The Pittsburgh Steelers took on the Miami Dolphins in the AFC’s Wild Card round, and for the first time, Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell were healthy and suiting up together in the post season- they definitely didn’t disappoint. The Steelers would cruise onto the Divisional round, beating the ‘Fins by a final score of 30-12.
The game started with a bang, as it didn’t take long for the Steelers to cash in 7 points on their first offensive possession. A 5 play, 85 yard drive was capped off by a beautiful 50 yard touchdown reception by none of than Antonio Brown- his first NFL post season touchdown reception for those of you wondering at home. The main reason he was able to catch the short screen and jog the 50 yards to the endzone was all thanks to a perfectly timed Jesse James block- it seemed they weren’t missing Ladarius Green at all. The Steelers jumped out to the 7-0 lead.
Their second offensive possession also ended with 7 points, as you guessed it, Antonio Brown caught his second touchdown of the game. This six play, 95 yard drive was capped by a 62 yard touchdown reception, as Brown had 3 receptions for 119 yards and 2 touchdown before the first quarter even ended- 14-0 Steelers just like that.
The Dolphins would try to show some life, as they would finally put together some plays which resulted in a 38 yard field goal by Andrew Franks. This cut the lead by three, making it a 14-3 score.
The Steelers’ momentum continued into the second quarter, as Bell now joined in the fun. His 1 yard touchdown run on the goalline capped a 10 play, 78 yard drive- all of those yards were on the ground, by the way. Chris Boswell would miss the extra point, making the game 20-3.
Once again, the Dolphins would fight back with another field goal, this time from 47 yards out. Lead was cut to 20-6.
After a Roethlisberger turnover (one of his few first half incompletions due to an Antonio Brown drop), the Dolphins began to charge down the field. A roughing the passer call on Bud Dupree brought them within striking distance, but it would be the veteran James Harrison that would halt the drive from yielding any points- a strip sack in the red zone would end their little momentum, as Stephon Tuitt would recover the ball and end the half.
The team had 15 first downs, went 3-3 on 3rd downs, and had 286 total yards of offense. Compare that to the Dolphins’ 8 first downs, 2-6 on 3rd downs and 159 yards of total offense, and you’ll understand why the Steelers were so dominant.
The second half wasn’t much different from the first- the first offensive possession for the Steelers’ yielded 3 points off the toe of Boswell, from 34 yards out. This made the lead 23-6, and it started to look out of reach for the flat ‘Fins.
It looked even worse for them once the Steelers capped off their next possession with a 7 play 35 yard drive, via a Ryan Shazier interception that he took back 10 yards to kick off the drive. Bell accounted for 5 of the 7 touches, which resulted in an 8 yard touchdown run, making the game 30-6. He would end the day with 167 yards and 2 touchdowns on 29 touches.
Miami would finally fight back, but it would be too little too late, as the game was well decided prior to their early 4th quarter touchdown. This 9 play, 70 yard drive was capped off by a Damien Williams 4 yard touchdown reception. The team would unsuccessfully go for 2, making the score 30-12.
The Steelers won the game by a score of 30-12, and showed why many were picking them to make some noise in these 2016 NFL playoffs- Ben, Brown and Bell playing their first post season game together did not disappoint. Ben was classic Ben; AB and Bell combined for 291 total yards and 4 scores. The team travels to Kansas City next week in the Divisional round.