The Dolphins travel to Pittsburgh on Sunday to face a Steelers team that is also in the hunt for the 6th playoff spot (though on life support at 5-7) and are fresh off a week of moderate controversy surrounding their head coach kinda sorta accidentally meandering onto the field. On paper, these are two extremely similar teams so it'll be interesting to see if the new-look Dolphins can string two wins in a row and beat Pittsburgh for the first time since 1998.
Here are four things to watch for:
1. Revenge for 2010
The last time these two teams met was in 2010 and left a bad taste in every Dolphins fan's mouth after some questionable officiating at the very end allowed Pittsburgh to run out of Sun Life with a bullshit victory.
As you can see, Miami should have recovered Roethlisberger's fumble in the end zone and at least force Pittsburgh to drive the length of the field to get back into field goal position via punt even if they failed to convert a first down after taking over at the 20. However, Gene Steratore -- a Pittsburgh native -- said 'naaaah, fuck that' and came up with some mumbo jumbo-ass officiating grey area that allowed Pittsburgh to retain the ball and kick a winning field goal. Second only to our winless record against Houston, the Steelers have been arguable the most annoying opponent in recent years. From the rainy home game that was a total sludgefest loss in 2004 to Daunte Culpepper's raining shitfire 'debut' in 2006 and even including the game that killed Pat White in January 2010. We are due to beat these assholes and IT'S OUR TIME, GODDAMMIT. The billboards said so!!
2. Mike Wallace Comes Back to Pittsburgh
Mike Wallace has generally been an infuriating, $60 million mistake for much of the season but quietly he's been getting better over the last two games. He's scored in back-to-back games and was used in more creative ways to get Wallace in space including in the slot, quick screens and across the middle of the field. Ike Taylor, the Steelers' best cornerback, hasn't exactly been shutting shit down on his side of the field lately so it will be up to Wallace to decide. Do you want to go in there like LeBron going back to Cleveland and wreck ass? Or are you going to shit the bed and disappear like much of the season?
3. Tale of Two Crappy O-Lines
The Steelers are playing on their, like, 8th center and their left tackle as well as their right guard are all banged up. This is blood in the water for the Dolphins' aggressive front. Here's to hoping the Dolphins come full-on rapid dogs style at the Steelers' offensive line and go after Roethlisberger hard. Brent Grimes is playing at a Pro Bowl level so he'll likely be able to handle Antonio Brown much of the game but the Dolphins will have to win this game with max pressure on this depleted o-line.
4. If You Get To Roethlisberger, You Better Make Sure You Bring Him Down
Man, he's a squiggly, worm-y fucker. No one in the NFL is better at shaking off tackles then slinging the ball 40 yards down the field than Roethlisberger. He's 5-0 against the Dolphins and there's been more than a few times the Dolphins (and every other NFL team) have seemingly had him pinned only to watch him wiggle his way out of 2 or 3 tacklers. IF YOU GOT IT, JUMP ON IT, BOYS! We're looking at you, Cam Wake!
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The Dolphins take on the Steelers this Sunday at Heinz Field. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.