After a dominating first half from the Miami Dolphins, the second half of the Week 8 Monday Night Football contest was all Pittsburgh Steelers. The Dolphins looked like they never came back out of the locker room following the halftime break, and the Steelers took it to Miami.
Dolphins 14 - Steelers 27
Second Half Recap
The Steelers started with the ball in the second half. After a one-yard loss from James Conner, Mason Rudolph found Nick Vannett for a 15-yard gain. Conner then picked up five yards before breaking a 17-yard run. Benny Snell then added three yards before two incomplete passes led to a missed 54-yard field goal.
Miami started with two incomplete passes, then Fitzpatrick looked 54-yards downfield for Jakeem Grant only to have Minkah Fitzpatrick pick him off for the second time in the game.
Conner started with a three-yard run from the Pittsburgh three-yard line. Rudolph then connected with JuJu Smith-Schuster for 17 yards, with a holding penalty on the next play negating a 20-yard Conner gain. After an incomplete pass, James Washington pulled in a pass for 21 yards. Conner then picked up 14 yards, then added another eight. After a pass from Rudolph to Vance McDonald for four yards, Snell added another four yards. Rudolph attempted to scramble but was stopped for a two-yard sack by Sam Eguavoen. Rudolph found Dionte Johnson for 11 yards on 3rd-and-8 then found Conner for one yard. Rudolph then threw up a jump ball that Chris Lammons was able to defend only to have Smith-Schuster wrestle it away and score. Steelers 17-14.
Miami started at their own 22-yard line, with Walton picking up three yards. DeVante Parker was able to pick up the first down with a 10-yard reception. After an incomplete pass, Fitzpatrick connected with Mike Gesicki for five yards. After Fitzpatrick came up a yard short on a 3rd-and-5 run, Miami converted on a 4th-and-1 run from Fitzpatrick, who picked just what was needed. After the change in quarters, a challenge from the Steelers overturned the call, moving the ball back and turning a first down into a turnover on downs and putting 18 seconds back in the third quarter.
The Steelers picked up two yards on the first play after the change of possession. Rudolph then found Johnson for 13 yards, with Conner then picking up 11 yards. After a holding penalty, a pass interference penalty gave the Steelers a 1st-and-10 from the 4-yard line. After a delay of game penalty, Conner ran up the middle for the nine-yard score. Steelers 24-14.
Miami began at their own 25 after the kickoff touchback. Fitzpatrick threw a screen pass to Mark Walton on the first play, with the running back pushing the pile forward for seven yards, then Walton picked up six yards on the ground. After a false start backed up Miami, Walton picked up two yards on a draw, then Fitzpatrick threw an incomplete pass, setting up a 3rd-and-13. Fitzpatrick rolled away from pressure and found Jakeem Grant for 15 yards. On 1st-and-10, Fitzpatrick dumped the ball to Walton, who ran for 12 yards but fumbled and the Steelers recovered.
After an offensive holding penalty set up 1st-and-20, Rudolph threw two incomplete passes. On 3rd-and-20, Conner picked up eight yards and Pittsburgh punted.
On the first down play, Fitzpatrick dropped back to pass and was sacked by T.J. Watt, who came away with the ball and Steelers took over again.
Rudolph found McDonald or one yard on the second play following a three-yard run from Conner. Conner lost five yards on the 3rd-and-6 play, leading to a 41-yard field goal. Steelers 27-14.
Miami started with a nine-yard pass from Fitzpatrick to Parker, then Walton picked up nine yards on a run. Fitzpatrick picked up eight yards on the scramble, then connected with Parker for 15 yards. Fitzpatrick dumped the next play short to Walton for three yards, then threw two incomplete passes before being sacked on 4th-and-7.
Pittsburgh came out looking to eat as much of the clock as possible, with Conner picking up three yards, then six yards, before Miami used their last timeout of the half. Trey Edmunds then ran for no gain as the clock hit the 2-minute warning, leading to a Steelers punt.
After an incomplete pass, Fitzpatrick and Parker picked up five yards, then Fitzpatrick ran for six yards. Fitzpatrick then had his pass deflected and Michael Deiter caught it for no gain. After Fitzpatrick was sacked for a ten-yard loss, they knelt and killed the clock.
The Dolphins coming out of the tunnel for the second half are not the same team that went into the tunnel at the end of the first half. They came out looking flat, and the Steelers took advantage.
To say Brian Flores disagreed with the overturn of the first down in an understatement. He chewed out the referees throughout the second third-to-fourth quarter break, and he never calmed down.
Miami ran deep into quicksand in the second half and had no way to get out of it. Even when they would make a good play, the next one would push them right back into the middle and keep them sinking. It just continued to get uglier and uglier as the fourth quarter continued.
This game changed the moment Xavien Howard was injured. Without him on the field, the defense just looked slow. The Steelers clearly looked toward Ryan Lewis, and he was not ready to make a play.
What a tale of two halves.