'Big Three' Power Steelers by Dolphins

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), January 9, 2017 | Go to article overview

'Big Three' Power Steelers by Dolphins


Byline: Will Graves AP Sports Writer

PITTSBURGH -- Le'Veon Bell spent the last two Januarys watching helplessly while the Pittsburgh Steelers tried to make a deep postseason run without him. The ever fluid running back made up for lost time Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

So did Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown, the other members of Pittsburgh's "Big Three" together in the playoffs for the first time.

Pounding away relentless at a defense that hardly seemed interested in stopping him at frigid Heinz Field, Bell ran for a franchise postseason record 167 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Steelers (12-5) overwhelmed the beaten-up and mistake-prone Miami Dolphins 30-12 on Sunday.

"We wanted to go out there and make a statement," Bell said.

Bell, Brown and Roethlisberger, who wore a walking boot on his right foot afterward, more than wiped away the bitter aftertaste of a 30-15 whipping at the hands of the Dolphins in mid-October.

Given a shot at redemption, Pittsburgh didn't let it go to waste. The Steelers (12-5) led by 2 touchdowns before the game was 10 minutes old on long touchdown passes from Roethlisberger to Brown. Miami never got closer than 11.

"Le'Veon was beastly," said Brown, who finished with 5 receptions for 124 yards and the 2 scores. "All day, controlling the line of scrimmage, just running guys over and finding a way to put the ball in the end zone. Any time he's playing like that, we're going to be a hard team to beat."

Certainly, at least, teams like the Dolphins (10-7). Given a chance to prove their first playoff berth in eight years wasn't a fluke despite being outgained and outscored during the regular season, Miami never found a rhythm.

The problem wasn't the single-digit wind chill or a vicious hit absorbed by quarterback Matt Moore in the second quarter as much as it was the Steelers.

Pittsburgh sacked Moore five times, forced turnovers on three consecutive possessions in the middle of the game, and never really let the Dolphins up off the deck.

"It's hard to win when you turn the ball over," said Moore, completed 29 of 36 passes for 289 yards with a touchdown and an interception. "In the playoffs, you can't make mistakes, and that's on me."

Roethlisberger tweaked the ankle while throwing an interception on Pittsburgh's penultimate drive. He sprinted off the field afterward and said he will be ready to go against the Chiefs.

The Steelers rolled by the Chiefs 43-14 on Oct. 2.

"We have to understand the same passion and dedication that we put in this week to beat Miami, that's how Kansas City is going to try to beat us," Bell said.

At least Bell will be around for the challenge. He missed the playoffs each of the last two seasons with knee injuries. All he did in his postseason debut was break Hall of Famer Franco Harris' team mark for yards rushing in a playoff game. …

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