The Steelers beat the Dolphins at home in the first round of the playoffs in a decisive performance to advance to the divisional round.
The Steelers came out swinging against the Dolphins in the wildcard portion of the NFL playoffs. They put together a couple of scores early and maintained that lead throughout the game. They had handle on the Dolphins throughout the afternoon. It was a night and day performance compared to their early season matchup.
So let’s dive in and talk about what happened.
As was previously hinted at the Steelers wasted no time in setting the tone. Le’Veon Bell had an 11 yard run. Shortly after, a 19 yard pass to Eli Rogers converted a 3rd down. Then Antonio Brown took a short pass to the sideline and ran it 50 yards for a touchdown, aided by some nice receiver blocking. Pittsburgh up 7-0.
The Dolphins first drive had a promising start with an 11 yard pass to Jarvis Landry but they were forced to punt soon after. The Steelers kept up their pace though. A 10 yard pass to Heyward-Bey started it off. Then an 11 yard pass to Demarcus Ayers converted a 3rd down. Again, Antonio Brown took a short pass and scurried through defenders taking it 62 yards for a touchdown. Pittsburgh up 14-0.
The Dolphins were stuffed a couple times in the run but Matt Moore converted on 3rd down with a 36 yard pass to Kenny Stills. They weren’t able to get much more but got a field goal out of the effort. Pittsburgh up 14-3.
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Le’Veon Bell single handedly put the next drive together in terms of skill positions. Fine handing off from Roethlisberger. He too the ball 77 yards in 8 runs. The highlights were a 15 yard run and a 25 yard scramble all the way to the goal line. Shortly after he finished the drive. Boswell missed the kick. Pittsburgh up 20-3.
The Dolphins continued to struggle. They fumbled on the kickoff, though recovered. Then they needed all 4 downs and a fake punt to get their first first down of the drive. They managed a 17 yard pass to Sims. After a handful of penalties the Dolphins were forced to kick. Pittsburgh up 20-6.
The Steelers moved the ball on their next drive with runs and short passes. They were assisted by a pass interference penalty. But a deep pass to Brown was intercepted. Then Moore threw it 8 yards to Landry, then 15 yards to Landry. Parker contributed a 37 yard reception of his own. But at the Pittsburgh 8, Harrison swooped in and sacked Moore, forcing a fumble that Tuitt recovered.
The Dolphins would start the half on offense but it went too much like their last opportunity. There were a couple nice passes from Moore to Landry. Mike Mitchell blitzed though and sacked Moore forcing another fumble in Pittsburgh territory which L.T. Walton recovered.
Again the Steelers turned to Bell. He ran for 15 yards, then 8, then 26. The Steelers had their own drive ending sack though and had to kick a field goal. Pittsburgh up 23-6.
Ryan Shazier managed to increase the misery in Miami when he intercepted a pass intended for Landry and returned it 10 yards to the Miami 25. The Steelers didn’t get much from their first two plays but a Roethlisberger and a hard count got them a 1st down. Then a few Bell runs were capped off by an 8 yarder into the endzone. Pittsburgh up 30-6.
Miami’s next drive was kicked off with a 58 yard return from DeVante Parker. Unfortunately for the Dolphins however they went three and out after that.
The Steelers reciprocated though and went three and out themselves. Moore threw a 12 yard pass to Stills. But Dupree and Harrison combined on a sack that stalled the drive. Then another three and out from the Steelers.
Moore started off the next drive sharp. A couple of short passes got a first down. Then a 26 yard pass to Stills got them into Pittsburgh territory. Landry caught passes of 13 and 11 yards. Finally Williams pulled in the touchdown pass for 4 yards. They went for 2 but were not successful. Pittsburgh up 30-12.
The Steelers pretty quickly turned around and tossed an interception to Miami again. With 4 and half minutes to go, a win was unlikely. The Dolphins marched down to the Pittsburgh 27 but two consecutive sacks from Lawrence Timmons ended the game.
On to the next one. The Steelers face the Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional Round next week. As Tomlin summarized in the post-game press conference, “We had the big 3 rolling on offense and we stopped the run on defense.”
All stats via NFL.com