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Dublin: 9 °C Sunday 26 February, 2017
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Big Ben hurt as Bell tolls for Miami in NFL playoffs

It was all too easy for Pittsburgh in their AFC Wild Card Game.

Bell ran through tackles all evening.
Bell ran through tackles all evening.
Image: Don Wright/AP/Press Association Images

BEN ROETHLISBERGER THREW two touchdown passes to Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell ran for two touchdowns Sunday as the Pittsburgh Steelers ripped Miami 30-12 to advance in the NFL playoffs.

Bell rushed for a Steelers’ single-game playoff record 167 yards on 29 carries as Pittsburgh booked a second-round matchup next Sunday at Kansas City.

The result also sent the Houston Texans to NFL season-wins leader New England next Saturday in the other American Conference contest.

Green Bay will host the New York Giants later in the final first-round playoff game with the winner to visit Dallas next Sunday. Atlanta entertains Seattle next Saturday in the other National Conference contest.

Bitter cold of 17 degrees F (minus-8 C) and brisk wind greeted teams in Pittsburgh, a far cry from the warm conditions in October in Miami when the Dolphins beat Pittsburgh 30-15 in a regular-season game.

The Steelers opened the scoring only 2:45 into the game as Miami native Brown took a short pass from Roethlisberger and raced down the left sideline into the end zone to complete to 50-yard scoring play and give Pittsburgh a 7-0 edge.

Brown scored again with just 8:10 elapsed, cutting right to the middle of the field to grab a throw from “Big Ben” and then outracing defenders to the end zone to complete a 62-yard touchdown play and give the Steelers a 14-0 lead.

Miami’s Andrew Franks kicked a 38-yard field goal but Pittsburgh answered with Bell’s 1-yard touchdown run capping a 10-play, 83-yard march.

The Steelers took a 20-3 advantage despite a missed conversion kick, although Franks added a 47-yard field goal to trim Pittsburgh’s lead.

Roethlisberger, who connected on 13 of 18 passes for 197 yards, completed his first 11 passes to seven different receivers before a deflected toss was intercepted by Miami’s Michael Thomas to end Pittsburgh’s final first-half drive.

However, he did leave the stadium with a foot injury:

The Dolphins then marched to the Steelers’ 8-yard line but Pittsburgh’s James Harrison forced a fumble by Miami quarterback Matt Moore and Stephon Tuitt recovered for the Steelers just before half-time.

Miami drove to open the second half but Mike Mitchell forced another Moore fumble and L.T. Walton recovered for Pittsburgh, setting up Chris Boswell’s 34-yard field goal that put the Steelers ahead 23-6.

Pittsburgh’s Ryan Shazier intercepted Moore’s next pass and that led to an 8-yard Bell touchdown run to boost Pittsburgh’s lead to 30-6.

Bell broke the old Steeler one-game playoff rushing mark of 158 yards by Franco Harris against Minnesota in the 1975 Super Bowl.

Moore flipped a 4-yard touchdown pass to Damien Williams with 5:57 remaining, but missed on a two-point conversion throw to produce the final margin.

(C) AFP 2017

Miami quarterback misses just one play after taking a massive hit to the head

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