News & Analysis

NFL Week 8 PFF ReFocused: Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Miami Dolphins 14

Mason Rudolph and the Pittsburgh Steelers rallied back from an early 14-0 deficit to score 27 unanswered points and beat the Miami Dolphins at home, 27-14.

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PFF's ReFocused series features immediate takeaways from the two analysts who graded the game live. The two offer a detailed breakdown of the game's most notable performances before the grades and advanced stats are reviewed and finalized by Senior Analysts.

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Final score

Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Miami Dolphins 14

Pittsburgh Steelers

Mason Rudolph targeted JuJu Smith-Schuster on an out route, but John Jenkins pushed Maurkice Pouncey into Rudolph as he threw the ball. Dolphins veteran cornerback Xavien Howard intercepted the pass on the play. Later in the game, Rudolph threw behind James Washington on a crossing route and hit Howard in the chest, but he wasn't able to hold onto the interception. Rudolph’s best throw of the night was a beautifully placed go route to Smith-Schuster down the right sideline for a gain of 34 yards.

Rookie wideout Diontae Johnson turned a shallow crossing route against a blitz into a 45-yard touchdown at the end of the second quarter. Smith-Schuster made the play of the game on a vertical route where he had to turn back and pluck the ball off the helmet of Chris Lammons for a touchdown.

T.J. Watt dominated Miami right tackle Jesse Davis all night. He came up big in the fourth quarter too, forcing two fumbles on Ryan Fitzpatrick, one of which he recovered himself while the other was to end the game. Pittsburgh's defensive line put forth a good effort against a poor Miami offensive line unit, with Bud Dupree and Cam Heyward having big nights, as well.

Minkah Fitzpatrick showed out against his former team, picking off two Ryan Fitzpatrick passes. One of these was a pass that ricocheted into the air after a drop, while the other was on an overthrown deep ball.

Miami Dolphins

Xavien Howard intercepted Mason Rudolph to start the game. Howard also broke up a deep pass down the right sideline intended for JuJu Smith-Schuster in the second quarter. Howard broke up another Rudolph pass in the second quarter but wasn't able to make the interception.

Taco Charlton knocked the ball out of Rudolph’s hand for a strip-sack, but David DeCastro was able to fall on the fumble. Sam Eguavoen sacked of Rudolph on a designed roll-out.

Ryan Fitzpatrick showed nothing to justify why he continues to start over Josh Rosen. Miami is putting itself in a corner by not seeing what it has in the youngster and continuing to trot out a 36-year-old quarterback on what is clearly a tanking roster.

Miami's offensive line had a very poor showing against a stout Pittsburgh defensive line in both pass protection and run blocking. Devante Parker and Preston Williams were the primary targets in the passing game, but neither did much worthy of note.

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