The Times West Virginian

Sports

December 6, 2013

Steelers, Dolphins look to find way in packed AFC

PITTSBURGH — Mike Tomlin’s sideline two-step against Baltimore on Thanksgiving night did more than just earn the Pittsburgh Steelers coach a $100,000 fine and a smudge on his otherwise well-polished resume. It also overshadowed the perilous position his team found itself in after a 22-20 loss.

When Ben Roethlisberger’s 2-point conversion attempt smacked off Emmanuel Sanders’ hands and fell incomplete, what little margin for error the Steelers (5-7) had entering December vanished.

A loss to the equally enigmatic Dolphins (6-6) on Sunday would doom the Steelers to a second straight non-winning season for the first time this millennium and give the team an early start on an offseason filled with questions to which there are no readily apparent answers.

A win would keep the future at bay a while longer. Four straight to end the regular season could change the conversation entirely.

“This is our playoff game right here,” Roethlisberger said. “It’s been that way the last couple weeks, and it’s going to keep being that way until the end.”

Miami finds itself in better position, but only slightly. The Dolphins,  whose season has been pockmarked by accusations of bullying that make’s Tomlin’s misstep look comical, have won two of three. They did so behind a defense playing with a kind of snarl that has taken some of the pressure off second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

The Dolphins are tied for fifth in the league in sacks (37) and ninth in points allowed. Miami held the New York Jets to a field goal in a 23-3 romp last week while getting to quarterbacks Geno Smith and Matt Simms four times, including three sacks by defensive end Olivier Vernon.

“It’s been a collective effort by the entire defensive guys,” Miami coach Joe Philbin said.  “I think everybody ribs everybody, but I think as long as we get the quarterback on the ground I don’t think anybody really cares who gets it.”

Only Tom Brady and Drew Brees have found a way to score more than 23 points against the Dolphins this season. And while Roethlisberger is hardly a slouch, he’ll also be playing behind an offensive line that will have its sixth starting combination on the season after center Fernando Velasco tore his Achilles tendon and is lost for the year.

“That’s been a thing since I’ve been here,” running back Jonathan Dwyer said. “We have trouble keeping guys healthy, but we have belief that whoever is out there it going to be able to make plays when the time comes.”

Five things to keep an eye on as the Dolphins search for their first win in Pittsburgh in 23 years:

Text Only
Sports
  • COLUMN: Extend summer practices without over-extending athletes

    Last week we told you about a proposal that would extend the summer practice period for West Virginia high schools.
    It’s already cleared the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission Board of Control. Now it’s up to the West Virginia Board of Education to decide if the current three-week window should be expanded by five weeks.

    April 16, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Jackie Robinson’s impact extends beyond baseball

    It is Jackie Robinson Day as I sit here writing this today, and I feel as though I am doing it in a world gone mad.
    Every player in Major League Baseball wore No. 42 on Tuesday in honor of Jackie Robinson, the man who took racism’s best shot and integrated the game that was known then as the National Pastime even though it was as white a Ku Klux Klan robe.

    April 16, 2014

  • Pirates finish off suspended game, fall in nightcap

    Mike Leake doubled and hit a two-run homer Tuesday night, ending Gerrit Cole’s winning streak and leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that completed two days full of homers and delays.

    April 16, 2014

  • WVU’s Harlee named Big 12 Scholar-Athlete

    The Big 12 Conference announced its Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients for the 2014 winter sport season, and West Virginia University senior Jess Harlee earns the honor for women’s basketball.
    Harlee was selected as the award winner based on a vote of each respective sport’s head coaching group, with coaches not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.

    April 16, 2014

  • EFHS Softball - CB.jpg East can’t overcome No. 7 Lincoln, falls, 4-0

    Thunder clouds weren’t the only thing looming over the East Fairmont (6-6) softball team Monday when the Lady Bees hosed No. 7 Lincoln. Joining the ominous clouds was a sense of urgency for energy that never showed up as Lincoln was able to shut out East Fairmont, 4-0.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gyorko, Padres agree to extension

    Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Spring game showed defense has improved

    From Dana Holgorsen’s viewpoint, which was standing right behind the offense, West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Saturday was a rousing success for it showed very little of what the Mountaineers will be in this coming season, probably not even showcasing the man who will direct the offense in the quarterback position.

    April 15, 2014

  • WVU signs guard; Adrian arrested for DUI

    There was something good and something bad for West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins this past weekend as Kansas junior college player Tarik Phillip committed to play for the Mountaineers but rising sophomore Nathan Adrian was charged with Under 21 DUI after he was stopped at 1:20 a.m. Sunday for an expired registration sticker.

    April 15, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN- Most plays good, some not so good in Gold-Blue scrimmage

    There appeared to be a fine mixture of plays, most good with some not so good, in last Saturday’s West Virginia University’s Gold-Blue football scrimmage.

    April 15, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos