Bell's absence felt:The Steelers biggest weapon on offense in the postseason, Le'Veon Bell, was injured in the first quarter, on what he said was the second play of the game. Bell stayed in as long as he could, but the groin injury hampered him too much.
Game action from the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots.
"I got banged up, still tried to go, but it got progressively worse," said Bell. "I couldn't be myself. I felt like I couldn't burst anymore. I felt like I was holding the team back."
Bell had just six carries for 20 yards, but never got involved in the passing game, finishing without a reception. Bell set a Steelers record for most yards rushing in a single postseason with 357, but that number would go no higher.
Coach Mike Tomlin said losing Bell changed the strategy on offense, but you have to adapt.
"Injuries are a part of the game," said Tomlin. "We didn't do a good enough job, or a quick enough job, adapting to the circumstance."
Le'Veon Bell came into the game for Bell, finishing the game with 14 carries for 34 yards and a five-yard touchdown, as well as seven receptions for 51 yards.
"I thought DeAngelo did a great job," said Ben Roethlisberger. "Le'Veon is a special back. We all know that. We missed not having him out there. I don't want to take anything away from what DeAngelo did. DeAngleo found his way open and made plays for us. I can't say enough about what he did stepping in for probably the best back in the game."
Harrison 'not done': ** Linebacker William Gay was asked following the game if he plans on giving it a shot again next year, and he made it clear.
"I'm not done," said Harrison.
Harrison, who at age 38 continues to play at a high level, was asked again about next year, about if he will be back or not.
"Like I said, I'm not done," reiterated Harrison. "I feel physically fine."
Giving it his all: Ben Roethlisberger completed 31 of 47 passes for 314 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Roethlisberger also had one touchdown pass dropped, one negated when Jesse James was ruled down at the one-yard line, and one called back because of a penalty.
Roethlisberger passed Terry Bradshaw with his fourth career postseason game with 300-plus yards passing. Roethlisberger also passed Dan Marino for sixth-most passing yards in NFL playoff history.
But at the end of the day, it was disappointment as the team lost to the Patriots, 36-17.
"Only one team is going to end the season the way they want to," said Roethlisberger. "And it's not us this year. I told the guys afterwards I was proud of them. We went from 4-5 to the championship game. If there is going to be any silver lining, it's that. I am really proud of the guys and there is a lot of love. I think the Lord has blessed me to be a on a great football team, a great organization. It's disappointing we couldn't get this one for Mr. (Dan) Rooney. I really wanted to do it for him."
Missed opportunities: The Steelers were stopped twice near the goal line against the Patriots. Near the end of the first half Jesse James had what was originally ruled a 19-yard touchdown, but after reviewing the play he was ruled down at the one-yard line. The Steelers had first-and-goal from the one-yard line, but lost yards on two consecutive plays. After an incomplete pass they had to settle for a field goal.
In the fourth quarter the Steelers had first-and-goal from the six-yard line. Ben Roethlisberger hit Landry Jones for a two-yard touchdown, but Hamilton drew a penalty for an illegal touch because he went out of bounds, and then returned to make the catch. The Steelers failed to convert on fourth down and turned it over on downs.
"The red zone trips need to turn into seven points," said Roethlisberger. "They were better than us.
"You have to score when you are down there. There were other missed opportunities, whether we didn't execute well enough, whether plays weren't made by me or other guys."