Steelers rout Dolphins 30-12, advance to meet Kansas City
Send a link to a friend
[January 09, 2017]
(The Sports Xchange) - The
Pittsburgh Steelers' dynamic B-team offensive trio of Ben
Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell, a bitterly cold
winter day and non-stop pressure by the blitzing defense created a
30-12 AFC playoff game home rout of the Miami Dolphins on Sunday
that wasn't even that close.
"The defense played great, and we went out to control the ball and
score some touchdowns," Bell said after the Steelers coasted into
next Sunday's AFC divisional game at Kansas City.
The third-seeded Steelers did all that and more in winning an
NFL-best eighth in a row, one more than the top-seeded New England
Patriots, who appear to be Pittsburgh's biggest roadblock to playing
in a ninth Super Bowl.
"We had a lot of significant contributions. We had the big three
running on offense and the defense stopped the run," Steelers coach
Mike Tomlin said.
Bell ran for two touchdowns and a team playoff record 167 yards,
Brown caught two first-quarter touchdown passes of at least 50 yards
and the Steelers' pressure defense forced three turnovers. And
Roethlisberger was nearly flawless in running the offense, which ran
up 219 yards in the first quarter alone.
The Steelers quickly built a 20-3 lead less than 18 minutes into the
game and went on to only their second playoff win since last
appearing in the Super Bowl during the 2010 season.
Roethlisberger apparently injured an ankle on the next to last play
of the game. Big Ben doesn't know the severity, but he was spotted
in a walking boot on his right foot after the game.
"We will find out soon, hopefully," Roethlisberger said. "You're
always worried about being hurt, but I'll be out there next week."
With backup quarterback Matt Moore pressured constantly while losing
two fumbles and throwing an interception during a mid-game span of
only three series, the mistake-ridden Dolphins didn't come close to
replicating their 30-15 win over the Steelers on Oct. 16, which
started Pittsburgh on a four-game losing streak.
[to top of second column]
Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) carries the ball past Miami
Dolphins cornerback Tony Lippett (36) and outside linebacker Jelani
Jenkins (53) during the second half in the AFC Wild Card playoff
football game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA
Ajayi, who ran for 204 yards and two touchdowns in that game, was
held to 33 yards on 16 carries and wasn't a factor.
"We had a difficult time running the ball ... it took us time to get
going," Moore said. "We took time to get going, but it was difficult
most of the day."
Especially for Moore, who was knocked out of the game for one play
after taking a hard hit from linebacker Bud Dupree along the
sideline while throwing a pass, then returned to turn the ball over
on three consecutive possessions.
The weather -- the game-time temperature was 17 degrees Fahrenheit
(minus 8 Celsius) -- no doubt was a factor, as attested by line
judge Carl Johnson's frozen whistle.
The Dolphins, who practiced all week in the warmth of south Florida
for their first playoff game since 2008, huddled around sideline
heaters all afternoon in a failed attempt to warm up an offense that
never got going as chilly winds blew off the adjacent three rivers
and into a frigid Heinz Field.
(Editing by Andrew Both)
[© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2017 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.