By the Numbers: Putting 'Wild' in Wild Card

A deep dive into the numbers from the Wild Card game against the Cincinnati Bengals.


Sunday's AFC Wild Card game was a long one, lasting three hours and 41 minutes from kickoff to final whistle. That works out to 221 total minutes.


With the 18-16 win in the AFC Wild Card game, the Steelers improved to 34-23 in postseason history. That ties them with the Dallas Cowboys for most postseason wins in NFL history with 34. The Green Bay Packers hold the next highest mark with 31 postseason wins.


Mike Tomlin is now 6-4 in the postseason since taking the reigns as the Steelers' Head Coach in 2007. Tomlin holds a 1-0 record against the Bengals in the playoffs.


The Steelers held the Bengals scoreless in the first half, allowing just two total first downs and 56 total yards of offense in that period. The last time the Steelers defense recorded a postseason first half shutout was the 1979 Divisional Playoff game against the Miami Dolphins - 36 years ago.


The Steelers defense recorded 3.0 sacks, the first three-sack postseason game since Super Bowl XLV vs. the Green Bay Packers. Those sacks came from three different defenders - DE Cameron Heyward (1.0), LB William Gay (1.0), and LB Ryan Shazier (1.0). Heyward and Jones each pushed the Bengals back 11 yards with their sacks, while Harrison moved the line of scrimmage two yards back.


Let's talk about LB Ryan Shazier for a moment. Not only did he lead the team with 13 tackles (9 solo, 4 assists), but two of those tackles occurred behind the line of scrimmage. Shazier also added two passes defensed and two forced fumbles, one of which he recovered himself. Given those impresive numbers, it surprised nobody that he was named Steelers Digest Player of the Week.


Once again, Steelers at Bengals meant the yellow flags were flying. The teams combined for 18 accepted penalties for 222 yards. The Steelers were penalized 142 total yards on ten of those penalties, and the Bengals were penalized 79 yards on eight penalties.


The Steelers' five longest offensive plays featured five different players. Leading the pack was Antonio Brown with his 60-yard catch-and-run, followed by Martavis Bryant's 44-yard run, Markus Wheaton's 24-yard catch, Fitzgerald Tousaint's 27-yard catch-and-run, and Jordan Todman's 25-yard run.


Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers' offense on a nine-play, 74-yard fourth quarter drive to set up Chris Boswell's game-winning 35-yard field goal. It is the fourth time he has engineered a postseason fourth quarter comeback. That drive took just 1:09 to complete.


Big Ben increased his postseason passing yardage total to 3,713, joining Terry Bradshaw (3,833) as the only players in Steelers history with at least 3,500 postseason passing yards. That puts Roethlisberger just 120 pass yards behind the all-time Steelers postseason passing leader.


With a 10-yard touchdown pass to WR Martavis Bryant, Ben Roethlisberger has thrown a touchdown pass in each of his previous four postseason games and has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 14-of-16 career postseason appearances.


WR Antonio Brown recorded 119 receiving yards on seven catches, both game-highs. Those 119 receiving yards eclipsed his previous single-game playoff-high of 117 yards (set in the 2014 AFC Wild Card game; Jan. 3, 2015 vs. Baltimore) by two. He has recorded at least 100 receiving yards in back-to-back playoff games, joining Hines Ward, Ernie Mills, and John Stallworth as only the fourth Steeler to do so.


WR Martavis Bryant cought five passes for 29 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown pass from QB Ben Roethlisberger, marking the second touchdown in as many career playoff games. Bryant also added a 44-yard run in the third quarter, the second rushing attempt of his postseason career and a career playoff long. Add those up, and you discover the Martavis Bryant contributed 73 total yards of offense against the Bengals.


TE Heath Miller caught two passes for nine yards, tying Lynn Swann (48) for the fourth-most receptions in Steelers postseason history, and putting him just five yards behind Ernie Mills (587) for the fourth-most receiving yards in Steelers history with 582.


RB Fitzgerald Toussaint made his Steelers postseason debut, contributing 118 yards from scrimmage (58 rushing and 60 receiving).


RB Jordan Todman also made an impact, contributing 65 rushing yards on 11 attempts, including a 25-yard long in the fourth quarter.


LB James Harrison sacked Bengals QB AJ McCarron in the first quarter, increasing his Steelers postseason sack total to 7.5 - the second-most by a Steeler since sacks became an official statistic in 1982.


No. 95 showed up on the stats sheet, as LB Jarvis Jones recorded a strip-sack of Cincinnati QB AJ McCarron in the third quarter – his first career postseason sack and forced fumble. No. 97 did the same in the second quarter, as DE Cameron Heyward recorded his first sack and forced fumble of his postseason career.


That was the last postseason interception by the Steelers...that was, until CB Antwon Blake picked off Bengals QB AJ McCarron in the second quarter. It marked Blake's first career postseason interception.


K Chris Boswell connected on each of his four field goal attempts (39, 30, 34, and 35 yards), tying a Steelers team record for most field goals in a Steelers postseason game with 12 (Gary Anderson; 1989 at Houston, Norm Johnson; 1994 vs. Buffalo). Those 4 field goals are also a record for the most field goals made by a Steelers rookie-year/first-year kicker in a playoff game. Boswell accomplished all of this in his first career postseason game. That 35-yarder ended up sealing the win.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.