PITTSBURGH (AP) – Once the Miami Dolphins got used to the snow, the Pittsburgh Steelers were no problem.
Charles Clay caught two touchdowns, including a 12-yard pass from Ryan Tannehill with 2:53 remaining and the Miami Dolphins beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-28 on Sunday.
Daniel Thomas ran for 105 yards and a score. His zig-zag 55-yard burst at snowy Heinz Field set up Clay’s game-winner. Tannehill completed 20 of 33 passes for 201 yards and three scores for the Dolphins (7-6). Miami blew a 10-point third-quarter lead but rallied to win for the third time in its last four games.
Ben Roethlisberger passed for 297 yards and three scores but the Steelers (5-8) lost their second straight game to all but end any outside shot of making the postseason. Antonio Brown raced into the end zone after a series of laterals on the final play, but officials ruled he stepped out before scoring.
Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu returned an interception 19 yards for a score with 8:05 into the third quarter to put the Steelers up 21-17, but his fifth career touchdown was overshadowed late. Polamalu and Cortez Allen both had a shot at Clay on the game-winning score but couldn’t bring the 6-foot-3, 255-pound tight end to the ground.
Clay muscled his way out of the arms of both players then skipped into the end zone to give the Dolphins the lead for good. Caleb Sturgis added a late field goal and the Dolphins survived – barely – a frantic final play.
The Steelers snapped the ball at their own 21 just before the clock hit all zeros. Emmanuel caught a short pass from Roethlisberger, starting a flurry of laterals that included getting the ball into the hands of 330-pound tackle Marcus Gilbert. Gilbert flipped it to Roethlisberger who then appeared to throw it forward to Brown. No flags were thrown, however, as Brown raced down the sideline.
While he celebrated, an official pointed to the Miami 11, sending the resurgent Dolphins spilling onto the field after the franchise’s first win in Pittsburgh in 23 years and came in the unlikeliest of settings.
The snow started in earnest 30 minutes before kickoff and intensified in the first quarter. It hardly seemed to bother the Steelers early. Bell did most of the heavy lifting during a 74-yard touchdown drive that ended with Roethlisberger hitting Emmanuel Sanders for a 5-yard score.
The pass was the 213th career touchdown toss for Roethlisberger, breaking a tie with Terry Bradshaw for the most in team history.
Miami, finding its footing after some early struggles, pulled within 7-3 after a 48-yard sprint down the left sideline by Tannehill. The Dolphins went in front midway through the second quarter after Roethlisberger fumbled while getting sacked by Cameron Wake. Miami needed just five plays to go 31 yards, with Tannehill lobbing it to a wide-open Clay for the touchdown.
The snow slowed after halftime, setting the stage for a wild back-and-forth affair in which the teams exchanged the lead four times in the last 23 minutes.
Miami wide receiver Mike Wallace caught two passes for 19 yards in his return to Pittsburgh, where he played from 2009-12 before signing with the Dolphins in the offseason.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin stayed well inside the rules during kickoffs a week after being fined $100,000 by the league for stepping onto the field in a loss to Baltimore.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org