Steelers' balance too much for Miami

They came out throwing.

And then they ran it down Miami's throats.

"We started out the game throwing the ball and I think that really created the open running game," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said.

Running back Le'Veon Bell did, too, particularly after he saw the way the Miami defense reacted to 50- and 62-yard touchdown passes to wide receiver Antonio Brown on the Steelers' first two possessions of what became a 30-12 thumping of the Dolphins on Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field.

"When (Brown) scared those guys earlier in the game they backed up so far they were just letting us run the ball down the field," Bell said. "They were hoping maybe we would get a self-inflicted penalty, like a holding or maybe a false start or something, kind of set us behind the chains, but we didn't. We kept a nice clean drive, I ran the ball hard, the offensive line opened the holes, Ben pitting us in the right spot and obviously coach (offensive coordinator Todd Haley) just putting us in the right situation and just staying with the run.

"That was the biggest thing, we didn't get impatient. We drove the ball and allowed things to happen."

What happened was the Steelers gave the ball to Bell on 10 consecutive plays on their third possession, and he wound up rushing for 78 yards on what wound up as an 83-yard touchdown drive (Miami contributed 5 yards on an encroachment penalty).

Bell finished with 167 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries and surpassed Franco Harris' 158 rushing yards in Super Bowl IX for the most in Steelers' postseason history.

Guard Ramon Foster was much more interested in the running game's results than the record.

"It's late in the season, you gotta run, period," Foster said. "You don't pay the offensive line whatever amount of money not to run the ball. We have the guys to be able to do it, we just have to execute up front.

"Ben says the team goes as we go, Coach Haley (offensive coordinator Todd) calls it and let us run the show for a little bit."


THE JAMES GANG:** The defense helped deliver the Steelers to Kansas City for a second-round meeting with the Chiefs with splash plays that included an interception (linebacker Ryan Shazier) and five sacks, two of which forced fumbles by quarterback Matt Moore that were recovered by the Steelers.

Moore's first fumble occurred on first-and-goal from the Steelers' 8-yard line with 27 seconds left in the second quarter and the Dolphins trailing, 20-6.

Linebacker William Gay forced it and defensive end Stephon Tuitt recovered.

"That was huge," linebacker Ryan Shazier said. "And them running the ball in the first half and not going anywhere, that was a pivotal part of the game."

Running back Jay Ajayi had rushed for 204 yards and two touchdowns in the Dolphins' 30-15 victory over the Steelers on Oct. 16.

He had nine carries for 20 yards in the first two quarters and finished with 33 yards on 16 attempts.  

Game action from the AFC Wild Card game against the Miami Dolphins.

"We want to try to make a team as one-dimensional as possible," Tuitt said. "We have to be physical, we have to be detailed, we have to be accountable for each other and we have to want it more.

"We went out there and we showed that."

It'll be a confident Steelers' defense that heads to Kansas City as a result.

"I think we're a group on the rise," safety Sean Davis said. "Each and every week we're playing hard, we're playing better, communicating better and it's showing.

"We're yelling we're and we feel good. I just want to keep riding this out, keep going."

Added Shazier: "We're definitely peaking at the right time. We understand what everybody can do. The coaches put us in good position for everybody to make plays. At the end of the day we just have to make them and we are.

"Opportunities are coming our way, guys are feeling really confident, we feel confident in each other and it's really showing on the field."  


THEY SAID IT:** "I'm not excited about this. We beat Cincy last year in the same week. It's bigger than this week. We're looking forward to the next round." _ Foster on beating the Dolphins.

"I'm standing back there and I'm watching him and like, 'Are you going to go at any time here?' He's so patient, and then when he needs to put his head down and run someone over he does that. It's fun to sit and watch and see what he's going to do because he's incredibly talented." _ Roethlisberger on Bell.

"He's a peculiar leader because he's somewhat unassuming and he doesn't have a lot to say, but his actions speak volumes. I think he's an easy guy to follow from that perspective." _ Head coach Mike Tomlin on Harrison.

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