Final

Steelers 23

(5-1, 3-0 away)

Dolphins 22

(3-3, 0-3 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, October 24, 2010

Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL 

1 2 3 4 T
PIT 0 17 3 323
MIA 6 10 3 322

Top Performers

Passing: B. Roethlisberger (PIT) - 302 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: R. Williams (MIA) - 11 CAR, 48 YDS

Receiving: H. Ward (PIT) - 7 REC, 131 YDS, 1 TD

Big Ben fumbles, but lack of replay evidence saves Steelers

ESPN.com news services

MIAMI -- Ben Roethlisberger and several other players waged an end-zone scrum for a loose ball so frantic the officials were unable to determine a winner.

That gave the game to the Steelers.

A video review determined Roethlisberger's late touchdown was instead a fumble, but because it was unclear who recovered, Pittsburgh kept the ball and kicked the game-winning field goal on the next play to beat the Miami Dolphins 23-22.

"Just a bizarre kind of play. You hate to win it that way, but you'll take a win," Roethlisberger said.

Said Miami linebacker Channing Crowder: "The refs called a wonderful game -- for the Steelers."

With Pittsburgh trailing 22-20 and facing third-and-goal at the 2, Roethlisberger fumbled as he dived across the goal line on a quarterback draw. The play was ruled a touchdown as both teams scrambled for the ball.

After a review, referee Gene Steratore announced Roethlisberger fumbled before scoring. But Steratore said replays were inconclusive regarding which team recovered, and the Steelers were awarded possession at the half-yard line, allowing Jeff Reed to kick an 18-yard field goal with 2:26 left.

"I have to have clear video evidence of the team recovering the fumble," Steratore said after the game. "It is a pile of bodies in there, and you don't have a clear recovery."

Several Dolphins argued Miami linebacker Ikaika Alama-Francis recovered. Did the Steelers steal one?

"We will take it and exit stage left," coach Mike Tomlin said.

AFC North leader Pittsburgh improved to 5-1 and remained unbeaten on the road. The Steelers won despite losing three starters with injuries: linebacker LaMarr Woodley (hamstring), defensive end Aaron Smith (left arm) and tackle Flozell Adams (left ankle).

Tomlin told reporters after the game that Smith tore the triceps in his left arm.

Miami fell to 3-3, with all the defeats at home and all the wins on the road.

Roethlisberger, playing his second game since returning from his suspension, finished 19 for 27 for 302 yards and two scores. But the Dolphins' point total was the highest against stingy Pittsburgh this year.

The game was the first for the league's top-scoring defense since the NFL crackdown on illegal hits, a move precipitated in part by a helmet hit by Pittsburgh's James Harrison, who drew a $75,000 fine.

Maybe that robbed the Steelers of some zeal. Harrison said he held back once when tackling Ronnie Brown.

"I didn't want to get a helmet-to-helmet," Harrison said.

With the Steelers at less than their best defensively, the Dolphins' Chad Henne threw for 257 yards, and they took the 22-20 lead when Dan Carpenter kicked his fifth field goal with 5:17 left.

Emmanuel Sanders returned the kickoff 48 yards against the Dolphins' shaky kick-coverage unit, and when Mewelde Moore turned a short pass into a 29-yard gain, the Steelers appeared on the verge of victory.

On third-and-goal, Roethlisberger took two steps back, then ran up the middle and lunged for the end zone. Chris Clemons hit him to jar the ball loose.

"I thought he broke my arm, he hit me so hard," Roethlisberger said. "My arm kind of went numb."

The debate about what happened next continued long after the game.

"I saw the ball sitting right in front of me," Roethlisberger said. "One of their guys jumped on it, and it squirted between them, so I was able to grab it under the pile."

Roethlisberger said he cradled the ball in his right arm, but he conceded a Dolphins player -- Francis -- also had a piece of it.

"I'm not denying he wasn't holding onto it," Roethlisberger said. "How do you tell who recovered the ball?"

Francis said he stood up with the ball.

"I just don't understand the ruling," he said. "I had possession."

The crowd booed as Reed trotted onto the field to kick the winner. The Dolphins had a chance to make the ruling moot with a last-minute comeback, but they lost the ball on downs, gaining only 4 yards in four plays.

The Dolphins recovered fumbles at the Pittsburgh 22 and 13 in the first 2 minutes but settled for a field goal each time. Their failure to take control early proved costly.

"We shouldn't have put it in the refs' hands," Crowder said. "As we see, they can make some bad calls sometimes."

Game notes


Miami kick returner Nolan Carroll left the game with an ankle injury. ... Magic Johnson stood near the Dolphins bench before the game visiting with team owner Stephen Ross. ... For the second consecutive game, the Dolphins didn't use the wildcat. ... The Steelers have defeated Miami five times in a row.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
PIT
MIA
1st Downs1515
Passing 1st downs
1213
Rushing 1st downs
22
1st downs from Penalties
10
3rd down efficiency
6-153-12
4th down efficiency
0-00-1
Total Plays5758
Total Yards348313
Yards per play6.15.4
Total Drives1111
Passing290249
Comp - Att
19-2723-36
Yards per pass
10.76.9
Interceptions thrown
01
Sacks - Yards Lost
3-121-8
Rushing5864
Rushing Attempts
2721
Yards per rush
2.13.0
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-30-3
Penalties5-343-24
Turnovers22
Fumbles lost
21
Interceptions thrown
01
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession30:4929:11

Passing Leaders

PITC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Roethli...19/2730211.2203-12
MIAC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Henne23/362577.1111-8

Rushing Leaders

PITCARYDSAVGTDLG
Mendenhall15372.509
Moore4112.8016
MIACARYDSAVGTDLG
Williams11484.4011
Brown9141.606

Receiving Leaders

PITRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Ward713118.714310
Wallace25326.51534
MIARECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Bess66611.01267
Hartline55711.40245

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERPITMIA
miaFG14:02Dan Carpenter 39 Yd 03
miaFG11:15Dan Carpenter 23 Yd 06
SECOND QUARTERPITMIA
pitFG14:14Jeff Reed 22 Yd 36
pitTD11:11Hines Ward 21 Yd Pass From Ben Roethlisberger (Jeff Reed Kick) 106
miaFG06:03Dan Carpenter 22 Yd 109
pitTD05:47Mike Wallace 53 Yd Pass From Ben Roethlisberger (Jeff Reed Kick) 179
miaTD01:50Davone Bess 26 Yd Pass From Chad Henne (Dan Carpenter Kick) 1716
THIRD QUARTERPITMIA
pitFG05:32Jeff Reed 39 Yd 2016
miaFG01:08Dan Carpenter 37 Yd 2019
FOURTH QUARTERPITMIA
miaFG05:17Dan Carpenter 40 Yd 2022
pitFG02:26Jeff Reed 18 Yd 2322

Research Notes

Hines Ward has now recorded a reception in 184 straight games, passing Art Monk for the 4th-longest streak in NFL history. Ward's streak dates back to 1998. He is one away from tying Terrell Owens for the 3rd-longest streak. The record is held by who caught a pass in 274 straight games.
  [+]

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