1978 Steelers vs Browns (Sep 24, 1978)      






 






1978 Season

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1978 Steelers 15 vs Browns 9 OT (Flea Flicker Game)

The famous "flea-flicker" OT game! Pittsburgh wins this hard-hitting defensive battle on a play dubbed "High School Right" (officially named "fake 84 reverse-gadget pass"). On the play, Bradshaw hands off to Bleier, who hands off to Swann, who pitches the ball back to Bradshaw, who throws a picture-perfect bomb to a wide-open Bennie Cunningham for the game-winning 37-yd TD.

While this play is a highlight reel-favorite and one of the most famous plays in Steeler history, there are plenty of other memorable moments. Jack Lambert is ferocious, capping an afternoon of excellence by making the biggest defensive play of the game when he DESTROYS Mike Pruitt for a loss in the final seconds of regulation, knocking Cleveland out of FG range. L.C. Greenwood, Donnie Shell and Dwight White also shine on a day in which the defense, emulating Lambert's "kill 'em all" attitude, is flagged for 4 personal fouls.

While Pittsburgh's offense generally struggles, Lynn Swann dazzles with 6 catches for 83 yds, five of which come after Swannie absorbs one of the most vicious shots you will EVER see at the 39:45 mark (click here to watch it). While breaking toward the sideline, Swann reaches out to snare a pass when suddenly... BAM!!! Ron Bolton leaves his feet and demolishes Swann with a shoulder to the head at full speed. Swann's entire body snaps backward, his feet fly up in the air and he hits the ground with a sickening thud. NBC announcers Enberg and Olsen gasp in horror and the crowd let's out a collective "Ooohhh!" Such a hit would've resulted in a flag, a fine and a suspension in today's NFL. But Swannie bounces up, adjusts his face mask and returns the the huddle without missing a play, a testament to his toughness.

Chuck Noll is full of surprises in this game. Roy Gerela recovers his own perfectly executed (and totally unexpected) onside kick in the 4th quarter, and even though the drive ends without points, the Steelers soon get the ball back and Gerela connects on a 36-yd FG to tie the game. Even the final play of regulation is crazy when Tony Dungy intercepts Sipe's Hail Mary in the end zone and nearly weaves his way coast-to-coast with no time on the clock.

In overtime, the infamous "Three Rivers Jinx" finally rears its head to preserve the win for Pittsburgh. On the OT kickoff, Larry Anderson stumbles, falls to one knee (but is not touched), gets back up and fumbles the ball. The Browns recover and the Cleveland offense trots on the field, but the officials incorrectly rule Anderson is down by contact and the Steelers retain possession. Bradshaw hits Cunningham on "High School Right" a few plays later and the rest is history.


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