Everybody and the Steelers expect the Dolphins to pound to rock Sunday on the Three Rivers.
And why not? Jay Ajayi brutalized Pittsburgh’s run defense when these teams met in October.
But perhaps the best way to predict the future is to revisit the past.
The last time the Steelers faced a quarterback making his postseason debut was five years ago Sunday, when minor league baseball player Tim Tebow was still a member of the NFL.
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To put it kindly, Tebow’s ability to throw a baseball is better than his ability to throw a football. But he came out firing that day, throwing for 316 yards and two touchdowns on just 21 attempts -- the last of which was a game-winning, 80-yard scoring strike to Demaryius Thomas on the first play of overtime.
Tebow’s quarterbacks coach? Adam Gase, who could be inclined to repeat history with Matt Moore this weekend.
“I remember it being an interesting week to say the least,” Gase said with a wry smile Thursday. “They were really good coming into that game. I think they were either No. 1 or No. 2 in defense. We came out throwing the ball, which was … We hit on a couple of big plays and made some big plays on third down. Tim did a good job in that game.”
Gase added: “Guys were making plays. We felt we were in control for most of the game. We turned it over one time and they took advantage of it, and next thing you know, we’re going into overtime. It only took one play.”
The lightning strike was so shocking that the Broncos defense didn’t even think to celebrate.
“The problem was, it was the first year we had the new overtime rules,” Gase added. “So we scored a touchdown and half of our team was still sitting on the bench, even though we talked about it over 100 times.”
The call on that epic final play?
“We were doing something where we were bringing guys down in motion, and they were bringing both safeties in the box,” Gase said. “We called a play-action off of it. We brought Eddie Royal all the way down. We had Demaryius running a pop pass on the back side. Both safeties came flying up and it was ‘DT’ and I think Ike Taylor, one on one.”
▪ Jay Ajayi, whose 1,272 rushing yards in 2016 were more than any Dolphin not named Ricky Williams has ever had in a season, has been named the team’s MVP. Defensive end Cameron Wake won both the Don Shula Leadership Award and the team’s Ed Block Courage Award; wide receiver Kenny Stills earned the Nat Moore Community Service Award.