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Wild Card Round: Memorable Moments

Dale Lolley is co-host of SNR Drive on Steelers Nation Radio. Download the podcast here >>>

With their trip to Kansas City for Sunday's Wild Card Round game, the Steelers will have reached the postseason 33 times, the third-most of any team in NFL history, and have a 36-26 record in those previous trips.

Needless to say, they've had some meaningful finishes. When six of those playoff trips end with the team hoisting the Lombardi Trophy and two others end with at least a trip to the Super Bowl, those are typically the games everyone remembers.

But to get to the Super Bowl, sometimes you have to get there on the road less travelled, through a Wild Card Round game.

Take a look at every Wild Card Round game the Steelers have played in

Here are five memorable ones for the Steelers:

2016 vs. Miami Dolphins at Heinz Field -- The Steelers traveled to Miami to face the Dolphins in Week 6 of the 2016 season and were soundly beaten, 30-15, as Jay Ajayi rushed for 205 yards on 25 carries.

But the Steelers finished the regular season at 11-5 and won the AFC North, while the Dolphins went 10-6 and entered the playoffs as a wild card team.

That earned them a rematch with the Steelers in the opening round of the 2016 playoffs in Pittsburgh and after a lot of talking coming out of Miami about how Ajayi was going to again have his way, that simply didn't happen.

Ajayi was held to 33 yards on 16 carries and it was Le'Veon Bell and the Steelers who did all the running in that game. Bell set a new team postseason record, rushing for 167 yards on 29 carries. He broke it again the following week with 170 yards on 30 carries in Kansas City.

2015 vs. Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium – Despite losing quarterback Andy Dalton to a wrist injury in a Week 14 loss to the Steelers, the Bengals held on to win the AFC North.

That set up a rubber match with the Steelers. The two teams had split their regular season games, with each winning on the other's home turf.

The Steelers cruised out to a 15-0 lead in this game before Ben Roethlisberger was injured on a sack by Vontaze Burfict, hurting his shoulder.

With Roethlisberger in the locker room, the Bengals seemed energized. A 42-yard pass interference penalty set up a short touchdown run by Rudi Johnson to make it 15-7, then Bengals backup quarterback A.J. McCarron directed a field goal drive to make it 15-10 with 5:17 remaining.

Roethlisberger returned to the field, but not the game, and Landry Jones was unable to generate a first down and the Steelers punted.

After a 24-yard punt return by Pacman Jones gave the Bengals the ball at the Pittsburgh 45, McCarron took advantage of the field position to hit A.J. Green for a 25-yard touchdown pass and a 16-15 Bengals lead. Burfict then intercepted Jones on the first play of the next possession, running with the ball all the way out of the stadium, trailed by a number of his teammates, who thought the play would seal the game.

But with the Bengals trying to run out the clock, Ryan Shazier stripped Jeremy Hill of the ball on the very next play and Roethlisberger returned to the game with 1:23 remaining.

Despite not being able to lift his arm above his shoulder, Roethlisberger completed an 8-yard pass to Martavis Bryant, then connected on two gains for a combined 17 yards to Fitzgerald Toussaint.

But that wasn't going to get the Steelers into field goal range. On fourth-and-3 from their own 37, Roethlisberger somehow completed a 12-yard pass to Antonio Brown to convert with 22 seconds remaining.

On the next play, Roethlisberger attempted a pass down the middle to Brown and Burfict came up, smacking Brown in the head with his shoulder, drawing a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty. As the Steelers gathered around Brown, Pacman Jones went after Steelers linebackers coach Joey Porter, who had gone onto the field to check on the wide receiver, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

That set Chris Boswell up for a 35-yard game-winning kick in an 18-16 victory.

*2005 vs. Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium – *The Steelers were runners up to the AFC North Champion Bengals in 2005 despite splitting two meetings with Cincinnati that season.

Unfortunately for the Bengals, on Cincinnati's second play from scrimmage, Kimo von Oelhoffen fell into the knee of quarterback Carson Palmer, tearing his ACL and ending his game on what would be a 66-yard completion to Chris Henry.

Even so, the Bengals built a 10-0 first-quarter lead behind backup Jon Kitna.

Roethlisberger threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Willie Parker to get the Steelers on the board, but Kitna answered with a touchdown pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh to make it 17-7.

Roethlisberger pulled the Steelers back within a score late in the second quarter with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Hines Ward and the Bengals squandered a chance to push their lead to 20-14 when they mishandled a field goal snap early in the third quarter.

Jerome Bettis scored on the next possession for the Steelers, who then poured it on, as Roethlisberger hit Cedric Wilson on a 43-yard bomb and Jeff Reed kicked a field goal in the fourth quarter of a 31-17 win.

2002 vs. Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field – The Steelers won the AFC North at 10-5-1 in 2002, but it was the second-place Browns that had the better of this game early, building a 24-7 lead early in the third quarter.

But the Steelers started chipping away, getting a 6-yard touchdown pass from Tommy Maddox to Plaxico Burress to make it 24-14.

The Browns got a field goal to go up 27-14, but Maddox tossed a 3-yard touchdown pass to Jerame Tuman to make it 27-21 early in the fourth quarter. The Browns again added another touchdown, this one coming from Kelly Holcomb to Andre Davis with 10:17 remaining to extend their lead to 33-21 after their two-point conversion failed.

That was the opening the Steelers needed.

Maddox threw a touchdown pass to Hines Ward with 3:06 remaining and then Dennis Northcutt dropped a third-down pass in front of the Cleveland bench to force the Browns to punt the ball back to the Steelers.

Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala scored on a 3-yard run and Tuman caught a conversion pass from Antwaan Randle El with 54 seconds remaining in the game to complete the comeback as the Steelers won 36-33.

1989 vs. Houston Oilers at the Astrodome – The 1989 Steelers opened the season by losing to the Browns and Bengals in the first two weeks by a combined 92-10 score. That caused head coach Chuck Noll to quip that he hoped the Steelers had just played the NFL's two best teams.

But the lopsided scores were limited to the first two games of the season for the Steelers. They lost to the Oilers in Houston, 27-0, in Week 7. The Broncos beat them 34-7 in Week 9, while the Bears shut them out, 20-0, at Three Rivers Stadium in Week 10.

They posted a 1-5 record in AFC Central games, beating the Browns, 17-7, in the rematch in Cleveland after losing 51-0 at home in the regular season opener.

They rallied, however, to win their final three games to get to 9-7 but still needed a lot of help to sneak into the playoffs. That help came through with the Vikings beating the Bengals to send the Steelers into the postseason.

The Steelers led 10-6 at the half on a Tim Worley touchdown run and Gary Anderson field goal, then extended their lead to 16-9 early in the fourth quarter on Anderson's third field goal of the game.

But the Oilers grabbed the lead on a pair of Warren Moon touchdown passes to Ernest Givens for a 23-16 advantage, only to see the Steelers tie the game on a 2-yard Merril Hoge touchdown run with 46 seconds remaining to send it to overtime.

Rod Woodson, who had been hospitalized with the flu and a concussion earlier in the week, hit Lorenzo White in flat, forcing and recovering the fumble at the Houston 46. The Steelers gained just 13 yards from there setting Anderson up for another field goal, this one from 50 yards.

Anderson was just 6 of 15 on 50-yard field goal attempts at that point in his career, but indoors and knowing his defense would have trouble shutting down Moon and the high-powered Oilers offense again, Noll had Anderson try it.

Anderson snuck the attempt through the uprights for a win to send the Steelers on to Denver for a Divisional Round game.

Dale Lolley appears courtesy of DKPittsburghSports.com

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