The Dolphins entered the “Monday Night Football” matchup without a win to their name, and their competition? One of the best prime-time teams in the NFL.
The Steelers, who have the second-most Monday night wins all time (47) behind only the 49ers (49), came into the game not much better. They just had two wins through Week 7 and were looking to inch closer to the AFC North-leading Ravens.
After a strong start by Miami, the Dolphins combusted while Mason Rudolph and the Steelers found their composure. Rudolph, in just his fourth career start, completed the comeback to beat Miami 27-14.
Pittsburgh moved to 3-4 while Miami dropped to a dreadful 0-7.
Three takeaways from Steelers’ win vs. the Dolphins
Mason Rudolph needed to shake off the rust
It was Rudolph’s first game back since suffering a concussion from the scary hit that knocked him unconscious against the Ravens on Oct. 6. Now, 22 days later, Rudolph wanted contact.
“I’m not going to be gun shy at all,” he said just days before the Steelers would host the Dolphins. “If anything, I’ll be seeking it out, contact, earlier in the game to get the rust [off] and know what it feels like to get hit.”
Well, he was rusty. Rudolph threw two early interceptions — one was ultimately called back — and at one point in the first half had a 0.0 passer rating. Pittsburgh entered halftime trailing lowly Miami 14-10. However, after the opening two quarters, Rudolph settled down and with the help of a big defensive play (see below) and a big offensive play turned the tide.
After the go-ahead touchdown, Rudolph was full steam ahead as the Steelers scored 27 unanswered points.
He finished 20-of-36 passing for 236 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Minkah Fitzpatrick got his revenge
The 22-year-old safety changed teams just after the start of the season. The Dolphins dealt Fitzpatrick to the Steelers in exchange for a 2020 first-round pick after just one full season with the team.
He recorded nine pass breakups and two interceptions in 18 career games before joining the Pittsburgh organization. In his first four games, he recorded one interception and one pass defended. He was poised for a breakout game and what better opponent than the team that traded him.
Fitzpatrick had two interceptions and each was better than the last.
What’s more? It was the first time a player has picked off a quarterback with the same last name twice in a game since Levi Johnson intercepted Charley Johnson as many times in Week 2 of the 1974 season.
The Dolphins looked good … until they didn’t
Miami has been improving. Now, none of that has shown in its record but the bar is pretty low for the Dolphins so when they bolted out to a two-touchdown lead Monday, it was … shocking.
There were quite a few highlights early, such as Xavien Howard’s interception.
Ryan Fitzpatrick showed off his arm.
Fitzpatrick also quickly found the end zone.
But after the Dolphins’ first two touchdowns in the first quarter, they were held scoreless due to a slew of mistakes and a tough defense in Pittsburgh. It was another Miami breakdown and the hopes of this team earning a win sometime this season seems more and more grim.
Fitzpatrick finished the affair 21-of-34 passing for 190 yards, two touchdowns and the two interceptions. He was also sacked four times, including a strip sack in the fourth quarter that gutted any chance at a Dolphins comeback.