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Applause for the big guys up front

Line play is often overlooked, but it was absolutely key in the wild-card round

Originally Published: January 10, 2012
By Ross Tucker | ESPN.com

The NFL's wild-card weekend was refreshing, or at least encouraging, for a former offensive lineman like me. That's because line play up front on both sides of the ball -- the battle in the trenches -- really was the difference in the games, or most of them, anyway. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Isaac Redman's career-high 121 yards on 17 carries were perhaps the notable exception.

It was refreshing because line play seems to have been steadily de-emphasized in recent years. From the Year of ...

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