TALE OF THE TAPE

Tale Of The Tape: Miami Dolphins At Pittsburgh Steelers

Miami Dolphins
Pittsburgh Steelers
(credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
(credit: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
(credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
(credit: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Quarterback
The Dolphins are in a position to challenge the Baltimore Ravens for the sixth and final AFC playoff spot, and they took a step in the right direction with their 23-3 road victory over the Jets. Ryan Tannehill was on top of his game, as he completed 28-of-43 passes for 331 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Tannehill will have to maintain that performance in order to give his team a chance here.
Winner Ben Roethlisberger is trying to help the Steelers regain their footing after a miserable start, and he’s performing well right now because he is healthy. Roethlisberger has completed 64.4 percent of his passes and he has a 21-10 TD-interception ratio. He can shake off the pass rush and wait for his receiver to get open before delivering the ball.
Offense
Winner The Dolphins have not gotten much from their running game this year, although Lamar Miller gave them a bit of a bump with a 72-yard effort against the Jets. However, they have to move the ball through the air and Brian Hartline is their most dependable receiver. Speedy Mike Wallace is their big-play threat and he is coming off a 7-82-1 performance against the Jets.
Winner The Steelers have been improving on offense after a slow start. Head coach Mike Tomlin would like to get more from his running game, but Le’Veon Bell suffered a concussion Thanksgiving night against the Ravens and he may not play in this game. Antonio Brown (85-1,103-6) has become one of the most dangerous receivers in the NFL, while Jerricho Cotchery has caught eight TDs and is dangerous.
Defense
The Dolphins have struggled on the defensive side of the ball this year and they have had major problems stopping the run. Outside linebacker Philip Wheeler has been one of the team’s most productive players and he leads the Dolphins in tackles. Defensive end Olivier Vernon has a quick first step and can provide much-needed pressure.
Winner The Steelers have done a decent job statistically as they rank 13th overall and 10th against the pass, but when they have had problems, their age and lack of speed have been the key issues. Lawrence Timmons has had an excellent year and he leads the Steelers with 98 tackles. Outside linebacker Jason Worilds has provided a lift with 49 tackles and 6/0 sacks.
Special Teams
While the Dolphins have done a fair job in kickoff and punt coverage, they have been rather ordinary on special teams. They have not had a return longer than 44 yards this season. Caleb Sturgis is a decent kicker but he is not one of the game’s elite.
Winner The Steelers have been solid on special teams this year. While they have given up a few long returns this season, they have not allowed any touchdowns. Placekicker Shaun Suisham has had a remarkable year, connecting on 24-of-26 FG attempts. Matt McBriar is averaging 41.7 yards per punt.

The Winner Is

(credit: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Winner Pittsburgh Steelers
4 out of 4

This is a vital game for both teams. The Steelers are a longshot to make the playoffs after losing to the Ravens, but if they have any chance they must win this game. The same holds true for the Dolphins.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 8:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers drops back to pass in the second quarter during the NFC Wild Card game against the New York Giants at Lambeau Field on January 8, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 26: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys throws against the Detroit Lions during the first half at AT&T Stadium on December 26, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
    Divisional Round Tale: Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys

    The Packers look to avenge a loss to the Cowboys in the regular season.

  2. PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 08:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers hands off to Le\'Veon Bell #26 during the second quarter against the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Wild Card game at Heinz Field on January 8, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 25:  Quarterback Alex Smith #11 of the Kansas City Chiefs in action during the game against the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium on December 25, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images)
    Divisional Round Tale: Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs

    The red-hot Steelers head to KC for a rematch with a Chiefs team they throttled 43-14 in the regular season.

  3. HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 07:  Brock Osweiler #17 of the Houston Texans hands off to Lamar Miller #26 at NRG Stadium on January 7, 2017 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 01: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots points to the defense during the 1st quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on January 1, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
    Divisional Round Tale: Houston Texans at New England Patriots

    The Texans head to Foxboro, the site of a 27-0 loss in the regular season and now have to face Tom Brady this time around.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Pittsburgh

New Podcast Network
Learn How
Get The All New CBS Local App

Listen Live