MIAMI -- In the Miami Dolphins' locker room, the measured reaction to not being awarded a fumble in the closing minutes of Sunday's heartbreaking 23-22 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers was to emphasize the game never should have come down to that.
Still, some Dolphins seethed about the call.
"We hit them in the mouth on both sides of the ball," Dolphins linebacker Karlos Dansby said. "Y'all ain't never seen anybody handle Pittsburgh like we did today. They took that game from us. They took it from us, bottom line."
Miami defensive lineman Tony McDaniel said: "There should be a board that fines refs for making decisions like that."
Referee Gene Steratore won't be too popular in South Florida, but they're happy with him back home. Steratore is from Washington, Pa., about 30 miles southwest of Pittsburgh.
Dolphins safety Chris Clemons forced a Ben Roethlisberger fumble at the goal line with a little more than two minutes left in the game, but video replays weren't conclusive enough to confirm the Dolphins made an apparent recovery in the end zone. Dolphins outside linebacker Ikaika Alama-Francis emerged with the ball and handed it to an official.
"I got it," Alama-Francis said. "It was mine, no doubt. It was really unfortunate. We all worked so hard. Chris Clemons made a great play to get the ball out, and I just don't understand the ruling. I mean, it has to be either a fumble or a touchdown, but they decided to make the call they made, and that's what it is."
The Steelers maintained possession at the 1-yard line and kicked an 18-yard field goal for the deciding points.
"That ball didn't bounce our way today," Dansby said. "Sad. Very sad.
"Well, it did bounce our way. They took it from us. Put it like that. We had our way with them up and down the field."