then getting off it to make the tackle.
  • Suh offsides.
  • Roethlisberger to Jesse James for 6 yards. Earl Mitchell dropped into zone coverage and nearly had the pick, but it somehow bounced up and to James, who held on despite the defense staking him up and Alonso using his club to try to knock the ball free.
  • Offensive holding. Ball back to the Miami 34.
  • PICK! Ball does through Brown’s hands and Michael Thomas gets the interception!
  • Miami with the ball with a minute to go and all three timeouts. Can they come away with points before the end of the half?
  • Moore to Landry for 8 yards.
  • Moore to Landry for 15 yards. Great crossing route that Landry carries all the way to getting out of bounds.
  • Moore to Parker for 37 yards. Steelers injury costs them a timeout and stops the clock for Miami. Ball at Pittsburgh 8.
  • DAMN! Moore sacked and fumbles. Pittsburgh recovers. James Harrison with the strip sack.
  • Kneel from the Steelers.
  • Halftime.

Second Half

  • Dolphins get the ball to start the second half.
  • Moore to Sims for 7 yards.
  • Ajayi -1.
  • Moore to Landry for 17.
  • Ajayi for 3.
  • Ajayi for 1.
  • Moore to Landry for 11.
  • Fumble. Again. Moore ran into Ajayi as he tried to get away from the sack, ball pops out and Steelers recover. Of course.
  • Roethlisberger scrambles for 4.
  • Bell for 15.
  • Bell for 8.
  • Bell for 26. Seriously. Anyone want to try tackling Bell?
  • Roethlisberger to Brown for -1. Great play recognition from Xavien Howard.
  • Bell for 0. Another play from Howard. Alonso also in on the tackle.
  • Sack! Andre Branch with the initial pressure, Roethlisberger steps up to avoid it and Ndamukong Suh was waiting right there. First time the defensive line has shown up in this game. Need more of that.
  • Field goal. Chris Boswell from 34 yards. PIT 23-6.
  • Pick. Moore thew the ball straight to Ryan Shazier, who was on the line of scrimmage and dropped back into coverage. Just never saw him and the pass was right to him.
  • Bell for 2.
  • Bell for 2.
  • Roethsliberger scrambles for 8.
  • Tries to pull Miami offsides on 4th down. Timeout.
  • Field goal attempt. And Tony Lippett jumps the long snapper before the snap. Completely mistimed it. Just bad. Free first down for the Steelers.
  • Bell 2 yards.
  • Bell 3 yards.
  • Touchdown. Bell 3 yards. PIT 30-6.
  • Drake returns the kickoff 58 yards. Great return.
  • Ajayi for 4.
  • Moore to Sims for 2.
  • Ajayi for 0.
  • Dolphins going for it on 4th-and-4. Moore scrambles for 2 yards. Had a shot at making the first down, but tried to cut back and was caught from behind.
  • Bell for 4 yards.
  • End 3rd quarter.
  • Bell of -4. Jordan Phillips straight up the middle to blow up the play.
  • Dolphins force 3-and-out and punt.
  • Miami gets nothing done and is forced to punt after 3-and-out.
  • Pittsburgh goes 3-and-out.
  • Moore to Sims for 6.
  • Moore to Landry for 5.
  • Moore to Stills for 26. A good underthrow and Stills adjusts perfectly.
  • Ajayi for 5. And he stays down. Finally gets over to the sideline, but his shoulder is hurt again.
  • Moore to Landry for 11.
  • Moore to Landry for 13.
  • Damien Williams for -2.
  • Moore to Sims for 2.
  • TOUCHDOWN! Moore to Williams for 4. PIT 30-12 after failed 2-point conversion.
  • Onside kick. Pittsburgh recovers.
  • DeAngelo Williams for 3.
  • Williams for -1.
  • Cameron Wake nearly pulls down Ben Roethlisberger, who throws up a jump ball to no receiver and Xavien Howard with the interception.
  • Moore to Landry for 4.
  • Moore to Parker for 5.
  • Moore to Parker for 8.
  • Moore to Landry for 5.
  • Moore to Stills for 8.
  • Moore sacked.
  • Moore sacked.
  • Damien Williams for 15 on 4th-and-31.
  • Steelers kneel.
  • End of game.

Immediate Reactions

Today was ugly all around. The offense could not get going, or, if it did find a rhythm, there was a turnover coming. Matt Moore lost two fumbles and threw an interception. Add in the 2-yard run on 4th-and-4, and he gave away the ball too many times. The defense had no answer for the Steelers’ attack, both with Antonio Brown and with Le’Veon Bell.

Miami seemed to climb into the game a couple of times, but then they imploded. At the end of the day, however, this was a team that was expected to be 4-12 or 6-10 this year, and instead was 10-6 and in the Playoffs. There are things that need to be fixed, and the team has to get healthy and deeper for next year, but they over-acheived this year, and now have a taste of winning football. Next year, hopefully, they can put it together again and make it back to the postseason, and potentially make a run deeper into the playoffs.

This season is all about taking those first steps toward fixing the franchise. Rather than a baby-step forward, Miami took a giant leap toward ending this mediocrity stretch. Backing it up next year will be key.