Gerry Dulac's report card: Dolphins 30, Steelers 15

Quarterback F

Ben Roethlisberger was on his way to his worst statistical game in eight years before he completed 8 of 10 passes for 97 yards in a comeback attempt near the end of the game. Until then, he didn’t have a completion longer than 16 yards, completed just 45 percent of his throws and had two interceptions. His passer rating of 57.1 was his lowest since Dec 19, 2011 in San Francisco (52.3).

Running backs  C

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger exited Sunday’s game with a knee injury in the second quarter. (Video by Jason Mackey; 10/16/16)

Steelers beat writers Ed Bouchette and Gerry Dulac recap the team’s loss to the Dolphins Sunday. (Video by Matt Freed; 10/16/2016)

After rushing for 51 yards on eight carries in the first half, Le’Veon Bell had just two more carries for 2 yards in the second half because the Steelers tried to play catch-up. Bell also caught six passes for 55 yards, including a catch-and-run for 18 yards on the final scoring drive. The Steelers finished with 128 yards rushing on 16 carries, but 60 came on a reverse for touchdown by Darrius Heyward-Bey.

Receivers F

Roethlisberger couldn’t get the ball to his receivers with any type of regularity after Antonio Brown had just four catches for 39 yards and Heyward-Bey and Sammie Coates didn’t have a reception. And two of Brown’s catches came in the final two minutes. Brown was being bracketed by a safety for most of the game, which means other receivers are going to have to get open. And it just didn’t happen.

Offensive line D-

The running game was effective in the first half, gaining 119 yards on 13 carries, though 60 of those yards came on Heyward-Bey’s touchdown run on a reverse. But they failed to exploit the league’s worst rush defense that was allowing 150.2 yards per game. What’s more, the protection was terrible and the penalties were just as bad, disrupting any flow the Steelers were trying to gain.

Defensive line F

It was apparent how much the Steelers missed Cam Heyward (hamstring) because there was no pressure on QB Ryan Tannehill, the second-most sacked QB in the league. The Steelers allowed the second-worst rushing offense in the league to gain 222 yards on 36 carries, including 166 in the second half — the most yards by an opponent since Jacksonville had 244 in December 2007.

Linebackers F

The defense made a running back who never had more than 48 yards in a game look like Walter Payton, and much of the fault came from this unit. Jay Ajayi had 204 yards rushing on 25 carries —the most by an opposing back since Jacksonville’s Fred Taylor (234) in 2000.

The lack of pressure from the edge was downright embarrassing, and the run support wasn’t much better.

Secondary F

It was not a good game on many fronts, and included letting Miami receivers get open on deep passes of 53 and 39 yards from Ryan Tannehill, leading to 10 points. CB William Gay was caught looking in the backfield on the first and thought he had deep help on the second. He also dropped an easy interception that could have turned the game around. Mike Mitchell had two more post-whistle penalties.


Special teams F

It was the worst game of the season for P Jordan Berry, who had punts of 38, 27 and 25 yards in the first half that helped the Dolphins with field position on three scoring drives. And, in games when the offense is struggling, it becomes incumbent on special teams to make a big play. And it didn’t happen. The only significant contribution was a blocked field goal in the third quarter by Dan McCullers.

Coaching  F

The penchant for losing games to inferior teams has become something of a signature for Mike Tomlin, and typically they occur in seasons that don’t end well for the Steelers (2009, 2012, 2013). It was an embarrassing performance by the defense, allowing a 200-yard rusher for the first time in 16 years and failing to register a sack against the second-most sacked quarterback in the league.

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