Pittsburgh rookie Ben Roethlisberger outshines A.J. Feeley as Miami drops to 0-3 in the South Florida rain.
By Associated Press
Published September 27, 2004
MIAMI - The weather was lousy and the Dolphins offense worse, while the Steelers defense was terrific. Unfazed by torrential rain in the first half from the remnants of Hurricane Jeanne, Pittsburgh forced four turnovers, made a key fourth-down stop and beat the hapless Dolphins 13-3.
The Dolphins, who have scored 23 points in three games, fell to 0-3 for the first time since 1969, the year before Don Shula became coach.
Steelers rookie Ben Roethlisberger, making his first NFL start, had his first pass intercepted but otherwise avoided costly mistakes despite the slippery ball and footing. He finished 12-of-22 for 163 yards and one score.
Hines Ward made a diving catch of a pass from Roethlisberger for a 7-yard touchdown. Jeff Reed hit field goals of 40 and 51 yards, the latter coming after the Steelers stopped A.J. Feeley on a fourth-down quarterback sneak at midfield.
Announced attendance was 72,225, but with Florida just beginning to recover from its latest hurricane, the actual crowd was about 30,000. Officials decided Saturday to push the starting time back 71/2 hours to avoid Hurricane Jeanne, and heavy rain fell at times.
The showers left standing water in the baseball infield, which made footing especially treacherous on that part of the field. The start of the second half was delayed so the grounds crew could apply additional bags of dirt.
The Steelers allowed just 169 yards thanks to smashmouth defense befitting their muddy, sodden uniforms. A jarring tackle by Chris Hope sent running back Lamar Gordon from the game with an injured left shoulder, and his replacement, Leonard Henry, was knocked backward by a big hit from James Farrior.
Even before the heaviest rain, the Dolphins committed three turnovers. The crowd was small but vocal, booing Feeley and the rest of the offense.
Miami's best drive covered 44 yards, setting up a 34-yard field goal by Olindo Mare with 13:25 left. But Roethlisberger drove the Steelers 61 yards for the only touchdown with six minutes left, and Farrior recovered a fumble by Feeley to clinch the win.