January means playoff football

When it comes to Steelers history, some of the biggest dates happened in the month of January, when playoff football is at a fever pitch.

Take a look back at some key dates from This Week in Steelers History.

January 4, 1976
AFC Championship Game
Steelers 16, Oakland Raiders 10
Three Rivers Stadium

In blustery conditions it was only fitting that the game would be a defensive battle the majority of the way. L.C. Greenwood hit Raiders running back Marv Hubbard, forcing the fumble, and Lambert recovered giving the Steelers the ball at the Raiders 25-yard line. Three plays later Terry Bradshaw connected with John Stallworth for a 20-yard touchdown to give the Steelers a 16-7 lead and seal the win.

January 5, 2007
Coach Bill Cowher retires

After 15 seasons as the Coach of the Steelers, Bill Cowher stepped down following the 2006 season. Cowher led the Steelers to postseason appearances in each of his first six seasons, tying an NFL record. In his 15-year tenure the Steelers made 10 postseason appearances, won eight division titles, played in six AFC Championship games and two Super Bowls, winning Super Bowl XL. Cowher ended his Steelers career with an overall record of 161-99-1 (.619), including a 149-90-1 (.623) mark in the regular season.

During his retirement press conference among those he thanked were Steelers Nation.

"To the Steelers fans in Pittsburgh and the fans around the country – second to none," said Cowher. "I want to thank you for your passion and your support. I've said this before. I'm a part of you. You can take the people out of Pittsburgh, but you will never take the Pittsburgh out of people. I'm one of you. 'Yinz' know what I mean."

January 7, 1995
AFC Divisional Playoff Game
Steelers 29, Cleveland Browns 9
Three Rivers Stadium

The Steelers faced the Browns for the third time that season, and for the third time they were victorious over their divisional foes. Barry Foster rushed for 133 yards, and the Steelers gained a total of 238 yards on the ground alone. The 'Blitzburgh' defense allowed the Browns only 186 total yards, with Browns quarterback Vinny Testaverde completing just 13 passes for 144 yards and two interceptions.

January 8, 2006
AFC Wild Card Playoff Game
Steelers 31, Cincinnati Bengals 17
Paul Brown Stadium

It was the first game in a journey that would end with the Steelers winning Super Bowl XL, and it was a game filled with ups and downs. Cincinnati, who lost quarterback Carson Palmer to a knee injury in the game, jumped out to a 10-0 lead. The Steelers closed it to 10-7, but the Bengals came back to make it 17-7. From that point on, though, it was all Steelers. The Steelers rattled off 24 unanswered points to move on and continue their road journey to Super Bowl XL.

January 8, 2017
AFC Wild Card Game
Steelers 30, Miami Dolphins 12
Heinz Field

Ben Roethlisberger came out firing against the Dolphins, completing his first 11 passes, including two long touchdowns on the first two drives, one for 50 yards and one for 62 yards, in a 30-12 win over the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Wild Card Game.

Roethlisberger finished the day completing 13 of 18 passes for 197 yards and the two touchdowns, and said the plan was to open the game passing the ball and then let that open up the run game.

"We started the game off throwing the ball," said Roethlisberger. "That created the open running game. We've gone into games where we've run it to throw. This game we came out throwing to run. We had a mindset on the third series we were going to go to the jumbo and bring in the extra lineman, (Chris) Hubbard, and we were going to run on four straight downs if we had to.

"You've got to do what's best for the team. The running game opened up and worked."

The defense dominated in the game, with five sacks, including two by Lawrence Timmons, who added 14 tackles.