PITTSBURGH Trudging through the quagmire of Heinz Field, the Dolphins and Steelers nearly went all night without scoring.
Former BYU quarterback John Beck, making his second start for winless Miami, completed 14 of his 23 passes for 132 yards, but couldn't put any points on the board. The Steelers were having just as tough of a time scoring.
But Jeff Reed's 24-yard field goal with 17 seconds left gave Pittsburgh a 3-0 victory Monday night over Miami, the first time in 64 years an NFL game lasted that long without any points.
It was the league's lowest-scoring game since 1993, when the New York Jets beat visiting Washington 3-0 on Dec. 11, 1993. The Detroit Lions and New York Giants played the NFL's last scoreless tie on Nov. 11, 1943.
Hanging with the first-place Steelers (8-3) for 59 1/2 minutes, Miami (0-11) almost pushed this mess to overtime.
The only scoring drive started on the Dolphins 42 after Miami punted out of its end zone. Ben Roethlisberger drove the Steelers into field-goal range with completions of 21, 11 and 6 yards to Hines Ward.
Reed, who had missed badly from 45 yards earlier on a rain-drenched field, came through after Roethlisberger was sacked on third down.
Miami's start is the worst for any team since the Lions began 0-12 in 2001. They finished 2-14.
NFL games have been played in downpours and blizzards, and the aftermath of a hurricane the Steelers-Dolphins game in Miami in September 2004 but this was a first: a lightning and heavy rain delay in a late November game in Pittsburgh.
Lightning chased the players off the field during their pregame warmups, and the teams were given only nine hurried-up minutes for additional warmups before the game started at 8:55 p.m., 25 minutes later than scheduled.
The delayed start meant no national anthem or player introductions. The rain washed away nearly all the yard lines on a new grass field that had been in place less than 24 hours, and Heinz Field crews hurriedly put down new lines at halftime.
At least for the first half, the offenses didn't need to be introduced, considering how little yardage was being gained on the slippery, rain-soaked field. With huge divots being kicked up on play after play, the Steelers had 112 yards and the Dolphins only 71 by halftime, even with Miami running back Ricky Williams back on the field, at least for a few minutes.
The 2002 NFL rushing champion, reinstated last week following a drug-related suspension, carried six times for 15 yards in his first game since Jan. 1, 2006, before injuring his shoulder.
Already without injured running back Ronnie Brown, the Dolphins also lost Jesse Chatman (neck) during the game. Chatman, who started the previous three games, was questionable with a sore ankle going into the game.
The field conditions created some ugly offense. After five high school and college games were played at Heinz Field last weekend, crews hurriedly put down a new layer of sod atop the chewed-up turf for Monday night's game.
The field was covered during the daylong rain, but so much water found its way under the protective tarps and there were numerous puddles and mushy spots once the covering was removed. Wide receivers slipped on several pass plays, and running backs repeatedly lost their footing before tacklers arrived.
Late in the third quarter, Brandon Fields' punt from near the Miami goal line came straight down and plugged in the drenched turf like an arrow, burying itself several inches deep.
A few minutes later, Reed's 45-yard field goal attempt into a swirling wind and rain fell far short. Reed had missed only once previously in 19 tries this season, a 60-yarder in Denver.
Pittsburgh's opening drive ended with Roethlisberger being intercepted by, of all players, former Steelers linebacker Joey Porter in his first game against the team that cut him in March.
Porter's pickoff came along the Steelers' sideline, and he yelled at their bench for several seconds after making the play.
NOTES: It was the lowest-scoring Monday night game since the prime time games began in 1970. The previous low was Jacksonville's 9-0 win over Pittsburgh last season ... The Dolphins' Sept. 30 game at Oakland also was delayed by lightning, for 30 minutes ... The rain fell on and off all night ... The Steelers played a 0-0 tie against Cincinnati in their first season in 1933 ... Steelers LT Marvel Smith was a late injury scratch.