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Steelers Dominate Wild Card Matchup Against Dolphins

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Pittsburgh Steelers dominate every aspect of their Wild Card matchup with the Miami Dolphins.

Mike Tomlin has been somewhat under a microscope this season, so he quieted his doubters the only way he knows how: Dominate on the field. The Pittsburgh Steelers had no problem advancing to the Divisional Round of the AFC playoffs with their complete dismantling of the hampered Miami Dolphins. With a 30-12 victory, the Steelers solidified a matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs next Sunday.

The last time the Steelers and Dolphins met, both teams looked a lot different. The Dolphins had Ryan Tannehill, Mike Pouncey, and Rashad Jones. The men that filled their places on Sunday were not able to dominate the Steelers the way they did in their first matchup. Although Matt Moore was unbelievably efficient by going 29/36 for 289 yards, he turned the ball over three times and was sacked five times. The lack of Rashad Jones made the Dolphins secondary a tackling liability, as they allowed over 100 yards after the catch.

The Steelers were fortunate enough to have their health in this matchup, as they had Ryan Shazier and Bud Dupree unlike in the first matchup. Bud Dupree had the best game of his young career as he completely handled every matchup the Dolphins offensive line threw at him. Dupree had six tackles, seven pressures on the quarterback, a half sack, and two quarterback hits including one that took Matt Moore out of the game for a moment. Shazier added six tackles and two quarterback hits of his own, as well an interception that led to a touchdown. Lawrence Timmons, who led the team in tackles on Sunday, talked about the importance of the defense’s performance.

“Turnovers are huge. Rush and cover work together. You saw Bud [Dupree] with the hit on the quarterback. The D-line was getting after the quarterback. And the guys in the back were picking the ball off. Our secondary did a good job breaking up balls. It was huge for us.”


The Steelers offense found a great balance throughout this game, with much of the credit going to the offensive line as they found a way to dominate the line of scrimmage. Linemen Maurkice Pouncey, David Decastro, and Marcus Gilbert received three of the top five offensive grades for the Steelers on Sunday on Pro Football Focus. Maurkice Pouncey was the only Steelers lineman to not allow a single pressure on his quarterback on the day, as Roethlisberger faced pressure on just four of his dropbacks.

With the lack of pressure being put on Roethlisberger, he was able to target his favorite target Antonio Brown on half of his pass attempts. Antonio Brown came out with a bang, as he turned two short pass plays into touchdowns in the first quarter alone. Roethlisberger was efficient and effective, but still made a few mistakes as he threw two interceptions, including one where he injured his right ankle. But luckily it was a minor injury, and he will be good to go next Sunday.

The offensive line opened up a ton of holes for Le’Veon Bell on Sunday. In Bell‘s first career postseason game, he broke the Steelers record for rushing yards in a postseason game. Bell finished the day with 167 rushing yards, two touchdowns, and received the highest offensive grade for the Steelers with an 86. Le’Veon Bell commented on the moment he found out that he had broken the franchise postseason single game rushing record.

“They announced it. I think at the end of the third quarter they announced it. That’s when I saw it. It kind of blew me away. It’s really humbling. It’s a great achievement. It just goes to show you how good this team has been. The offensive line has gotten better over the course of the year. We’re getting there and it’s really showing.”


The explosive Steelers offense and opportunistic defense turned in a great showing on Sunday that extended the teams win streak to eight. A home victory in the playoffs was a huge step towards their journey to the Super Bowl. As they travel to Kansas City for their Divisional Round matchup with the Chiefs, they hope to repeat their performance that they had against them earlier in the season.

Statistics and quotes referenced via Pittsburgh Steelers Media Guide and Pro Football Focus