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DeAngelo Williams: Burfict hit cost Steelers SB 50 run

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While the Bengals are turning to their offseason program to "exorcise" demons from their devastating playoff loss in January, the Steelers are still wondering if that hard-hitting game cost them a chance at Super Bowl 50.

Playing without All Pro receiver Antonio Brown, the Steelers (396 yards) outgained the Broncos (324 yards) only to lose the Divisional Round tilt when Bradley Roby forced a Fitzgerald Toussaint fumble to turn the game in the fourth quarter.

Had Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict not lowered the boom on Brown, knocking the NFL's best wide receiver out of commission the next week, there's no telling what would have happened between Pittsburgh and Denver.

"For me, my rival throughout my year will be the Cincinnati Bengals," Williams told ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler on Wednesday. "I don't think there was any doubt in my mind if AB was not interfered on or hit the way he was hit, however you want to label it -- there's no doubt we go on and give the Broncos hell."

Just a month prior, Brown took advantage of Pro Bowl cornerback Chris Harris while racking up 189 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 16 receptions in a 34-27 victory.

Boasting a dependable offensive line and a dynamic wide receiver corps, the Steelers matched up especially well with the Broncos, posting the two highest single-game yardage totals against the NFL's No. 1 defense.

Under Williams' hypothetical scenario, Pittsburgh still would have had to go into New England and knock off the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game to advance to Super Bowl 50.

The Steelers' regrets will be assigned to the category of What Might Have Been -- a lament with which the Bengals are all too familiar.

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