Bell's run to the record

A look at Steelers 30, Dolphins 12 via the magic of the DVR:

ANY WAY YOU WANT IT: In assessing how he'd rushed for a Steelers' postseason-record 167 yards in his first career postseason game, running back Le'Veon Bell opted to count the ways the Steelers are capable of attacking.

"We can spread 'em out, throw the ball all over the place," Bell assessed. "We can line up big, run the ball. We can run the ball out of shotgun. We can run the ball out of four-wide. We can pass the ball out of four-wide. We can pass the ball out of big formation.

"I think we're really balanced."

The Steelers were definitely equal-opportunity exploiters when it came to running through the Dolphins.

Bell's 29-carry, 167-yard, two-touchdown effort included running out of six different personnel groups.

The breakdown:

Three wide receivers, one tight end and Bell _ 11 carries for 77 yards (7.0 per) and a touchdown.

Two wide receivers, two tight ends and Bell _ 2-for-5 (2.5).

Two tight ends (one of which was offensive lineman Chris Hubbard), a fullback, a wide receiver and Bell _ 6-for-31 (5.2).

Three tight ends (one of which was Hubbard), a wide receiver and Bell _ 7-for-53 (7.6).

Two wide receivers, a tight end, a fullback and Bell _ 1-for-0 (0.0).

And three tight ends (one of which was Hubbard), a fullback and Bell (used on the goal line) _ 2-for-1 (0.5), one TD.

The 11 carries for 77 yards with three wide receivers on the field all came at the expense of the Dolphins' five-defensive backs "nickel" defense.

And the combined total when Hubbard was on the field at tight end was 15 carries for 85 yards (5.7).

Bell's two longest runs of the day were for 26 yards (out of a three-wide receivers, one-tight end set) and for 25 yards (when three tight ends, including Hubbard, and a wide receiver were deployed).

Bell had as many carries for more than 10 yards (five 11, 15, 15, 25 and 26) as he did for no gain or negative yardage (five three for no gain, one for minus 2 and one for minus 4).


Take a look at the best photos from the Week 18 Wild Card matchup against the Dolphins. The Steelers defeated the Dolphins 30-12.

YARDS AFTER CONTACT:** Bell's 26-yard run to the Miami 6-yard line on second-and-2 from the Miami 32 midway through the third quarter was atypical.

It would have gone for a loss had Bell not been able to escape nickel cornerback Bobby McCain and defensive end Cameron Wake, both of whom had an unblocked path to the backfield from the left side of the defensive formation.

Wake never caught up to Bell, who took a handoff in the shotgun formation and started left.

Bell was able to ward off McCain with a stiff-arm at the Miami 35 and at the same time step away from a diving attempt at a tackle by defensive end Andre Branch, who had gone low to avoid pulling left tackle Marcus Gilbert's block.

McCain wound up falling over Branch just after getting stiff-armed by Bell.

From there, Bell exploded inside wide receiver Antonio Brown's block on cornerback Tony Lippett and wasn't contacted until safety Michael Thomas closed on Bell inside the Miami 15.

Another stiff-arm got Bell to the 8 before he stumbled out of bounds.


UNTOUCHED TOUCHDOWN:** Bell's second score of the game and the run that pushed him past the 158 rushing yards Franco Harris had amassed in Super Bowl IX was much more representative of the support he received throughout.

The Steelers ran the ball on third-and-5 from the Miami 8. Pulling right guard David DeCastro (on Branch), tight end David Johnson (on linebacker Kiko Alonso), left offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva (on linebacker Jelani Jenkins) and wide receiver Eli Rogers (on McCain) were among the Steelers who got a hat on a hat.

Safety Bacarri Rambo over-ran the gap, Bell cut between the blocks of DeCastro and Johnson and waltzed into the end zone and into the record book.

LEADING THE WAY: Bell's second-longest long gain of the day went for 25 yards from the Miami 26-yard line to the Miami 1 in the second quarter. He wasn't touched until he began to spin through a diving attempt at an arm tackle by Rambo at the Dolphins' 9. Lippett ultimately helped keep Bell out of the end zone on a play that was initially called a touchdown before a  replay review determined Bell was down inside the 1.

Among the blocks that paved the way:

-Gilbert, pulling, on linebacker Donald Butler.

-Brown on Lippett.

-Villanueva on Alonso.

-Left guard Ramon Foster on defensive end Nick Williams.

-Center Maurkice Pouncey on defensive tackle Jordan Phillips.

-DeCastro on defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

-And, Hubbard on linebacker Nick Hewitt.  

"Everybody gets involved in the run game," CBS analyst Phil Simms gushed.

HE SAID IT: "Instead of trying to tell you who's making a good block, I'll just say 'all.' I think that'll just cover it because the last play, I'm telling you, everybody on the offensive line had a good block for that gain." _ Simms after an 8-yard run by Bell and prior to Bell's 25-yard scamper in the second quarter.

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