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The Steelers Way is Back: Dominant running game, Great Outside Linebacker Play

The Steelers Way has Emerged

The Pittsburgh Steelers just won a playoff game scoring no touchdowns, becoming the sixth team in NFL history to accomplish that feat.

Chris Boswell set an NFL record with six field goals as the Steelers held on to beat the Kansas Chiefs 18-16.

Among the standouts in this one was Le’Veon Bell who broke his own team record from last week, rushing for 170 yards on 30 carries.

Bell torched the 30th ranked Dolphins run defense last week for 167 yards and tonight it was the same story vs a porous Chiefs run defense that ranked 26th in the regular season.  Next week he will face the No. 3 run defense in the NFL but there might be no stopping Le’Veon Bell who has been unstoppable for six + weeks now.

On defense James Harrison had a big impact once again with the Steelers off to New England for a clash with the No. 1 seeded Patriots.

Winners of nine straight, the Steelers are not one win away from a ninth super bowl appearance because Ben Roethlisberger is carrying this team on his back like Aaron Rodgers is in Green Bay right now.

This group has just learned how to win at the right time and the catalysts have been a dominant running game led by Le’Veon Bell and the Steelers dominating the line of scrimmage at both sides of the ball.

They’ve transformed into a group of how the Steelers used to be built in Ben Roethlisberger’s early years.

By no means is this defense even close to the group that went to the Super Bowl in 08 and 10, they’re not even on the same stratosphere, but it’s time this defense starts to earn some respect.

They’ve allowed 16 points per game over last nine games and just held Alex Smith to 172 yards passing and a Chiefs offense that averaged 24 points per game during the regular season to 16 points on the road.

What is starting to look like the Steelers way again is great outside linebacker play in the post-season.  It’s been quite a few years since the Steelers have received elite level play at the outside linebacker position, but they’re finally getting it at the right time from a 38 year old and 2nd year pro.

Bud Dupree and James Harrison were the two best players on the field for the Steelers tonight on the defensive side of the ball.

Harrison had six tackles, one sack, three tackles for loss, 4 QB pressures and drew a holding call on Eric Fisher on the two-point conversion that would’ve tied the game at 18-18.

Meanwhile, Dupree continues to have his coming out party. He was lights out in this one.

Both have transformed this front-seven that’s missing Cam Heyward into a dangerous group off the edge.


Three Telling Points from the Steelers 18-16 win

1. — Much concern about the Chiefs return game coming in. Tyreek Hill averaged 18 yards on four kickoff returns and his longest return only went for 21 yards. Big performance by the Steelers’ special team units.


2. — Under the radar performance for the Steelers: Tight End Jesse James who had 5 Receptions for 83 Yards on six targets. Antonio Brown got his numbers, 6 catches for 108 yards, and a big 3rd and 3 catch to seal the win but James stepping up was key for the Steelers with Kansas City so focused on Brown in the passing game.

James had first down catches of 13 and 16 yards on the opening drive and Kansas City didn’t make many adjustments in defending James in the middle of the field.

In the 4th quarter Roethlisberger connected with James for a 23 yard gain to move the ball to the Chiefs 21 and set up a Chris Boswell field goal that put the Steelers up 18-10.


3. — Steelers Defense allowed just two plays of 20+ yards

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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