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Miami at Pittsburgh

Steelers avoid scoreless tie, splash past winless Dolphins on late FG

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PITTSBURGH -- A terrible field and dreadful weather caused the Dolphins and Steelers to rewind to a different NFL era, a time when points came at a premium and one field goal could decide a game.

They trudged through the quagmire of Heinz Field, nearly going all night without scoring. Nearly.

Jeff Reed's 24-yard field goal with 17 seconds left Monday night gave Pittsburgh a 3-0 victory against winless Miami, the first time in 64 years an NFL game went that long without any points.

It was the league's lowest-scoring game since Dec. 11, 1993, when the New York Jets beat Washington 3-0. The Detroit Lions and New York Giants played the NFL's last scoreless tie on Nov. 7, 1943.

"Those conditions, whew, they were horrendous," Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward said after daylong rain and new sod created awful playing conditions. "The footing was bad, all of a sudden you'd hit a water puddle and sink down. Some of defensive backs were scared about falling down and giving up a big play."

Hanging with the first-place Steelers (8-3) for 59½ minutes, Miami (0-11) almost pushed this mess to overtime, where Pittsburgh is 0-2 this season, but the Dolphins managed only 159 yards while going nowhere nearly all night.

"That's what I was afraid of -- overtime," Steelers linebacker Larry Foote said. "You just knew it was going to be a 3-0 game, a 6-0 game."

The only scoring drive started on the Dolphins 42 after Miami punted out of its end zone. Ben Roethlisberger drove the Steelers into field-goal range with completions of 21, 11 and 6 yards to Ward.

Reed, who had missed badly from 45 yards earlier on the rain-drenched field, came through after Roethlisberger was sacked on third down.

"You put new sod in and weather like this, it's not a good combination," Reed said. "I planted (on his first field goal try) and the whole sod moved over."

Miami's start is the worst for any team since the Lions began 0-12 in 2001. They finished 2-14.

And while the Dolphins keep heading toward the infamy of a winless record, the New England Patriots (11-0) are striving to duplicate Miami's perfect season in 1972.

NFL games have been played in downpours and blizzards, and the aftermath of a hurricane -- the Steelers-Dolphins game in Miami in September 2004, won by Pittsburgh 13-3 -- but this was a first: a lightning and heavy rain delay in a late November game in Pittsburgh.

Lightning chased the players off the field during the pregame warmups, and the teams were given only nine minutes for additional warmups before the game started at 8:55 p.m., 25 minutes later than scheduled.

After five high school and college games were played at Heinz Field last weekend, crews hurriedly put down a new layer of sod atop the chewed-up turf for Monday night's game.

"It was like being on the beach in the sand on every play," said Miami linebacker Joey Porter, the former Steelers star playing against his old team for the first time.

The delayed start meant no Star-Spangled Banner or player introductions. The rain washed away nearly all the yard lines on a new grass field that had been in place less than 24 hours, and Heinz Field crews hurriedly put down new lines at halftime.

"It was nasty," Miami linebacker Channing Crowder said.

The offenses didn't need to be introduced, considering how little yardage was gained. With huge divots being kicked up play after play, the Steelers had 112 yards and the Dolphins only 71 by halftime, even with Miami running back Ricky Williams back on the field, at least for a few minutes.

The 2002 NFL rushing champion, reinstated last week following a drug-related suspension, carried six times for 15 yards in his first game since Jan. 1, 2006, before injuring his shoulder.

"My No. 1 concern coming into the game was that you hurry a guy back, obviously you can get hurt," Miami coach Cam Cameron said.

Already without injured running back Ronnie Brown, the Dolphins also lost Jesse Chatman (neck). Chatman, who started the previous three games, was questionable with a sore ankle going into the game.

The field was covered during the daylong rain, but quite a bit of water found its way under the protective tarps and there were numerous puddles and mushy spots once the covering was removed. Wide receivers slipped on several pass plays, and running backs repeatedly lost their footing before tacklers arrived.

"In the NFL, I've never played on a field that bad," Dolphins kicker Jay Feely said. "But we knew that it would be like that once it was re-sodded. We knew what the conditions would be like."

Late in the third quarter, Brandon Fields' punt from near the Miami goal line came straight down and plugged in the drenched turf like an arrow, burying itself several inches deep.

A few minutes later, Reed's 45-yard field goal attempt into a swirling wind and rain fell far short. Reed had missed only once previously in 19 tries this season, a 60-yarder in Denver.

Pittsburgh's opening drive ended with Roethlisberger being intercepted by, of all players, Porter, whom the Steelers cut in March.

Porter's pick came along the Steelers' sideline, and he yelled at their bench for several seconds after making the play.

"He kept trash talking the whole game, but we love him," Ward said. "I told him, 'I know you're a Dolphin now, but you're a Steeler for life.' I know he wanted to win this game more than anything."

Notes

  • The Steelers ended with 216 yards, with Willie Parker running for 81 to go over 1,000 for the third consecutive season.
  • It was the lowest-scoring Monday night game since the prime time games began in 1970. The previous low was Jacksonville's 9-0 victory against Pittsburgh last season.
  • The Dolphins' Sept. 30 game at Oakland was also delayed by lightning, for 30 minutes.
  • The rain fell on and off all game.
  • The Steelers played a 0-0 tie against Cincinnati in 1933, their first season.
  • Steelers LT Marvel Smith was a late injury scratch.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Jeff Reed puts a stop to 59 minutes and 43 seconds of scoreless football with a 24-yard field goal.
 
Jeff Reed puts a stop to 59 minutes and 43 seconds of scoreless football with a 24-yard field goal. (AP)
 

 

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Mon. Nov. 26Final
Miami
(0-11)
00000
00033
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
None
2ND QUARTER
None
3RD QUARTER
None
4TH QUARTER
FGJeff Reed 24 Yd, 0:17. Drive: 9 plays, 36 yards in 3:56.
Players of the Game
Pittsburgh

B. Roethlisberger
Att 21
Comp 18
Yds 165
TD 0

J. Beck
Att 23
Comp 14
Yds 132
TD 0
 
Miami
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
J. Beck14/2313200
M. Booker0/1000
RushingATTYDSTDLG
J. Chatman1117010
R. Williams61506
P. Cobbs41004
J. Beck1808
T. Ginn Jr.1-10-1
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
M. Booker554021
T. Ginn Jr.335015
D. Martin235021
P. Cobbs111011
J. Peelle2302
J. Chatman1-40-4
Pittsburgh
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
B. Roethlisberger18/2116501
RushingATTYDSTDLG
W. Parker248109
N. Davenport3204
B. Roethlisberger1101
N. Washington1000
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
H. Ward988021
C. Wilson329014
D. Kreider115015
C. Davis1909
W. Parker1808
W. Reid1606
N. Washington1606
N. Davenport1404
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PHI 28 Final
NE 31
BAL 14 Final
SD 32
SF 37 Final
ARI 31
WAS 13 Final
TB 19
SEA 24 Final
STL 19
MIN 41 Final
NYG 17
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KC 17
BUF 14 Final
JAC 36
HOU 17 Final
CLE 27
TEN 6 Final
CIN 35
DEN 34 Final
CHI 37
NO 31 Final
CAR 6
IND 31 Final
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