Controversy as Steelers beat Dolphins

SIMON EVANS, Reuters

, Last Updated: 6:07 PM ET

MIAMI - The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Miami Dolphins 23-22 on Sunday after a controversial call from the referee late in the game led to a game-winning field goal that left the home team fuming.

The Dolphins were up 22-20 with 2:30 left when Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger ran two yards for a touchdown, which Miami head coach Tony Sparano challenged, arguing the ball had been fumbled.

After a review, the referee agreed that Roethlisberger had fumbled the ball before crossing the line. But since officials were unable to determine who recovered the ball, the Steelers were awarded possession and kicker Jeff Reed converted a field goal on the next play to go ahead by a point.

“We did have a fumble but we did not have video evidence and a confirmation on who recovered the football ... we could not award the defense in this situation,” referee Gene Steratore told reporters.

Miami’s Ikaika Alama-Francis came out of the pile of players holding the ball and insisted he had been the one who recovered the fumble.

“I got it. It was mine, no doubt ... I was the first one on the ball, had possession of the ball,” said Alama-Francis. “I wasn’t going to let that thing go because I knew I had possession. I even handed it to the ref.”

But Roethlisberger said that he had been on top of the ball until the referee told him it was a touchdown call.

“I actually had whole arm around it until the ref patted me on the back and said touchdown, so that’s when I let go,” he told reporters.

Miami were unable to make much progress on their next drive, gaining four yards on three plays before quarterback Chad Henne threw an incomplete pass on fourth down.

The result leaves Miami with an unusual 3-3 record, with all three of their wins coming on the road and three losses inside their Sun Life Stadium.

Roethlisberger, in his second game back after serving a four-game suspension at the start of the season, threw for 302 yards and two touchdowns as Pittsburgh improved to 5-1.

The quarterback had a 21-yard touchdown pass to Hines Ward and a brilliant 53-yard strike to Mike Wallace.

Miami kept themselves in the game with a Devon Bess touchdown on a 26-yard pass from Henne before two field goals put them ahead before the controversial finish.

While clearly upset with the fumble ruling, Miami will also regret being held to a pair of field goals on two turnovers they forced in the first quarter.


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