The Associated Press PITTSBURGH (AP) — 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 two scores. The Steelers 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 two 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 five receptions for 124 yards and the two 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, by 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.