They brought in the Perfect Season team. They wore their perfect throwback uniforms. And while the Miami Dolphins didn’t play perfectly against the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday night it was definitely good enough.
Field Goal Decision Almost Cost Dolphins
Fittingly, this game almost haunted the Dolphins because of a field goal — one that Mike McDaniel chose not to kick on fourth down from the Steelers’ 11 yard line in the third quarter. He went for it on fourth down instead and the Dolphins were stopped.
Historians and people of a certain age will recall the ’72 Dolphins’ season was threatened by a fateful field goal situation in Super Bowl VII when Garo Yepremian decided he’d try to throw a pass that was intercepted by Mike Bass and returned for a touchdown.
The Dolphins survived that moment as they did this one.
But McDaniel, in his first season, must learn from tonight as much as any of his players. He needs to take that field goal and make the game a two-score affair.
Miami ended a three-game losing skid and more importantly got back the momentum it had before quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered a concussion and was forced to miss a couple of games as a result.
Tagovailoa had a solid return, completing 21 of 35 passes for 261 yards with 1 TD pass.
Tagovailoa said on NBC’s pregame show he had to be smart about avoiding hits to extend his career. He told the network he had to get rid of the ball quickly and slide.
And then the game started, the adrenaline began to flow and Tagovailoa took off an a scramble and finished it by lowering his head into the tackler.
And the thing about it is he did it a couple of times, adding another scramble in the second half.
Dolphins Coming In Hot
The Dolphins started hot, scoring a touchdown, field goal and field goal on their first three drives to take a 13-0 first-quarter lead.
But they got bogged down afterward and the Steelers turned the game into a ball possession and field position game. That’s how they closed to within 16-10.
And, of course, then it was time to sweat after Mike McDaniel decided against a short field goal attempt in the second-half to make it a 9-point and two-possession game. Yeah, analytics aren’t always the best way to go.
Anyway, the Steelers continued to play their game and actually got inside the Miami red zone in the fourth quarter when they suffered consecutive penalties — an illegal shift and holding call — that put Pittsburgh behind the sticks.
Then Jevon Holland picked off, wait for it, Pickett to give the Dolphins a great chance to close out the game. The Dolphins, however, did not close out the game.
Tagovailoa, who threw four interceptions that were dropped, delivered his fourth of the night to give the Steelers the ball right back with 2:31 to play.
It was if the Dolphins were trying to lose, people.
Noah Igbinoghene Seals It
The Dolphins were ultimately bailed out by reserve cornerback Noah Igbinoghene, who intercepted a pass at the goal line with only 18 seconds to play to seal Miami’s victory.
The Steelers see their record drop to a disappointing 2-5.
The Dolphins are now 4-3 and celebrating like it was 1972.
Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero