Yes, as hard as it is to believe, despite having a plethora of legendary players in recent years–including Ben Roethlisberger, Jerome Bettis, Troy Polamalu and Hines Ward–many playoff appearances, three trips to the Super Bowl and two Lombardi trophies, Sunday’s 30-12 victory over the Dolphins in the AFC wild card game at Heinz Field was the Steelers largest postseason victory in 20 years.
You have to go back 20 years, to the wild card round of the 1996 season in January of 1997, to find a bigger margin of victory for Pittsburgh in the postseason. On that day, the Steelers dispatched a fairly weak Indianapolis team, 42-14, at old Three Rivers Stadium.
After that day, the Steelers endured some of the most heart-stopping playoff games in their entire history–including a 7-6 victory over the Patriots in the divisional round a year later, a 36-33 win against the Browns in the wild card round following the 2002 season, an overtime victory over the Jets in 2004, the pulsating 21-18 victory over the Colts in the divisional round a year later, a 27-23 win over the Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII and, of course, the 18-16 win over the Bengals in the wild card round a year ago.
Yes, whether it’s been Bill Cowher or Mike Tomlin as head coach, the Steelers haven’t enjoyed many playoff laughers in recent years.
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Steelers dominate Dolphins in wild card game: Steelers blow out Dolphins, 30-12, in wild card game at Heinz Field
Roethlisberger out of walking boot: href=http://cover32.com/2017/01/09/roethlisberger-walking-boot-mri/>Roethlisberger out of walking boot
But on Sunday, when running back Le’Veon Bell went into the end zone untouched for an eight-yard score to make it 30-6 very late in the third quarter, that was Pittsburgh’s biggest advantage in a playoff game in two decades.
If you were a Steelers player or fan in that game, you had to be feeling quite grateful and relieved at that moment, what with the game-time temperatures hovering around 10 degrees and the wind-chill factor being much below that.
So, what will the Steelers do this Sunday against the Chiefs in the divisional round at Arrowhead Stadium? Will it be a laugher or an all-time classic.
I’m hoping for a laugher, but a classic seems more realistic.