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The big play: Antonio Brown ends Dolphins’ season with second TD
The Dolphins were in bad shape from the beginning against Pittsburgh on Sunday, and trying to contain the Steelers’ talented skill players was a major challenge without Reshad Jones, Isa Abdul-Quddus and Byron Maxwell.
The remaining defensive backs collectively did not earn a passing grade on that test. Antonio Brown had two long touchdown scores early, including this one that put Miami down 14-0:
Let’s start before the snap. Pittsburgh has a tight end and two receivers to the right, as well as Le’Veon Bell on the left side of the backfield. Brown is at the bottom of the screen being covered by Tony Lippett:
Michael Thomas is out there, but the Dolphins are basically playing with one safety (Bacarri Rambo) because Thomas cheats up to blitz or stick to Bell:
On the snap, Jelani Jenkins zeroes in on Bell and Kiko Alonso is covering tight end Jesse James. There’s a lot happening on the right to occupy the defense as well:
Ben Roethlisberger gets the ball out unusually quickly here, mitigating any chance of Miami’s pass rush affecting the play. He’s able to do that largely because Brown already has a step on Lippett going across the middle:
Lippett lunges to tip the ball and hits the ground. Once he falters, there’s not going to be anyone back there to help him other than Rambo (not pictured):
Rambo’s not in perfect position for the tackle, but he does have a reasonable shot here in the open field:
Brown easily swerves past Rambo to the right. He didn’t even put much of a move on him:
At this point, Miami’s only hope is Lippett making up a 10-yard difference, Rambo getting back up quickly enough to chase down Brown or Xavien Howard coming 20 yards from the sideline to get him. None of those things are going to happen:
Brown is free and clear at the 30-yard line, and this touchdown makes it 14-0 in the first eight minutes. Miami didn’t manage that many points the rest of the afternoon and fell 30-12: