Steelers Pouncey injured on first series
» Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey left the AFC Championship Game on Sunday night with a left ankle injury and did not return. Pouncey went down on the opening possession of the game after New York Jets inside linebacker Bryan Thomas fell on the back of his left leg. The Steelers' 2010 first-round draft pick stayed down for several minutes and did not put any pressure on his left leg as he was helped off the field. Pouncey has started every game this season, and he became the first Steelers rookie offensive lineman to make the Pro Bowl since the 1950s. Doug Legursky replaced Pouncey at center, and on the next play Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall scored a touchdown on a 1-yard run.
» Hines Ward joined a select group last night. The veteran wide receiver became just the fifth player in NFL history with at least 80 catches in the postseason, joining Jerry Rice, Michael Irvin, Andre Reed and Reggie Wayne. Ward has caught at least one pass in 16 consecutive postseason games, one short of the Steelers record held by John Stallworth.
» Abdominal and hip injuries didn't keep Steelers cornerback Bryant McFadden from playing last night. McFadden started opposite Ike Taylor against the New York Jets despite not practicing last week until Friday. As expected, defensive end Aaron Smith did not dress last night. Smith has missed 12 consecutive games since partially tearing his left triceps in late October. Along with Smith, reserve safety Will Allen (knee) did not play last night because of an injury.
» Tight end Heath Miller became just the sixth player in franchise history to go over 400 yards receiving in postseason games. Miller has the most receiving yards by a Steelers tight end in the postseason. ... Outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley has at least one sack in all six of the postseason games in which he has played.