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Dolphins blow lead, fall to 0-7

AP

The Miami Dolphins continue to make progress following a horrific start to the season, but they remain winless after a 27-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night.

Miami has lost seven consecutive games this season and 10 straight dating to last season.

The Dolphins held a 14-0 lead through one quarter until Pittsburgh rallied with the final 27 points.

With 25 seconds to play in the half, the Steelers’ Diontae Johnson turned a short cross into a 45-yard touchdown sprint on third-and-20, as the Steelers trailed 14-10 at the break.

Mason Rudolph, who missed Pittsburgh’s Oct. 13 win against the L.A. Chargers with a concussion, shook off a shaky start Monday to finish 20 of 36 for 251 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. James Conner rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown as Pittsburgh (3-4) won consecutive games for the first time since ripping off six straight in the middle of last season.

“You dig a big of a whole there in the first half and I was proud of the way we responded,” Rudolph said.

Rudolph stressed he wasn’t worried about the long-term effects of a frightening concussion he suffered against Baltimore on Oct. 6, when he was knocked cold on a helmet-to-helmet hit by Ravens safety Earl Thomas. Still, he looked shaky at best during an ugly opening quarter that saw the Dolphins grab their first two-touchdown lead over any opponent in more than a year.

The Steelers’ first possession ended with Rudolph throwing a pick to Xavien Howard — back in the lineup after missing two games with a knee injury — and its second ended with Rudolph misfiring badly on fourth down. Yet he remained upbeat amid the growing pains and eventually things started to click. Rudolph completed 20 of 36 passes, including a 45-yard touchdown to rookie Diontae Johnson late in the second quarter and a 26-yard strike to JuJu Smith-Schuster in the third quarter that put the Steelers firmly in control.

“We needed to get him going early on because all it takes is that one big play for him,” Pittsburgh wide receiver James Washington said. “His mind is going. He’s got that adrenaline going and (once) we started moving the ball down the field running and passing, we were on.”

And the Dolphins (0-7) were not.

Ryan Fitzpatrick passed for 190 yards with two touchdowns and two picks, both to Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who orchestrated a trade from Miami to Pittsburgh last month. But a rare hot start couldn’t prevent Miami from staying winless through seven games for the first time since 2011. The Dolphins have dropped 10 straight dating to last season.

“We just have to continue to keep fighting,” Ryan Fitzpatrick said. “That’s just kind of the place that we’re at right now. Just continue to keep fighting, continue to keep going to practice and trying to get better every single day.”

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