1979 Steelers vs Browns (Nov 25, 1979)      


1979 Season

Game Stats


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1979 Steelers 33 vs Browns 30 OT

This amazing game is easily the most prized regular season game in my collection. In addition to being one of the most epic Steelers/Browns contests ever (and perhaps the most important regular season win in Steelers history), the video quality is outstanding with all commercials and the complete halftime show intact. Add in some vivid personal memories (as discussed in the comments section) and it's truly a game for the ages.

The Steelers pile up over 600 yards of offense (the only team in the '70s to do so), overcoming a 27-13 fourth quarter deficit by jamming 20 points into the final period/OT, preserving the Three Rivers "Jinx" on rookie Matt Bahr's winning 37-yard field goal with only 9 seconds left in OT.

Despite being booed at times by the home crowd (!!!???), Bradshaw sets career highs for attempts, completions and yardage (30 of 44 for 364 yards) and also runs for 43 yards for a total of 407 yards as he and Sipe combine for over 700 yards through the air. With all the footballs flying, it's actually Terry's 28-yd scramble with less than 2 minutes remaining in OT that turns out to be the key play of the game.

Bradshaw's heroics notwithstanding, Franco Harris is the real MVP of the game. Franco scores 3 TDs and leads the team in both rushing and receiving, grinding out 151 yards on 32 carries and snagging 11 passes for 81 yards. Amazingly, Franco's longest run in this relentless, workman-like effort is just 11 yards.

The Steeler defense ultimately comes up big as well. Despite giving up all those passing yards, the defense allows only 62 yds rushing. As a result, Cleveland is unable to muscle down the clock which ultimately allows Pittsburgh's comeback. The Steel Curtain slams the door on Sipe late in the game when it matters most, sacking him 5 times in the 4th quarter and overtime.

This is certainly the most pivotal game of the '79 campaign and perhaps the most meanful regular season win in franchise history. The standings entering the game were Houston 10-3, Pittsburgh 9-3 and Cleveland 8-4. Pittsburgh was coming off a stunning defeat in San Diego and a loss to Cleveland would've given Houston sole possession of first place in the AFC Central, leaving the Steelers in a tie for second with Cleveland.

Instead, the Steelers remain atop the division, the Browns are knocked from contention and the rest, as they say, is history.

Among many interesting moments in this game, the incomparable Lynn Swann actually jumps over a car (that's right, a car) on an overthrown pass in the back of the end zone. One of my all-time favorite games.

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