The Miami Dolphins continue the search for their elusive first home win of 2010 on Sunday afternoon at Sun Life Stadium, as they welcome the Pittsburgh Steelers to sunny and hot South Florida.
One of the most fun non-divisional rivalries in football, the Steelers and the Dolphins are the two winningest teams in the NFL since the 1970 merger. Pittsburgh is 376-243-2 (.606), while the Fins are incredibly just a game behind, at 375-244-2 (.604).
The head-to-head series also gives the Steelers a one-game edge (12-11), meaning that with a win, the Fins can even both the head-to-head mark and the post-merger number. A win would also give Miami their first win over the Steelers since September of 1998.
As for this exact game, we’ve got all the info you could ever want. Keep reading to see what our broadcast team is looking for in this one. Keith Sims will break down the toughness of the Steelers defense, Sam Madison will let you know what Miami’s defense needs to do, and John Congemi will describe the keys to success for Chad Henne and the rest of the Fins offense:
The Steelers use a 3-4 defense with three d-line men and four LB’s. In a 3-4, the guards are “un-covered” on the line of scrimmage. LB’s line up over them about four or five yards deep. Your center, on the other hand, is covered by a NT.
There are natural gaps in this defense over the guards. If the NT can be controlled, either one-on-one by the center, or by a quick double team with one of the guards, the Dolphins can get an easy 3-4 yards per carry between the tackles.
The Steelers also have a huge weapon in safety Troy Polamalu. He was hurt much of last year and this defense was not the same. He is fast like a DB, but hits like a LB. When the balls in the air, he is always nearby to make a big tackle or interception.
Ben Roethlisberger is 6’5″ tall and weighs over 241 pounds. He is big, physical and moves well in space. He has a cannon of an arm and is the reason plays get extended well past the clock a QB should have in his head. It can be cold, wet, snowing, or nice out, and he will still ignore that clock. Since being drafted in 2004, Big Ben has started 88 games in which he has rushed the ball 229 times for 703 yards, averaging 3.1 yards a carry and has 12 touchdown runs. The big guy can move and can shake the d-line or linebackers off of him.
Because of the amount of time he hangs onto the ball, the Dolphins defense will have their chances to get to the big man, but must gang tackle him when they get to him.
This week, the Miami secondary must work hard on the “fire drill,” finding and locking down the wide outs in their zones because a play is never over when #7 is behind center.
The Dolphins offense has a difficult task this week in trying to move the football consistently against arguably the toughest defense in the league. Big plays will be at a premium and QB Chad Henne must find ways to get the football to Brandon Marshall quickly versus a defense that loves to pressure the pocket. Third down specialist Davone Bess could become a key outlet for Henne in this game! Also, the O-Line must recognize Pittsburgh’s blitz packages and overall play its best game of the season. Another key to watch for is starting field position for Miami, something that will play a key role in deciding the outcome of the game!
So there you go, a good look into this big matchup from our crew. Our game coverage begins at 11am on Sunday with the Tony Sparano Show and continues until kickoff. You can watch and listen to everything at Dolphins.com, as well as join us all in the live chat beginning then. Enjoy the game!
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