Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers
When: 8:15 PM ET, Monday, October 28, 2019
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins have seen plenty of change at the quarterback position this season, due to either injury or ineffective play. The former is the reason for Pittsburgh’s Mason Rudolph, who has been cleared from concussion protocol and is expected to be under center on Monday night against Ryan Fitzpatrick and the winless Dolphins.
“You can’t play looking over your shoulder,” Rudolph said of being injured earlier this month against Baltimore. “I’m not going to think twice about it. I’m going to go play the game that I’ve always played with aggressiveness, and if I need to extend the play, that’s what’s going to happen.” Devlin Hodges stepped in and sent the Steelers into their bye week on a high following a 24-17 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Oct. 13.
The Dolphins can’t get much lower considering their staggering minus-148 point differential, although Fitzpatrick has ignited a spark by guiding the winless club to five touchdowns over the past five quarters. “I think there’s aggressiveness in the play-calls. I think we’re headed in the right direction,” the 36-year-old Fitzpatrick said. “I was very happy just last week to come in and for (coach Brian Flores) to say I was going to be put back in the lineup. I think there are a lot of things (Flores has) shown that are showing he wants to win football games.”
TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Steelers -14. O/U: 44
ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (0-6): Miami’s running back carousel has temporarily stopped on Mark Walton, who has supplanted Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage in the pecking order just two short months removed from battling for a roster spot. The 22-year-old Walton made the most of his first career NFL start on Sunday by rushing for a career-best 66 yards in the Dolphins’ 31-21 setback at Buffalo. While Walton’s 4.6 yards per tote is tops on the team and Ballage has found the end zone in back-to-back weeks, Drake has been stuck in neutral as he deals with a downshift in playing time and rumors of being potentially shipped prior to the trade deadline. “The thing I can control is being here when I’m asked to be here, which is right now until whenever,” Drake said, per the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “My focus is to continue to prep myself for Pittsburgh this week and do the best I can to show up and be the player I know I can be.”
ABOUT THE STEELERS (2-4): Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick said he isn’t expecting a frosty reception on Monday from the team with which he requested a trade earlier in the season. “It’s a business decision,” the former first-round pick said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Other people made business decisions prior to mine. I still communicate with players on the team. I grew close with a lot of players on the team, formed relationships with them. I don’t think it’s going to be unfriendly because I’m playing with a different team.” The Steelers look to exploit the Dolphins’ 31st-ranked rush defense (160.8 yards per game) with James Conner, who had 119 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns before sustaining a quad injury against the Chargers. Linebacker Devin Bush, who also found the end zone with fumble return for a score in Week 6, leads all rookies in tackles (52) and has recorded an interception in back-to-back games.
- Miami is making its 85th appearance on Monday Night Football, the most in NFL history.
- Pittsburgh LB Anthony Chickillo was placed on the reserve/commissioner exempt list on Wednesday after he was arrested last weekend and charged with assault, criminal mischief and harassment in Fayette County (Pa.) following a domestic dispute involving his girlfriend.
- Dolphins WR DeVante Parker has reeled in a receiving touchdown in three straight games.
PREDICTION: Steelers 31, Dolphins 10
STATS AND RECORDS