"This game is about when you can get hot, when you can play your best football", Roethlisberger said.
It's not where you start, it's where you finish.
The winning streak is now in the past, and the post season is a brand new year and the Steelers are poised for a Super Bowl run. Ajayi has proven his breakout was no "lighting strike", as Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin put it. Ajayi struck again and again over the final 11 weeks on his way to 1,265 yards that helped propel Miami back to the postseason for the first time in eight years.
But the Miami defense gets the Steeler's triplets, ready to go, especially after the Dolphins won during the season.
This means an improved Steelers defense... and...
Well, at least I think it is.
The Browns averaged 5.7 yards per play. He completed 12 of 22 passes for 163 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Yeah, yeah...the whole cloud-silver-lining thing.
Where Miami has an edge over the Steelers is in the pass rush and in special teams. And the Fins' best cornerback, Byron Maxwell, who in the first meeting heroically (and surprisingly) held Steelers star Antonio Brown to a meager four catches for 39 yards. Since then things have gone a bit sour for Miami, which got slammed by the New England Patriots, 35-14, Sunday. It's the third time this season he has been suspended, making him ineligible for the playoffs.
Here are Sunday's "bold predictions" for the first round of the postseason.
"The play-offs are a totally different thing; it's a one game season now".
Will he, or won't he? Fast-forward to present day where Beyoncé is dominating the pop scene without Kelly and Michelle and the Dolphins are without their franchise quarterback, Ryan Tannehill.
"That's why we did it today", Gase said.
"Gotta talk to the doctors...gotta see him practice...gotta see if he can move around..."
There's nearly no chance Tannehill will return for this game. He probably won't be now, as he's listed as doubtful on the injury report.
Yeah, sure, they want to keep the opponents guessing and, OK, why show your cards and ... If Raiders' QB Derek Carr were playing, it would be Oakland winning it. The sample size for Moore has been much smaller, but his efficiency has been better than Tannehill this season - Moore has produced a Passing NEP per drop back of 0.33, compared to Tannehill's 0.09.
Caveat here: beware of overconfidence if Moore does play.
Assuming that his play and the trend on defense continues, it's on the offensive shoulders for a victory on Sunday.
New England was able to take away much of Miami's combustibility in the regular-season finale on January 1 (the Patriots won, 35-14, and Miami's longest play was a 25-yard Moore-to-Stills touchdown in the third quarter).
The Steelers' run defense will have its hands full with Ajayi. Dolphins dominated 30-15 romp over Steelers on October 16.
That brings me to the second point. On the other side of the ball, the Dolphins are strong up front, but young and banged-up in the secondary. Ten point underdogs? Hell, make it 30, you're not lining up against them on Sunday.
It never seems to be easy for the Miami Dolphins, does it?
Sounds ugly - for Miami fans, that is. Miami pummeled Pittsburgh's defense to the tune of 474 total yards, 24 first downs, while dominating time of possession (36:30).
BUT - and it's a HUGE but - do NOT start your sleep-over at the stadium for Super Bowl tickets just yet.
Keys to the game: The Steelers narrowly missed the playoffs in Bell's rookie season in 2013.