By Danny Cox
The Pittsburgh Steelers had a great regular season with a few ups and downs that made many doubt how they would do in the playoffs. Even more doubt was raised when the Miami Dolphins were announced as their opponents for the Wild Card. These same Dolphins who beat them by two scores earlier this season when running back Jay Ajayi exploded for more than 200 yards on the ground.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Doctors Say They Are Seeing More Kids In Hospitals With COVID-19
All of that doubt was erased on Sunday as the Steelers routed the Dolphins 30-12 and showed that not only could their defense play strong, but that they also had a very impressive running back.
Before anyone even knew what was going on, Ben Roethlisberger had completed his first seven passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns to Antonio Brown. At that point, the Steelers knew the game was in their control and they turned it over to Le’Veon Bell. At the end of the day, Bell finished up with 167 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 29 attempts.
After his hot start, Big Ben threw just 11 more passes, completing six of them for just 77 yards. While the QB was sacked twice and threw two interceptions (which helped the Dolphins stay somewhat in the game) it was a great showing by all involved.
When these two teams met earlier in the season, running back Jay Ajayi rushed all over the Steelers for more than 200 yards. One of the keys to victory this week was to contain him, and that’s exactly what Pittsburgh did. Ajayi finished the game with just 33 yards on 16 carries and no scores in a very lackluster day for the explosive back.READ MORE: Dozens Of PPS Teachers Could Be Furloughed Soon
It didn’t help matters that the Dolphins had to abandon the running game from falling behind so quickly. Matt Moore really didn’t have a bad day as he threw for 289 yards on 29-of-36 passing with one touchdown and one interception. He was hounded the entire day, though, and knocked around to the tune of five sacks—two of which came at the hands of Lawrence Timmons.
Special Teams: C
There wasn’t much to be said about the return game for the Steelers, but kick return coverage was not good. Miami was able to rack up 119 yards on four kick returns with a long of 58 yards by Kenyan Drake. The Dolphins were able to obtain decent field position for most of the game, but the defense of the Steelers bailed them out.
Chris Boswell hit his lone field goal attempt and connected on three of four extra point attempts. One hit the upright in the first half and bounced away.
Mike Tomlin recently had to deal with harsh words from a Pittsburgh Steelers legend as Terry Bradshaw revealed he didn’t think much of the current coach. But, on Sunday, Tomlin came out and showed the world that he’s is the right man for the job; he led the Steelers into the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Pittsburgh opened the game up with big plays and used strong defense to hold onto the lead for the whole game.
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The Pittsburgh Steelers must now travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium next Sunday. Earlier this season, the Steelers decimated the Chiefs by a score of 43-14, but a lot of time has past since then, and the Chiefs have obviously improved. If Le’Veon Bell and the rest of the team plays like they did against the Dolphins, though, Pittsburgh will easily be on the way to the Conference Championship.