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What was the game-changing moment in the Steelers loss to the Dolphins?

The Steelers couldn’t find the big play to get them over the top on Sunday night.


The Pittsburgh Steelers were not able to stack wins as they came up short as they fought back after getting down by multiple scores in the first quarter. Holding the Dolphins scoreless in the second half gave the Steelers a chance, but the offense couldn’t put points on the board either.

But what was the biggest moment that sent the Steelers down the path to the loss?

With each win for the Steelers this season being where we hand out a game ball and look at the top individual performance, each loss we will take a look at what we will call the “game-changing moment” of the game. What was the individual play or a set of plays that ended up being the biggest contribution to the loss? While it does not necessarily come down to just one thing that keeps a team from winning, it also doesn’t mean that all the moments share equal blame.

For the Week 5 loss, the biggest game-changing moment was determined to be the 98-yard touchdown pass on the third play of the game. After Buffalo botched the opening kickoff and the player was tackled at their own 2-yard line, the Steelers started off strong on defense by forcing an incompletion and a run for no gain. But but less than a minute into the game and facing a third and 10 with the Bills throwing from their own end zone, the Steelers had a chance to get the ball back with great field position. Instead, it was a 98-yard touchdown pass from Josh Allen to Gabriel Davis.

I will reiterate for everyone of the rules that it is individual plays or series of plays that will be highlighted from this game. Although it could be applicable, it will not be total performances as they are more in line for Jeff Hartman’s Winners and Losers article.

So here are the nominations in chronological order:

The dropped interceptions

Rather than put more weight on any one than the other, I’m grouping all of these plays together. Although they go down in the books as a pass break up, the Steelers had no less than four opportunities to come away with an interception during Sunday night’s game. Unfortunately, all four of them ended up having the ball fall to the turf. Whether it was a play that would have taking away the Dolphins’ field goal opportunity before the half or one late in the game which would have given the Steelers better field position, any one of the four interceptions could have made a big difference.

The back-to-back penalties on 3rd & 1

With 3:17 remaining of the game, the Steelers faced a third and one of the Dolphins’ 15-yard line as they were attempting to punch in a go-ahead touchdown. On a play that appeared to be a conversion on a quarterback sneak, the Steelers were called for an illegal shift and were penalized 5 yards. Or the ensuing third and sixth attempt, despite Kenny Pickett coming up just short of the sticks on a run, the Steelers were pushed back another 10 yards due to an offensive holding penalty. So in a matter of two plays which did not stand, the Steelers went from third and one at the 15-yard line to third and 16 at the 30-yard line.

Pickett’s 2nd interception

When the Steelers did finally run their third down play with just over three minutes remaining in the game, Kenny Pickett‘s pass was intercepted and returned 33 yards just across midfield. Were it merely an incomplete pass, the Steelers would have had an opportunity for a long field goal to cut the lead down to three. Instead, the defense was forced to make a stop and the Steelers still had to seek a touchdown to win the game.

Not running on 2nd & 2

This play is so important it is being broken down into two parts for two different opportunities. With 0:25 left in the game and facing a second and two from the Dolphins’ 25-yard line, Kenny Pickett broke out of the pocket and had plenty of space to pick up a Steelers first down. The only questions were if Pickett could get to the sidelines and get out of bounds to stop the clock, or if he could gain the significant yardage which made using the time worthwhile. Instead of picking up the first town, Pickett decided to throw a pass on the run.

The final interception

Making the decision to throw the pass, Kenny Pickett was expecting Diontae Johnson to break towards the sidelines when he ended up going in a different direction. Pickett’s throw ended up being intercepted in the end zone along the side lines and sealed the victory for the Dolphins.

So what do you think? What was the biggest moment that had the most effect on the Steelers loss this week? Make sure you vote in the poll as this is how the winner (which is ultimately the loser) will be determined. And of course, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.


What was the game-changing moment in the Steelers loss to the Dolphins in Week 7?

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    The dropped interceptions
    (208 votes)
  • 38%
    The back-to-back penalties on 3rd & 1
    (251 votes)
  • 7%
    Pickett’s 2nd interception
    (48 votes)
  • 7%
    Not running on 2nd & 2
    (51 votes)
  • 14%
    The final interception
    (98 votes)
656 votes total Vote Now