NFL PLAYOFFS - STEELERS 30, DOLPHINS 12 ; Wild-Card Rout; "Big Three" Power Steelers by Dolphins

By Graves, Will | Charleston Gazette Mail, January 9, 2017 | Go to article overview

NFL PLAYOFFS - STEELERS 30, DOLPHINS 12 ; Wild-Card Rout; "Big Three" Power Steelers by Dolphins


Graves, Will, Charleston Gazette Mail


PITTSBURGH - Injuries forced Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell to wait three seasons for the chance to run onto the field together in the playoffs. The wait for the Pittsburgh Steelers' "Big Three" to do it again won't be nearly as long. Bell ran for a franchise postseason record 167 yards and two scores, Brown caught five passes for 124 yards and a pair of first-quarter touchdowns from Roethlisberger as the Steelers overwhelmed the beaten-up and mistake-prone Miami Dolphins 30-12 on Sunday.

Pittsburgh (12-5) ran off its eighth straight victory by avenging a whipping by the Dolphins (10-7) in mid-October to set up a visit to AFC West champion Kansas City (12-4) next Sunday. The Steelers rolled by the Chiefs 43-14 on Oct. 2.

Bell missed the playoffs each of the last two seasons with knee injuries, and Brown sat out a divisional-round playoff loss to Denver 12 months ago due to a concussion. They played as if trying to make up for lost time.

The Dolphins tried to hype themselves up by running around in shirt sleeves in the single-digit wind chill during warmups. Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier did them one better, racing around shirtless - as if to send a message that his team is plenty comfortable playing this time of year.

It sure looked like it.

The Steelers scored on their first three possessions, and Miami's playoff victory drought was well on its way to 17 years and counting.

Brown turned a pair of short passes into long scores. The first, a 50-yard sprint down the left sideline, came after Brown patiently waited for tight end Jesse James to provide the one block he needed. The second, a crossing pattern Brown turned into a 62-yard touchdown, ended with the All-Pro receiver pointing at a Miami defender as he crossed the goal line to put the Steelers up 14-0 before the game was even 10 minutes old.

Matt Moore, making the first playoff start of his decade-long career with Ryan Tannehill still sidelined by a sprained knee, played on despite taking a helmet-to-chin shot from Pittsburgh linebacker Bud Dupree in the second quarter. Moore returned just minutes after sitting dazed on the turf and completed 29 of 36 passes for 289 yards with a touchdown and an interception. …

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