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Wild ruling helps Steelers survive in Miami in 23-22 win


The Steelers survived an officiating goof on Sunday afternoon against the Dolphins, and because of it the team is now 5-1 after a 23-22 win over the Dolphins.

The mistake happened on the Steelers last game-winning drive, as Ben Roethlisberger fumbled at the half yard line, and it seemed the Fins recovered it in the end zone for what could have been the death blow for the club.

After a long delay referee Gene Steratore announced that Roethlisberger fumbled before scoring. But Steratore said his crew had no clear evidence as to which team recovered the ball, and the Steelers were awarded possession at the half-yard line.

The ruling allowed Jeff Reed to kick an easy 19-yard field goal to give the team the one-point win and keep then in first place in the AFC North.

Roethlisberger was 19-for-27 for 302 yards with two touchdowns and a QB rating of 132.0. The Dolphins could have put the Steelers way behind the 8-ball early in the game as the Steelers had two turnovers the first two times they had the ball, but Miami only managed two field goals to lead 6-0.

The Steelers offense took over, with a Reed field goal, and then Roethlisberger hitting Hines Ward with a 21-yard score to make it 10-6. Then after another Miami field goal, Roethlisberger hit a pretty long ball to Mike Wallace for 53 yards to make it 17-9.

Miami got a late TD as Chad Henne hit Davone Bess with a 26-yard score to make it 17-16 at the half.

Both teams kicked field goals in the second half, as Dan Carpenter’s 40-yard field goal with 5:17 left make it 22-20. Emannuel Sanders took back the kickoff to the Fins 48, and the Steelers drove from there for the game winner.

The Steelers travel to New Orleans to play the Saints next week on Sunday night Football. The Saints lost to Cleveland Sunday 30-17.

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Hal

    October 24, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Just a quick question. How did the dolphins challenge a call with 2:30 left in the game with zero time outs?

  2. Jason

    October 24, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    They still had a timeout at that point (which they used immediately afterward).

  3. jay

    October 24, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Even though we won, this game still irritates me. In the first half, even with our gift six points off the two turnovers, I never once thought we were in trouble based on how we were able to move the ball. Ben and Wallace got deep and their were running lanes. Then, in the second half, after Miami made adjustments to keep us form throwing deep which I presume left the middle of the field open, WE, namely Arians, never made the counter adjustments!!!! Where was the intermediate passing game?!? Miami has a good defense but they’re not that good to take away everything and they took the shortest distance away between two points which was the run in the second half…They also took the deep ball away…The two adjustments by Miami were at polarizing ends of the defensive spectrum which means that something over the middle HAD to be open yet Arians called suck plays once again! (oh yeah, how about that great call towards the end of the first half when he called a reverse that got stuffed…killed the drive!!!!) Man F*&%# Bruce Arians! Our defense seems to be in a weird transitional phase in terms of the young linebackers we drafted….our intermediate pass coverage should get better as the season progresses…what might get worse is the inside pass rush especially with Smith now potentially out. We need young interior D-Linemen in a big way. This might be the offseason, depending on what we do this year in terms of how we finish, that we pick up a relatively big name free agent to lessen the pressure of having to replenish so much through the draft.

    • Split Testing

      October 25, 2010 at 8:22 am

      Most any 1 point win will irritate any fan or coach.

  4. jay

    October 24, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    Can someone, anyone, let me know how long Keisel is out for. i guess I’m retarded and can’t figure out which sites to go to to find this out on my on…Or someone could maybe pass along a link to how to find out how long injured players are out for. Who else do we have that is out for an extended period of time?

    • The Tony

      October 24, 2010 at 7:34 pm

      Jay, the Steelers will not being looking into the free agency to acquire defensive line help. I can assure you that the Steelers will build through the draft to help fill the needs. We simply can’t go out and sign a big name free agent because we do not have the cap room to make this acquisition possible. It is no doubt that we are lacking youthful depth on the defensive line, with the exception of Ziggy Hood. However I was impressed with the play of second rounder Jason Worilds. He was able to apply solid pressure when Woodley left the game, including the final play of the game when he forced a horrid pass from Henne, which locked up the win. Today’s game was plagued with injuries. Aaron Smith has torn triceps, which more than likely end his season. This can prove to be a crucial loss to our organization due to the fact that Smith has been the staple of our run defense for years. Now is the time for Ziggy Hood to step in and prove to the defense that he deserves to be the first round draft pick. It seems that every game we have another offensive lineman fall victim to the injury bug. It is never a good thing when three of our offensive lineman are Scott, LeGursky, and Hills all on the field together. I agree with you Jay, Arians yet again proved his inability to call a game and then make adjustments. There is no excuse to see Mendenhall on rush for 40 yards. I guess we are starting to revert back to the Bruce Arians Arial Circus! Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing Ben strike a 50 yard touchdown pass to Wallace, but as we saw last year, passing doesn’t take us to the playoffs. So today I am just going to be happy the we took our talents down to South Beach, pulled out a tough victory and now get to focus on the struggling Saints.

      • jay

        October 25, 2010 at 3:12 pm

        Tony,
        Yeah we typically don’t sign big names but Smith hits the cap at about 7-8 mil per year…that frees up space because I really don’t think he is coming back.

  5. Jason

    October 24, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    Jay, looks pretty open-ended right now: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10291/1096188-66.stm

  6. Jeff

    October 24, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    Crazy game 4 sure today with a controversial ending that I think we can all agree…We got a break. A win is a win though and the Steeler’s are in the top five teams in the NFL in my mind, all from the AFC. I’d include the Jets, Patriots, Ravens and either Fins/Titans. No one team in that group has really taken the top spot. You have to feel so sorry for Aaron Smith if it’s true that yet again he’s suffered a season ending injury. He is no doubt the key to that run defense and now Ziggy has to play to his #1 draft pick potential and help this team. Lawrence Timmons continues to thrill you with his closing speed. The offensive line is the only potential concern I have with that side of the ball. lack of depth again could be a problem. Everything else will come around. Ben needs to take better care of the ball though as he extends those terrific extended plays. Today,s game was another to add to the list of “man that Hines Ward is one tough dude”. The guy is the consummate Steeler player. 5 and 1 and off to the Big Easy… Hope Lamar’s hammy is OK this week as well

  7. GO RAVENS!

    October 24, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    Wow. What a gift from Gene Steratore. Enjoy first place while it’s being handed to you.

    • mark

      October 25, 2010 at 8:55 am

      Go Ravens, dont you think before Ray Lewis took that ball from the Wr in overtime, a whistle should have been blown? Forward progress was stopped, it was a melee that should have been blown dead. There is a “Hometown” gift!

      • The Tony

        October 25, 2010 at 8:58 am

        I agree, I was completely shocked to see that there was no whistle blown. The wideout was lifted off the field by both teams! That was ridiculous! If the Ravens are so good, then why did Buffalo go into Baltimore and get a big league to only get it stripped in OT.

      • GO RAVENS!

        October 25, 2010 at 7:30 pm

        Yeah it should’ve been blown. But Baltimore had them deep in their own territory. The call in the Steelers game was the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. The refs didn’t even know who recovered the ball.

        Big Ben gets away again! This team it won’t cost him a suspension 😀

  8. mark

    October 25, 2010 at 9:05 am

    5-1 is always better than 4-2. I expect Woodley and Adams to be fine. If not, I think the Steelers have enough depth at LB and enough able bodies at OL to get through a game or 2. The loss of Smith could be problematic, especcially if Kiesel is out as well. Hood and Eason will be fine, and Hood just may be able to generate the pass rush from the DE that the Steelers never really seem to embrace. Another pass rusher from a down lineman would in effect, help cover that over the middle pass that continues to torture the Steeler secondary. Hood’s presence can get Timmons,Farrior,Foote, or Harrison into drop-back zones more often and those LB are athletic enough to catch the ball or interrupt lanes. Yes, I am very optimistic about the defense maintaining a high level! As far as Arians is concerned, well, that abortion at the end of the 1st half was proof positive that Arians struggles to dictate terms to defenses. That drive had the makings of a back-breaker to the Dolphins and what do we get instead: A reverse that gets mangled and bad clock management. How abouyt a screen? a throw to the endzone? Hell, any play to get closer for Reed and answer the TD by the Dolphins with at least 3? I think there was 1:20 when we got the ball in great field position, Ben did his thing and and the Fins were reeling!! That reverse, in a BAD area to call it, killed that drive and gave the fish, who got the ball at the start of the 3rd, momentum! Arians should have gone for the kill-shot!

  9. Adam C

    October 25, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Hmmm both Steratore the ref who made the ruling on the review and Berger the guy that signaled TD are from the Pittsburgh area. Not that it matters because the Steelers get the calls no matter where the refs are from. I mean how does a player knock 2 opposing players out cold with helmet to helmet hits and gets fined $75,000 and yet still doesn’t get flagged. It’s not just the Steelers that get favored by refs, the Patriots for example do. The Steelers however have been steeling wins since the ’70s from the emaculate reception to the Super Bowl XL debacle in which ref Bill Leavy later owned up to blowing calls in the game. If the Cowboys are America’s Team then the Steelers are certainly the Official’s Team.

    • mark

      October 25, 2010 at 4:55 pm

      Hey Adam, spell Immaculate right, and then we can take you seriously!

  10. DrGeorge

    October 25, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Jay and The Tony saw the same deficiencies in Arians’ play calling that I did, and I’m not going to belabor the points they made. I will only add that it isn’t only what he calls, but also his poor timing. The double-reverse in the RedZone was only one of many. The Steelers are offensively one of the most predictable offenses in the NFL. I will acknowledge his success with the aerial circus, but he simply doesn’t understand the rushing game and its strategic value. The fact that our linemen keep getting injured and that Ben still hasn’t shaken off all the rust may provide Arians the excuse he needs to revert to his beloved aerial circus, but it wasn’t a winning formula last year and won’t be this year. We simply must figure out a way to run the ball consistently well and to introduce a little surprise in the offense, if only to make the passing game effective.

    In the pre-season, Jay and I had a discussion about our aging D-line. The recent injuries to Keisel (hopefully short-term) and A. Smith (probably career ending) sadly illustrate the point I made then: aging athletes are simply more fragile, and the Steelers D is chockful of them. Sooner or later, the parts wear out in a game as physical as football. The result at Miami was the obvious lack of a pass rush after Smith’s departure; our D simply didn’t get to Henne, who looked much better than he really is because he faced so little pressure. We simply haven’t got the talent on this roster to replace those two DEs, and that doesn’t bode well for the balance of the season, notwithstanding some good play from Worilds. LeBeau has a spit-and-glue job ahead of him in order to revamp the D-line in time for the Saints. That won’t be easy.

    Altogether, it’s good to have the W, guys — but it was a very expensive victory in Miami.

  11. jay

    October 25, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Well said, Dr. George (okay, I suddenly feel like a sidekick)…Anyway, in your estimation, with Smith’s cap hit (about 7-8 mil) officially off the books as of 2011 (he is in his last year), can the Steelers use that surplus to sign a (big name) free agent or will they use it to resign Woodley and Colon??? OR, can they do both (resign Woodley & Colon AND a [big name] free agent)? I ask because they simply don’t have the personnel to be able to replenish through the draft! Imagine we make it far this year but fall short of the Super Bowl. DOn’t you think with the freed up cap space AND the loss of a great player like Smith that it would be time to grab a free agent? We did it in 2002 (or 2003) with Farrior who ironically might not be back which frees up even more space. The caveat to all this is there are a plethora of maturing contracts on this roster which may eat into the cap as much as if not more than Smith’s departure frees it up?!? It sucks but I don’t see how we can be on the cusp of so close where the only thing that puts us over the edge is a key sign. And I’m not talking about being like Washington who oversigns. Just looking for one good, key player to come in at a reasonable price and not mess with the chemistry.

    • DrGeorge

      October 26, 2010 at 12:16 pm

      Jay, I hate to wimp out on a direct question from anyone who can use ‘plethora’ correctly in a sentence, but honestly, I don’t know enough about the pending contracts to respond intelligently. So here comes a long-winded ‘maybe.’

      Woodley would seem to be a top priority, and Colon if his price is reasonable. I agree with you regarding the draft: once again, we don’t have enough picks to fill all the holes, and for that reason, we will be in the free agent market, but prudently. The Steelers rarely pay big bucks for an FA, and I doubt that they will this year unless another Farrior-quality athlete becomes available. But they are willing to pick up affordable FAs, as they did this year — Adams, Allen, McFadden, Randel El — and they will again this off-season. Some as starters, some as backups. It’s a financial juggling act.

      You are right to focus on those big contracts reaching maturity; how many can the Steelers afford to keep? My guess is that some familiar faces won’t be with us next season simply because of the cost and the large number of guys nearing retirement. There were few Steelers better than Alan Faneca, but even he reached the point where his declining years of productivity didn’t justify the cost; and the Steelers coaching staff did a good job of moving on without him. There is talk that Manning might not be back with Indy for the same reason (talk about freeing up cap space!). Even the best can be replaced, not completely perhaps, but satisfactorily.

      I look for the Steelers to go on a youth movement over the next two years. From the looks of last year’s draft, it’s already underway. And we will say good-bye to some really talented older guys who can make more money elsewhere for a year or two than the Steelers are willing to pay. That’s the unhappy reality of the existing system, and the Steelers understand and play that system as well as anyone.

  12. SB Steeler

    October 25, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    I don’t know what the rule is but yeah, I’m glad the Steelers won. And I don’t know how that decision was made but I doubt it was made by a single referee. Whistles were blown, a TD signal was given, so what is the rule when that happens? Anyone know for sure? So far I have not read that a single journalist actually looked up the rule(s) and/or or got an explanation from NFL offices in NYC. Also, Timmons was held in endzone when Dolphins scored their first TD. No call. Was that cheating too or is it only cheating when the Steelers get the call? Anyone else remember when NFL notified Cowher multiple times that refs made a mistake the Monday after 2 losses? The score stood and the Steelers lost on blown calls. What about the time when the refs appeared to favor John Elway in AFC championship gave vs Steelers? Allegedly one ref was heard to say that this could be Elway’s last shot for a SB. Sit happens.

  13. Pingback: Throwback Thursday: Wild Ruling Helps Steelers Top Dolphins in 2010 - Steelers Gab

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