The Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs went one-and-done in the postseason, but their coaching staffs still have one more game left on the schedule.
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Jason Garrett and Andy Reid will be heading the two coaching staffs participating in the 2017 Pro Bowl from Camping World Stadium in Orlando at 8 p.m. ET on Jan. 29.
This year’s edition of the Pro Bowl will be the first to be played in Orlando and will also revert to the traditional AFC vs. NFC format following three years using a revised, “unconferenced” structure. Reid’s staff and Garrett’s staff will coach the AFC and NFC, respectively.
Each conference will also be represented by two Legends Captains — one offensive and one defensive. The AFC will be led by former AFC Central/North foes Jerome Bettis and Ray Lewis, while tight-end great Tony Gonzalez and recently-retired Charles Woodson will captain the NFC.
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Pittsburgh’s unsung offensive line deserves a lion’s share of the credit, opening holes for Bell and shutting down Kansas City’s edge rushing trio of Justin Houston, Dee Ford and Tamba Hali. Rarely pressured throughout the game, Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t hit until a third-down coverage sack forced a field goal with 10 minutes remaining.
Nearly 39 years old, Steelers linebacker James Harrison was the dominant defensive force for the second consecutive game. Harrison recorded three tackles for loss, two QB hits and one sack, but his most crucial effort was forcing a holding penalty on left tackle Eric Fisher to nullify the game-tying two-point conversion with less than three minutes remaining. Harrison is now up to 11 career postseason sacks, tying for the fifth-most since sacks became an official statistic in 1982.
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The object of season-long derision over missed extra points, the NFL’s legion of kickers can walk proudly in the aftermath of Sunday’s sterling feats. After Mason Crosby and Dan Bailey combined to drill three kicks over 50 yards in the final 98 seconds of the NFC’s Divisional Round matchup, Steelers kicker Chris Boswell set a new single-game postseason record with six field goals. It’s the second time this season Boswell has drilled a half-dozen field goals in one game.
Andy Reid scripted a perfect six-play, 55-yard touchdown drive on the Chiefs’ opening possession, only to watch his offense go in the tank for the next 40 minutes of game action. Kansas City was outgained by Bell alone over the next two and half quarters, managing fewer than 100 yards on the ensuing six series. The Steelers bottled up rookie sensation Tyreek Hill and frustrated Travis Kelce. The All-Pro tight end dropped a long pass in the red zone late in the third quarter and was whistled for a careless unnecessary roughness penalty on the next play. Unable to make plays downfield, Alex Smith’s offense simply couldn’t stand toe-to-toe with Pittsburgh’s firepower.
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Although Peters and All-Pro safety Eric Berry made plays for a ballhawking secondary, the Chiefs defense needs to get stronger in the middle of the field next season. They finished the season 26th in run defense and 24th in total defense, counting on takeaways and red-zone efficiency to mask deficiencies. After two straight exits in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, Reid still needs more playmakers to keep up with the AFC’s superpowers. Getting Jeremy Maclin and Justin Houston fully healthy will certainly help.
The decision to make the time change was made in consultation with state and local officials as well as both teams, the league added.
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On Sunday, the NFL released another statement reaffirming the game’s start time.
Tonight’s Steelers-Chiefs Divisional Playoff game on NBC will move forward as announced at 8:20 p.m. ET. We feel comfortable, after consulting with local and state authorities and both teams, that we can proceed tonight without resulting in any negative impact on public safety resources. We will continue to monitor the weather and urge anyone traveling to the game to use appropriate caution and heed any warnings from local authorities.
In addition, the game will serve as a testing ground, of sorts. The NFL will use the game to determine if Sunday night playoff games make sense for television ratings and for logistics, a source informed of the situation told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. ESPN first reported the development.