2019 Recall: Steelers host, and roast, Dolphins on Monday Night Football
Steel City Underground presents our 2019 Steelers Recall: a look back at Pittsburgh Steelers games and storylines from last season.
It should’ve been an easy game for the Steelers on paper, but it looked like disaster was setting in from the get-go as Pittsburgh returned from an extended bye week, along with the return of Mason Rudolph, to host the 0-6 Miami Dolphins.
It wasn’t a good start for Mason Rudolph who tossed an interception and Miami took advantage. After going down by 14 points, the Steelers would never allow another Miami score for the duration.
The Steelers earned plenty of boos from the home crowd at Heinz Field early in the game because they came out flat. Rudolph looked a little shell-shocked and unsure of himself. He wasn’t able to lead his receivers and that led to balls that weren’t catchable. It was clear that Rudolph was frustrated and that Randy Fichtner was trying to stay true to his pre-game statements about pushing the ball down the field.
Then Minkah Fitzpatrick struck. Playing against the team who traded him nearly a month earlier, the Steelers would get back on track and score 24 unanswered points for the win, led by by the All-Pro safety.
Fitzpatrick grabbed the first of his two interceptions in the game against his former team: which lifted everyone. The big plays seemed to inject more confidence in both the offense and the defense, as running back James Conner and receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson all had big games.
Conner gained nearly 150 yards on the ground.
T.J. Watt and the Steelers defense then dialed up some great plays. Watt grabbed a strip-sack of Ryan Fitzpatrick and added a sack that essentially ended the game so that the Steelers offense could simply go out for a victory formation snap. Watt was given plenty of support up front from Cameron Heyward and Bud Dupree while the Steelers’ defensive backfield played solid coverage and Mike Hilton was able to force a critical fumble (on Mark Walton) that Steven Nelson was able to recover with just over nine minutes left in the final quarter.
Head Coach Mike Tomlin also had a high spot in this game, breaking his streak of eleven-straight failed challenges as the officiating crew took an entire six minutes to debate the spot of a football on a Miami 4th-and-1 try which was ultimately ruled short.
This was another win that wasn’t pretty, but it was a win that the Steelers needed – their second in a row to climb to 3-4 on the season.
Unfortunately this game also took its toll with injuries. James Conner, Benny Snell, and Ramon Foster would all leave the game, with the impact of their losses felt throughout the coming weeks. Yet, the Steelers were back in the AFC North hunt, only a single win away from breaking even at .500… a feat which felt impossible after they began the season 0-3, and entered Week 6 1-4.