PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Lightning and heavy rain, an uncommon combination in Pittsburgh in late November, delayed the start of Monday night's game between the Steelers and Miami Dolphins.
Players from both teams were warming up about 40 minutes before the scheduled kickoff when they were ordered to return to their locker rooms due to lightning that was visible above the upper-deck bleachers at the covered end of Heinz Field.
It was unclear how long the delay might last.
Rain was predicted in Pittsburgh on Monday, but the heavy showers that fell for several hours and the accompanying lightning were not.
The weather led to several unusual scenes at Heinz Field as the scheduled 8:30 p.m. EST kickoff neared. Crews were still painting the newly laid grass field with the goal line, out of bounds and yard markers. The field was covered until about 90 minutes before the game was to start, yet the yard lines quickly washed away.
Before leaving the field, players splashed their way through pregame warmups, some of them slipping and sliding on a field that had been in place less than 24 hours.
A new grass field was put down at Heinz Field over the weekend, after four high school games and the South Florida-Pittsburgh game were played there in a two-day period. The sod was placed atop the field used for the Steelers' first five home games, a surface called DD GrassMaster in which the grass is secured with synthetic fibers.
That field had deteriorated under the pounding of a heavy schedule this month -- both Pitt and the Steelers play at Heinz Field -- and the area between the hash marks was filled with large brown patches.
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Both teams are coming of road losses, with Miami's loss expected at Philadelphia, while the Steelers were shocked in the Meadowlands by the Jets. The Dolphins lack explosiveness, but at least they now have a chance to take a long look at the future of the offense with rookie quarterback John Beck and rookie receiver Ted Ginn Jr.
The Steelers were uncharacteristically sloppy in their loss to the Jets, in terms of pass protection, silly penalties, shoddy tackling and a disappointing red zone offense. However, this is still a good football team with a lot of pride and they will rebound against a Miami team that is still playing hard. But how many blitzes do you think the Steelers will bring versus a rookie quarterback?