Miami linebacker Joey Porter made his return to Heinz Field a memorable one, as he played his best game of the season in the Dolphins’ 3-0 loss to the Steelers on Monday.

Porter, who was the Steelers’ emotional leader during his eight seasons in Pittsburgh, intercepted a pass to thwart a scoring opportunity on the Steelers’ first possession.

Porter, who is one of the NFL’s biggest in-game talkers, made sure his former teammates knew he was on the other side this time around.

After being tackled near the Pittsburgh sideline on his interception return, he jumped up and barked at his former teammates.

On the next series, Larry Foote, Porter’s longtime partner in the linebacking corps, took a little jab at his former teammate by mimicking Porter’s signature celebration by kicking at the air after tackling Miami running back Jesse Chatman for a 1-yard loss.

Porter responded by copying Foote’s foot stomp after the Dolphins stopped the Steelers on fourth down in the second quarter.

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Soggy start: The grass surface at Heinz Field, which was installed between Pitt’s game with South Florida on Saturday and the Steelers’ game, had a rough first night.

Heavy rainstorms moved through the area prior to kickoff, drenching the already sorry-looking surface.

Huge sections of grass were missing near each 30-yard line and at midfield.

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Hurting:The Steelers knew they would be without two of their top players when they faced the Dolphins, but they ended up losing a third before the game started.

Left tackle Marvel Smith was inactive for the game, reportedly because of back spasms. That put him on the sidelines with safety Troy Polamalu and wide receiver Santonio Holmes.

Smith’s injury had a domino effect on the offense, as Max Starks moved to left tackle.

That forced the Steelers to abandon their three tight-end formation, which Starks had been a part of since Jerame Tuman was sidelined by a back injury.

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Movin’ on up: Willie Parker became the first Steelers running back to go over the 1,000-yard mark for three straight seasons since Jerome Bettis, who did so in six straight seasons from 1996-2001. Parker also moved ahead of Rocky Bleier for seventh-place on the team’s career rushing list.

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