That’s the collective sound that was heard from Steeler Nation following the Steelers’ 23-22 win over the Miami Dolphins.
Many are still baffled by the referees’ decision that ultimately led to the Steelers’ victory. But they’ll take the win anyway.
The Steelers needed an odd decision by the referees, in which they determined that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had fumbled the ball at the goal line but could not adequately determine which team had recovered the ball, to win the game.
Rather than losing the fumble, the Steelers maintained possession of the ball, which allowed Jeff Reed to kick a game winning field goal with 2:28 remaining on the clock.
Despite the final score, the game shouldn’t have been as close as it was. The Steelers made too many costly mistakes. They fumbled the opening kickoff, and that seemed to set the tone for the entire game. The Steelers ended the game with 4 fumbles. They also accumulated 5 penalties versus only 3 penalties for the Dolphins.
Another key to the Steelers’ struggles was injuries. The Steelers lost Aaron Smith (possibly for the rest of the season) due to a torn tricep muscle. They also lost Flozell Adams to a sprained ankle and LaMarr Woodley to a hamstring injury. Both of those injuries appear to be much less severe that Smith’s, and both players should play next week.
But the loss of Aaron Smith is a huge problem. The Steelers lost Smith for 11 games in 2009, and their defense was noticeably less stout against the run. They also lost him for 5 games in 2007 and saw a similar drop-off in their run defense.
Ziggy Hood and Nick Eason were already being used to replace Brett Keisel, who is also injured. With Smith also out, the Steelers find themselves woefully short on the defensive line.
Despite the injuries, the Steelers still managed to walk away with a win. They’re now 5-1, and still sit atop the AFC North.
Next week, they head to New Orleans to face the defending world champions. The Saints should be a tough opponent. However, they did lose to the Cleveland Browns 30-17 on Sunday, so they’re not unbeatable.
Here we go Steelers, here we go!
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