The Miami Dolphins celebrated quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s comeback in a way that their supporters would both love and hate: by taking a commanding lead early and hanging on until the very end.
In front of a packed house at Hard Rock Stadium, Miami (4-3) broke a three-game losing run by defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 16-10 after jumping out to a double-digit lead.
In his first game after being helped off the field on September 29 due to a concussion, Tagovailoa completed 6 of 7 passes for 68 yards and a touchdown strike of eight yards to running back Raheem Mostert on the first drive. After the Steelers (2-5) went three-and-out on their opening drive, Tagovailoa led another drive that resulted on a Jason Sanders field goal from 24 yards out, making the score 10-0.
Miami’s defense entered the game when cornerback Justin Bethel picked up a ball intended for Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett, setting up kicker Sanders for a 42-yard field goal and a 13-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Chris Boswell’s 45-yard field goal gave the Steelers their first points, and Pickett’s 7-yard touchdown toss to wide receiver George Pickens brought them within three points, making the score 13-10. The Dolphins led 16-10 at halftime after Sanders’ 47-yard field goal attempt found the back of the net.
To start the third quarter, Miami linebacker Jaelan Phillips had the game’s first sack for either side. However, Pittsburgh quickly answered by halting Miami on fourth down, ending Miami’s first drive of the second half in a scoreless period.
Late in the fourth quarter, Pittsburgh attempted to drive down the field, but with little over three minutes remaining, safety Jevon Holland intercepted Pickett. With just 18 seconds remaining, cornerback Noah Igbinoghene intercepted Pickett’s final ball attempt, giving the Steelers one more shot to win.
In total, Tagovailoa completed 21 of 35 passes for 261 yards and one score. While Jaylen Waddle topped all receivers with 88 yards on four catches, Mostert led all rushers with 79 yards on 16 carries.
The Dolphins earned their first-ever victory on NBC’s Sunday Night Football during Miami’s fourth appearance on the show overall.
During Sunday’s game, the Dolphins paid tribute to the 1972 squad, which is still the only one in NFL history to go 17-0 and win Super Bowl VII for the first championship in team history.
At midfield, Miami’s flawless 1972 squad assembled for the coin toss before a game. Highlights of their 17-0 season played on the television screen above fullback Larry Csnoka, quarterback Bob Griese, offensive lineman Larry Little, and receiver Paul Warfield as they received applause.
Miami will travel the following Sunday to play the Detroit Lions. The game will begin at 1 p.m.