Dolphins pick up dramatic win at Pittsburgh

Miami keeps playoff hopes alive

By David Lang - Executive Producer
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PITTSBURGH - The Miami Dolphins showed their all-weather capability Sunday at Heinz Field, where Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins took down the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-28.

Tannehill tossed three touchdown passes, including his second to tight end Charles Clay with 2:53 remaining, leading Miami's rally to keep alive their AFC playoff hopes. The Dolphins return home to prepare for the 10-3 New England Patriots this week.

Fins Flash: Dolphins win against Steelers

"Definitely a big win for us," running back Daniel Thomas said. "We have a do-or-die mentality and we need to keep doing that next week."

Tannehill marched the Dolphins' 80 yards in four plays on the winning drive, highlighted by Thomas' 55-yard run.

Miami (7-6) added a 27-yard field goal by Caleb Sturgis with 1:08 remaining and snapped a five-game losing streak against Pittsburgh with its second consecutive victory.

The Steelers (5-8) suffered their second loss in a row and will miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season. Wide receiver Antonio Brown came within 13 yards of scoring a touchdown as time expired. He was ruled out of bounds to end the game on what was nearly a six-lateral miracle ending for the Steelers.

"Football is a game of inches," said Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who was involved in the final play. "It just happened. It isn't like we drew it up or nothing. I thought it was a touchdown all the way. That would have been one of greatest plays ever if it had been allowed.

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"That was a special play, but then to see all the commotion, it definitely was heartbreaking. You definitely think you won the game and then you lose it, because they can't review it."

Tannehill completed 20 of 33 passes for 200 yards. In addition to his three touchdown passes, he also was intercepted once. Thomas finished with 105 yards rushing on 16 carries and a touchdown.

Roethlisberger, who completed 23 of 39 for 274 yards, tossed three touchdown passes for the Steelers and eclipsed Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw's franchise record for most in the regular season.

Strong safety Troy Polamalu also returned an interception 19 yards for a touchdown for the Steelers.

"I thought (Tannehill) played well," Miami coach Joe Philbin said. "Obviously, we can't give up the pick-six. I don't think it was all his fault. I thought he showed good presence in the pocket. I thought he threw the ball accurately."

Pittsburgh had gone ahead 28-24 early in the fourth quarter when Roethlisberger found an open Jerricho Cotchery for a 16-yard touchdown. It was Cotchery's team-leading ninth touchdown reception this year.

The Dolphins blew a 10-point lead in less than three minutes in the third quarter before rebounding to grab a 24-21 advantage on Tannehill's 4-yard touchdown pass to Brian Hartline that was overturned by review.

Miami led 17-7 early in the third quarter on Thomas' 4-yard run, but the Steelers erupted for two touchdowns in a span of 1:09 to go ahead 21-17.

Polamalu returned Tannehill's pass intended for Hartline 19 yards for a touchdown, giving the Steelers a 21-17 lead. It was Polamalu's third career interception in four career games against Miami, and the second interception returned for a score by Pittsburgh's secondary this season.

A short time earlier, Roethlisberger marched the Steelers 83 yards on four plays for a touchdown, capped by his 43-yard scoring strike to Brown that cut the Dolphins' lead to 17-14. Brown later became just the second receiver in team history to collect 90 receptions in a season, joining Hines Ward.

Tannehill tossed a 6-yard scoring strike to Clay midway through the second quarter, giving Miami a 10-7 lead. The score was set up by a Roethlisberger fumble, which Randy Starks recovered following a Cameron Wake sack.

Late in the first quarter, the Dolphins cut the Steelers' lead to 7-3 with 40 seconds left as Caleb Sturgis booted a 30-yard field goal. Tannehill's 48-yard run helped set up the kick.

"We gave up too many big plays - that's been the story of our season," Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen said.

The Steelers grabbed an early 7-0 lead when Roethlisberger, 9 of 13 passing for 82 yards in the first half, tossed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders with 4:20 remaining.

It was Roethlisberger's 213th career touchdown pass in the regular season, breaking Bradshaw's franchise record of 212.

NOTES: Pittsburgh drew a crowd of 52,489 -- 12,561 shy of capacity. … Cody Wallace became the third different player to start at center for the Steelers this season. … The Dolphins had two sacks, giving them 12 in past four games. … A mainstay on the left side of the defensive formation, LaMarr Woodley made his first career start at right outside linebacker for the Steelers. … Starting DE Brett Keisel (foot) and starting OT Kelvin Beachum (knee) were among the inactive players for the Steelers because of injuries. … Dolphins CB RJ Stanford (ankle) and RB Lamar Miller (concussion) were injured and did not return. … Miami WR Mike Williams was booed loudly in his return to Pittsburgh, where he played the previous four seasons. He finished with two catches for nine yards.

The Miami Dolphins picked up a dramatic win at Pittsburgh on Sunday to keep their playoff hopes alive.

The Dolphins beat the Steelers 34-28.

Charles Clay was the hero for the Dolphins.

He had 7 catches for 97 yards and two touchdowns.

Clay's second touchdown came in the fourth quarter with under 3 minutes to play to give Miami the lead for good.

Emmanuel Sanders put Pittsburgh up 7-0 in the first quarter on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger.

In the second quarter, Clay caught a 6-yard touchdown to put Miami up 10-7.

The third quarter was wild.

Both teams went back and forth.

Daniel Thomas scored a 4-yard touchdown to put Miami up 17-7.

The Steelers answered with an Antonio Brown 43-yard touchdown catch to cut Miami's lead to 17-14.

Ryan Tannehill made his biggest mistake of the game.

He threw an interception to Troy Polamalu who returned it 19-yards for a Pittsburgh touchdown.

Tannehill bounced back.

He hit Brian Hartline who made an acrobatic touchdown catch.

It was initially ruled out of bounds, but after a Joe Philbin challenge, the Dolphins had a 24-21 lead.

Jerricho Cotchery caught a 16-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to give Pittsburgh the lead, before Clay saved the day.

Caleb Sturgis added a field goal with just over a minute to play.

Antonio Brown nearly scored with no time left, but stepped out of bounds.

Miami (7-6) hosts New England next Sunday.

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