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Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown help Steelers rout Dolphins in wild-card game

Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates his

Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates his touchdown with Le'Veon Bell in the first quarter during the Wild Card Playoff game against the Miami Dolphins at Heinz Field on Jan. 8, 2017 in Pittsburgh. Credit: Getty Images / Justin K. Aller

PITTSBURGH — Le’Veon Bell spent the last two Januarys watching helplessly while the Pittsburgh Steelers tried to make a deep postseason run without him. The ever fluid running back made up for lost time Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

So did Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown, the other members of Pittsburgh’s “Big Three” together in the playoffs for the first time.

Pounding away relentless at a defense that hardly seemed interested in stopping him at frigid Heinz Field, Bell ran for a franchise postseason record 167 yards and two scores. The Steelers overwhelmed the beaten-up and mistake-prone Miami Dolphins, 30-12, yesterday.

“We wanted to go out there and make a statement,” Bell said.

Bell, Brown and Roethlisberger, who wore a walking boot on his right foot afterward, more than wiped away the bitter aftertaste of a 30-15 whipping at the hands of the Dolphins in mid-October. Given a shot at redemption, Pittsburgh didn’t let it go to waste. The Steelers (12-5) led by two touchdowns before the game was 10 minutes old on long touchdown passes from Roethlisberger to Brown. Miami never got closer than 11.

“Le’Veon was beastly,” said Brown, who finished with five receptions for 124 yards and the two scores. “All day, controlling the line of scrimmage, just running guys over and finding a way to put the ball in the end zone. Any time he’s playing like that, we’re going to be a hard team to beat.”

Certainly, at least, teams like the Dolphins (10-7). Given a chance to prove their first playoff berth in eight years wasn’t a fluke, Miami never found a rhythm. The problem wasn’t the wind chill or a vicious hit absorbed by quarterback Matt Moore in the second quarter as much as it was the Steelers.

Pittsburgh sacked Moore five times, forced turnovers on three consecutive possessions in the middle of the game, and never really let up on the Dolphins. “It’s hard to win when you turn the ball over,” said Moore, completed 29 of 36 passes for 289 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Pittsburgh (12-5) ran off its eighth straight victory to set up a visit to AFC West champion Kansas City (12-4) next Sunday. The Steelers rolled by the Chiefs 43-14 on Oct. 2.

“We have to understand the same passion and dedication that we put in this week to beat Miami, that’s how Kansas City is going to try to beat us,” Bell said.

Roethlisberger completed his first 10 passes and finished 13 of 18 for 189 yards with two scores and two interceptions. He tweaked his right ankle while throwing an interception on Pittsburgh’s penultimate drive. Roethlisberger sprinted off the field afterward and said he will be ready to go against the Chiefs.

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