1981 Steelers 27 vs Patriots 21 OT
September 27, 1981
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1981 Steelers 27 vs Patriots 21 OT

Bradshaw to Swann wins a wild one in overtime! The Steelers manhandle the Pats for 3 quarters, piling up nearly 500 yds of offense, but allow the Pats hang around and blow a 14-point lead in the 4th. Bradshaw plays well, especially running (247 yds passing, 2 TDs, 49 yds rushing) while Franco, Pollard and Davis POUND New England as Pittsburgh rushes the ball 45 times for 251 yds. Aside from a few freak plays, the defense also plays well (particularly L.C. Greenwood, who seems to be everywhere). But the Steelers leave too many points on the field.

Just before the half, Bradshaw hits Swann with a pinpoint 31-yd pass to the Patriots 1-inch line with 6 seconds left. The Steelers fail to score, however, when Franco is stuffed for no gain with no time outs and the clock ticks to zero. Early in the 3rd quarter, a Pittsburgh INT sets the Steelers up inside the Patriots 10, and this time Franco punches it in.

But a pair of missed Trout FGs (of course), a missed safety call by the officials, a pair of HUGE defensive breakdowns on New England "gadget plays", a misread by Russell Davis on what would've been an easy TD pass and a Noll gamble that fails on 4th and 2 with 1:35 left allow a thoroughly outplayed New England team to send game into OT.

Lynn Swann puts a quick end to that, snaring two deadly passes in OT, including the 24-yd game winner, leading to a jubilant celebration in the end zone. Features a postgame Costas-Trumpy interview with Terry Bradshaw.


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