Final

Steelers 30

(9-7, 3-5 away)

Dolphins 24

(7-9, 4-4 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, January 3, 2010

Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL 

1 2 3 4 T
PIT 14 3 7 630
MIA 7 3 0 1424

Top Performers

Passing: B. Roethlisberger (PIT) - 220 YDS, 3 TD

Rushing: R. Mendenhall (PIT) - 20 CAR, 94 YDS

Receiving: D. Bess (MIA) - 5 REC, 85 YDS, 1 TD

Steelers' defense sidelines two Dolphins' QBs in victory

ESPN.com news services

MIAMI -- On the brink of elimination from the playoff race, the Pittsburgh Steelers averted a fourth-quarter collapse to extend their season.

It ended three hours later.

Fast Facts

• Pittsburgh finished the regular season on a three-game win streak after losing its previous five games.

• Ben Roethlisberger went 18 for 27 for 220 yards and three TDs, and the Steelers held off a late Dolphins' rally to stay alive for a playoff spot.

• Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall both had more than 90 rushing yards for the Steelers, who had a season-high 202 yards on the ground.

• After Chad Henne and Pat White both left the game with injuries, Tyler Thigpen rallied Miami with two TDs to cut the deficit to 27-24, but then threw interceptions on the Dolphins' final two drives.

• Miami finished the season with three straight losses and its 7-9 record is their third losing season in the last four years.

• Bloggers' wrapups

• Rapid reaction

-- ESPN Stats & Information

The reigning Super Bowl champions sent two Miami quarterbacks to the sideline, including Pat White with a scary head injury, and beat the Dolphins 30-24 Sunday. But Pittsburgh (9-7) was eliminated when Baltimore clinched an AFC wild-card berth by winning at Oakland, 21-13.

"I'd rather we go out with a win than a loss," said Ben Roethlisberger, who threw three touchdown passes.

The Dolphins (7-9), who won the AFC East last season, were eliminated with 2 minutes left in their game when Houston beat New England. The Dolphins spent much of the season trying to recover from an 0-3 start, climbed above .500 for the first time at 7-6, then lost their final three games.

Their drought without a playoff win is now nine seasons long.

"I told the team 7-9 is mediocre, and mediocrity is not going to be accepted here," second-year coach Tony Sparano said.

Pittsburgh was undone by losses to the woeful Chiefs, Raiders and Browns in a span of 19 days during a late-season five-game losing streak.

"We didn't do what we were supposed to do and take care of our business," receiver Santonio Holmes said. "Therefore we have to suffer with what happens."

Plenty of Steelers fans stayed with their team until the end. Many in the stadium wore black and gold, and the visiting team provided lots to cheer about.

LaMarr Woodley led the defensive charge with two sacks, two tackles for a loss and three quarterback hurries. Rashard Mendenhall ran for 94 yards and Willie Parker added 91.

But the crowd grew silent when White was carted off the field with a head injury following a helmet-to-helmet collision with cornerback Ike Taylor. White moved his arms and legs before leaving the field after an eight-minute delay, and he was taken to a hospital for examination.

A source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that White suffered a concussion.

"I told him, 'I hope you feel better, man,'" said Taylor, who was unhurt. "You never want to see a guy down like that. He kept repeating, 'Thanks,' and I just kept telling him to get better."

Miami starter Chad Henne sat out the second half with an eye injury that blurred his vision, and when the rookie White departed with 2 minutes left in the third quarter, Tyler Thigpen made his first appearance for the Dolphins.

They trailed 27-10 before Thigpen led touchdown drives on his first two series.

"It irritates the heck out of you," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "But I didn't sense a great deal of panic. The guys made the necessary plays to keep us in it."

With 6 minutes left and the score 27-24, Joey Porter recovered Roethlisberger's fumble on a sack at the Steelers 13 to give Miami a chance to take the lead. But Thigpen was intercepted by Ryan Clark at the 2.

Roethlisberger appeared to favor his throwing arm during the next possession, but he led Pittsburgh on a 14-play, 83-yard drive. It ended with Jeff Reed's third field goal for a 30-24 lead with 40 seconds left.

Taylor intercepted Thigpen on Miami's next play to seal the outcome.

"Unlucky there at the end throwing two interceptions," Thigpen said. "Both I would like to get back."

The Steelers never had to turn to their backup quarterback, but Roethlisberger said he needed to see a doctor after the game. He declined to discuss his injury.

Pittsburgh found some consolation in winning its final three games after the five-game skid.

"There are a lot of teams that are capable of going 6-10 facing the circumstances this group was faced with," Tomlin said. "They knuckled down, they hung together. They did the best of their ability to fix it. We won the last three ball games and gave ourselves a chance."

Roethlisberger finished with 26 touchdown passes by throwing for scores covering 5 yards to Holmes, 54 yards to Mike Wallace and 3 yards to Heath Miller. Roethlisberger passed for 220 yards and ended the season at 4,328.

The Steelers added 202 yards rushing, held Ricky Williams to 31 and came up with three interceptions.

"We finished the season the way we were supposed to," Holmes said.

Game notes


Miami CB Vontae Davis left the game in the first half with a left wrist injury. ... Steelers safety Troy Polamalu (knee) was again inactive. ... LB Jason Taylor became the fourth Dolphins player to start a game in three decades. ... Miami FB Lousaka Polite was successful in his only third-down carry to finish 16 for 16 on third- and fourth-down conversions.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
PIT
MIA
1st Downs2220
Passing 1st downs
1111
Rushing 1st downs
96
1st downs from penalties
23
3rd down efficiency
7-147-12
4th down efficiency
1-10-0
Total Plays6758
Total Yards403303
Yards per play6.05.2
Total Drives1211
Passing201204
Comp-Att
18-2820-30
Yards per pass
6.56.2
Interceptions thrown
13
Sacks-Yards Lost
3-193-19
Rushing20299
Rushing Attempts
3625
Yards per rush
5.64.0
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-62-4
Penalties5-403-45
Turnovers23
Fumbles lost
10
Interceptions thrown
13
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession32:0927:51

Passing Leaders

PITC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Roethlisberger18/272208.1303-19
Holmes0/100.0010-0
MIAC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Henne16/201407.0112-10
Thigpen4/88310.4120-0

Rushing Leaders

PITCARYDSAVGTDLG
Mendenhall20944.7036
Parker12917.6034
MIACARYDSAVGTDLG
Williams12312.6016
White5275.4010

Receiving Leaders

PITRECYDSAVGTDLG
Wallace26432.0154
Ward8617.6013
MIARECYDSAVGTDLG
Bess58517.0134
Fasano24120.5027

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERPITMIA
pitTD8:07Santonio Holmes 5 Yard Pass From Ben Roethlisberger (Jeff Reed Kick is Good)
Drive info: 12 plays, 80 yds, 6:58
70
miaTD3:25Lex Hilliard 11 Yard Pass From Chad Henne (Dan Carpenter Kick is Good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 66 yds, 4:44
77
pitTD0:35Mike Wallace 54 Yard Pass From Ben Roethlisberger (Jeff Reed Kick is Good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 67 yds, 2:53
147
SECOND QUARTERPITMIA
miaFG9:24Dan Carpenter 25 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 13 plays, 61 yds, 6:04
1410
pitFG5:36Jeff Reed 22 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 9 plays, 52 yds, 3:49
1710
THIRD QUARTERPITMIA
pitTD3:51Heath Miller 3 Yard Pass From Ben Roethlisberger (Jeff Reed Kick is Good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 90 yds, 4:18
2410
FOURTH QUARTERPITMIA
pitFG14:01Jeff Reed 21 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 8 plays, 51 yds, 2:37
2710
miaTD11:32Brian Hartline 16 Yard Run (Dan Carpenter Kick is Good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 61 yds, 2:33
2717
miaTD8:46Davone Bess 34 Yard Pass From Tyler Thigpen (Dan Carpenter Kick is Good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 62 yds, 1:15
2724
pitFG0:45Jeff Reed 33 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 14 plays, 83 yds, 5:30
3024