Early exits for Dolphins quarterbacks
MIAMI -- After being used in spot duty throughout his rookie season, Pat White got his chance to run the offense Sunday afternoon for the Miami Dolphins.
But instead of being able to show the Dolphins he could be more than a situational player, White ended the afternoon in the hospital while the Steelers were putting the finishing touches on a 30-24 victory.
The former West Virginia quarterback was knocked out after a helmet-to-helmet collision with Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor at the end of an 8-yard scramble. It came at the end of White's third series at quarterback -- his first three full series of the season.
Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said White was undergoing tests at a local hospital, but that he was told White was "doing OK."
White remained motionless for a few minutes while players from both teams gathered around him. He then was carried off the field on a stretcher.
"You hate to see it," Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor said. "Pat got knocked pretty good there on the sideline trying to make a play. It's one of those things that really puts the game in perspective sometimes when you see a guy laying there stiff and you can't really do anything to help him. It's a bad feeling."
For Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the injury brought back painful memories of last year's season finale when he sustained a concussion against the Cleveland Browns. He also was removed on a stretcher.
"That was me last year at this time," Roethlisberger said. "It is a scary, scary thing. I kind of almost started to get emotional thinking about it and seeing him. I told him to keep his head up and everything will be OK."
Before he was injured, White had rushed five times for 27 yards and was 0 for 2 on pass attempts.
The Dolphins used White periodically throughout the season to run the spread option, and he first came into the game against the Steelers in the second quarter.
But the Dolphins had to turn to him to run the offense after quarterback Chad Henne banged his head on the grass at Land Shark Stadium after being sacked by LaMarr Woodley.
"I had blurred vision throughout," Henne said. "I was hoping it would clear up. I just didn't have perception on the ball. I was throwing fine on the sideline. I just couldn't really visualize my throw."
Henne said he played a few plays after sustaining the injury, but said his vision got worse after he sat down at halftime.
Before the injury, the first-year starter had completed 16 of 20 passes for 140 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
With Henne and White both out of commission, the Dolphins turned to Tyler Thigpen, and he almost brought them back from a 27-10 deficit.
Acquired in a trade with Kansas City after veteran Chad Pennington sustained a season-ending shoulder injury in Week 3, Thigpen made his debut in a Dolphins uniform. His first two drives ended with touchdowns, the second on a 34-yard pass to Davone Bess.
"Tyler came in and got us back in the game with a couple of heads-up plays," Sparano said. "Those were some of the same things he did in Kansas City."
Thigpen, though, threw interceptions on his final two drives. The first was the biggest play of the game. It came after Joey Porter recovered a Roethsliberger fumble at the Steelers' 13, giving the Dolphins a chance to take the lead.
His throw to Ted Ginn Jr. was picked off by safety Ryan Clark at the 2.
"It was unlucky there at the end with the two interceptions," Thigpen said. "I'd like to have those back. I've got to learn from them. They're just balls I can't throw."