MIAMI -- The weather was lousy and the Miami Dolphins' offense worse, while the Pittsburgh Steelers' defense was terrific.
Unfazed by torrential rain in the first half from the remnants of Hurricane Jeanne, Pittsburgh forced four turnovers, made a key fourth-down stop, and beat the hapless Dolphins, 13-3, last night.
The Dolphins, who have scored 23 points in three games, fell to 0-3 for the first time since 1969, the year before Don Shula became coach.
Steelers rookie Ben Roethlisberger, making his first NFL start, had his first pass intercepted but otherwise avoided costly mistakes despite the slippery ball and footing. He finished 12 of 22 for 163 yards and one score.
Hines Ward made a diving catch of a pass from Roethlisberger for a 7-yard touchdown. Jeff Reed hit field goals of 40 and 51 yards, the latter coming after the Steelers (2-1) stopped A.J. Feeley on a fourth-down quarterback sneak at midfield.
Announced attendance was 72,225, but with Florida just beginning to recover from its latest hurricane, the actual crowd was about 30,000. Officials decided Saturday to push the starting time back 7 1/2 hours to avoid Hurricane Jeanne, and heavy rain fell at times.
The showers left standing water in the baseball infield, which made footing especially treacherous on that part of the field. The start of the second half was delayed so the grounds crew could apply additional bags of dirt.
The Steelers allowed just 169 yards thanks to smashmouth defense befitting their muddy, sodden uniforms. A jarring tackle by Chris Hope sent running back Lamar Gordon from the game with an injured left shoulder, and his replacement, Leonard Henry, was knocked backward by a big hit from James Farrior.
Even before the heaviest rain, the Dolphins committed three turnovers on their first seven plays. The crowd was small but vocal, booing Feeley, the rest of the Dolphins' offense and the play-calling.