MIAMI — After two consecutive overtime losses, Dan Marino made sure the Miami Dolphins didn't have to stay late.
Marino threw four touchdown passes, including two third-quarter bombs to Mark Clayton and another to Mark Duper, to give the Dolphins a 35-24 comeback victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"I had that bad feeling that we were still jinxed, but I knew we could come back if we were patient," Marino said of the Dolphins' 21-7 halftime deficit.
"We were able to get some deep routes open in certain situations," said Marino, who completed 25 of 31 passes for 332 yards and threw 2 interceptions.
Marino struck with scoring plays of 41 and 33 yards to Clayton and 50 yards to Duper. Marino said he took advantage of man-to-man coverage on Duper's touchdown and beat a blitz on the 33-yarder to Clayton.
Clayton said the 41-yard touchdown play "was a crossing pattern. I got a good block to get it into the end zone."
Clayton beat defensive back Dwayne Woodruff on both touchdowns.
"Marino executed well and we didn't," Woodruff said. "There were a lot of close plays, especially pass receptions and missed tackles. Football is a game of inches and we missed a lot of key plays by inches today."
The Dolphins (3-4) added a touchdown on a five-yard run over left tackle by Troy Stradford to put the game away early in the fourth quarter. The score was set up by Dolphin safety Glenn Blackwood's interception on the Pittsburgh 37.
Stradford, a fourth-round draft pick from Boston College, gained 110 yards in 19 carries and became the first Dolphin rookie to rush for more than 100 yards since 1968.
"If there was ever a team that needed a win like that kind of win, we needed that kind of win," said Miami Coach Don Shula after receiving a game ball decorated to commemorate his 250th regular-season victory.
"Instead of falling apart in the second half, we came together and I'm proud of what they did out there."
Pittsburgh (4-3) built its lead in the first half with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Mark Malone to Charles Lockett, a 50-yard interception return by Donnie Shell and a 1-yard run by Frank Pollard.
Malone completed 18 of 36 passes for 205 yards with 1 interception.
Marino kept it within reach with a two-yard scoring pass to tight end Bruce Hardy.
The Steelers' only points of the second half came on a 46-yard field goal by Gary Anderson.
Pittsburgh Coach Chuck Noll said: "Any loss is not fun, but when you have a lead and you lose, it's no better. We made mistakes and we let them back in the game."