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Saturday, March 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  NFL

NFL notes: Pittsburgh Steelers dig out of hole, keep Miami Dolphins winless

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson (18) heads for the end zone for a touchdown after taking a pass from quarterback Mason Rudolph during the first half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins in Pittsburgh, Monday, Oct. 28, 2019. (Keith Srakocic / Associated Press)
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson (18) heads for the end zone for a touchdown after taking a pass from quarterback Mason Rudolph during the first half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins in Pittsburgh, Monday, Oct. 28, 2019. (Keith Srakocic / Associated Press)
Associated Press

The Pittsburgh Steelers stopped beating themselves long enough to keep the Miami Dolphins winless.

James Conner ran for 145 yards and a touchdown, and Mason Rudolph overcame a shaky start to throw for 251 yards and two scores as the Steelers pulled away for a 27-14 victory on Monday night in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh (3-4) spotted the Dolphins (0-7) a 14-point first quarter lead before steadying itself to win consecutive games for the first time since ripping off six straight in the middle of last season. Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, acquired in a trade with Miami last month, picked off Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick twice, and Pittsburgh forced four turnovers in all to avoid an embarrassing loss that would have effectively ended the competitive portion of its season.

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 in control. Smith-Schuster caught five passes for 103 yards, his first 100-yard game of the year.

Ryan Fitzpatrick passed for 190 yards with two touchdowns and two picks, 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 back to last season.

Watt out for season

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt sustained a season-ending injury to his pectoral muscle on Sunday in a win over the Oakland Raiders.

Watt was injured in the second quarter of Houston’s 27-24 win and tweeted afterward that he was done for the season.

This is the third time in four seasons that the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year has had a season-ending injury. He missed the last 13 games of 2016 with a back injury which required surgery and played just five games in 2017 before breaking his leg. He played all 16 games last season and was a first-team All-Pro after finishing with 16 sacks and 18 tackles for losses.

Chargers fire OC

The Los Angeles Chargers fired offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt on Monday night, shaking up the coaching staff after a disappointing first half of the season.

Coach Anthony Lynn said in a statement that it was not an easy decision to let go of Whisenhunt, but that he felt a change was necessary. Lynn did not name an interim coordinator, but he did run Buffalo’s offense during most of the 2016 season.

The Chargers are 3-5 after beating the Chicago Bears 17-16 on Sunday. Considered by some to be a Super Bowl contender before the season, Los Angeles is ranked 17th in the league in total offense and 28th in rushing.

Quick kicks

New York Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley will miss five to six weeks as he continues to deal with a groin injury that has sidelined him for most of the season. Mosley injured his groin in the season opener against Buffalo and missed four games before returning last Monday night against New England. But he said he didn’t feel 100% during that game and sat out against Jacksonville on Sunday. … Arizona acquired Kenyan Drake from the Dolphins for a conditional sixth-round pick in 2020, giving the Cardinals (3-4-1) a healthy backfield option heading into Thursday’s game against the undefeated San Francisco 49ers (7-0). Starter David Johnson has missed most of the past two weeks with an ankle injury and backup Chase Edmonds injured his hamstring in the team’s 31-9 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. … The New York Jets traded defensive lineman Leonard Williams to the Giants for a third-round draft pick next year and a fifth-rounder in 2021. Williams was the No. 6 overall pick of the Jets in 2015 and made the Pro Bowl in his second season, but never truly lived up to his lofty draft status.

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