The two-word opus? “Don’t Panic.”
“It eased the guys a little bit and put a laugh in a couple guys’ faces,” Maurkice Pouncey told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I think we needed that.”
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“Everybody understands. We can’t panic,” running back Le’Veon Bell jersey said. “We understand when Ben goes down, he’s the backup quarterback and you don’t want to put too much to wholesale NFL jerseys on him. Obviously, we can’t scale it back too much because we know he understands the whole offense. As a team, we have to help him. We gotta get him comfortable and confident, and he should be good.”
If nothing else, the Steelers have a quarterback with a good sense of humor on their hands. Ben Roethlisberger could be gone anywhere from two weeks to a month and a half following a minor knee scope, which means that Jones will be saddled with keeping the 4-2 Steelers’ playoff hopes alive through a meaty part of their schedule.
Beating the Patriots jerseys in New England this weekend would require a yeoman’s effort from Jones, who, over two career starts is 1-1 with a 58 percent completion rate, three touchdowns and four interceptions.
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Then again, he said not to panic.
The nice part about this situation is that Pittsburgh has a bye after the New England game before spilling into an intra-division matchup against the Ravens and a home date with the Dallas Cowboys — a team that could end up being the best in football by the time they land in Pittsburgh on Nov. 12. Even if Jones and the Steelers panic this weekend, they have time to re-set their nerves.
Ajayi scampered all over a battered Pittsburgh Steelers defense for 204 yards on 25 carries.
Before Sunday, Ajayi hadn’t earned more than 48 rushing yards in a single contest (13 games played). He more than quadrupled that high against Pittsburgh.
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“It’s a special thing,” Ajayi said, via the team’s official website. “Definitely something to cherish for sure because I pride myself of wanting to be the best. Just glad I was able to get that opportunity today. All help from the O-line, great job from the receivers. It was an overall team effort. I’ll cherish this milestone and celebrate it with teammates.”
Ajayi joined Reggie Bush (in 2011) and Ricky Williams (twice in 2002) as the only Dolphins players with 200-plus rush yards in a single game in the Super Bowl era. Ajayi and Williams are the only two Miami players with 200-plus rush yards and 2-plus rush TDs in a single game.
Having the starting offensive line intact for the first time this season certainly aided Ajayi and quarterback Ryan Tannehill. After being sacked 17 times in five games, Tannehill wasn’t sacked once Sunday.
“It was funny because the running backs were just pushing me like, you’re not done, keep pushing, keep working,” Ajayi said. “My boy (Kenyan) Drake, he kept telling me, go get 200 if you can, go get it, you’re not done with it. At the end of the game, I was just thinking we’ll get the first down and that’ll be it, but it opened up and I wasn’t going to let anyone catch me.”
After 62-yard TD scamper, Ajayi was over the 200-yard mark. Special day indeed.