1979 Steelers 15 at Bills 7 Preseason
Rookie Matt Bahr makes a sensational pro kicking debut, booting three field goals to lift the Steelers to a 15-7 victory in their preseason opener. Bahr connects on all three of his FG attempts - one in each of the last three periods - from 41, 39 and 25 yds to rally the Steelers from a 7-0 deficit. With 22 seconds remaining, a stunting John Banaszak pours in and DESTROYS Buffalo QB David Mays for his 3rd sack of the night, forcing a fumble that D-lineman Gary Dunn scoops up and rumbles 32 yds for the Steelers' only TD of the game. Unfortunately, Bahr misses the PAT, but his 3 clutch FGs play a large role in his bid to beat out Roy Gerela. A huge shout out to Jay Korber for generously providing us with this game!
1979 Regular Season
1979 Steelers 16 at Patriots 13 Overtime MNF
The season opener on Monday Night Football in Foxboro. Early on, Steve Grogan looks extremely sharp as the Pats march down the field and score on their opening drive. But Pittsburgh's pass rush intensifies as the game progresses and a great diving INT by Lambert sets up what would have been the tying TD had Rookie Matt Bahr not missed his first-ever PAT try (Bahr also misses his first FG try). Bradshaw uses Franco and Thornton extensively and while Franco doesn't pile up huge yardage, his amazing cutback ability yields a number of key first downs. Stallworth is outstanding, especially late, and although the hobbling Swann manages only one catch, it's a spectacular leaping, head-over-heals, flipping masterpiece... one for the ages. TE Russ Francis is OUTSTANDING for the Pats with a number of unbelievable grabs and is almost the undoing of the Steelers. The Pats add a pair of FGs and lead 13-6 until Bradshaw (15 of 26, 221 yds) hits a wide open Sidney Thornton in the end zone to tie things up in the final minutes of regulation. Bradshaw alternates handoffs to Franco and Thornton in overtime against the worn-out Pats, and young Matt Bahr gets redemption, nailing a 41-yarder right down the middle to win the game. Features a bit of pregame with Cosell, Meredith, & Gifford.
1979 Steelers 38 vs Oilers 7
A game that had been touted as a rematch of the '78 AFC Championship winds up looking more like a replay -- sans the freezing rain -- as the Steelers take absolute control right from the bright and sunny start. In spite of a makeshift offensive line due to injuries and a somewhat subpar game offensively, the Steelers steamroll the mistake-plagued Oilers with surprisingly little resistance. On one drive, Houston coughs the ball up on 3 consecutive plays (but retains possession). On another drive, Bradshaw shrewdly baits the Oilers into 4 offsides penalties using a hard count. Even with procedure penalties overturning deep throws to both Stallworth and Swann, the Steelers move efficiently downfield for an early score. While the Steeler offense admittedly doesn't play their best game (other than Swann, who snags 5 balls for 95 yds), the Steel Curtain plays so well that Bradshaw & company could've stayed in bed and the outcome would've been the same. Houston finishes with a pathetic 22 net passing yards after factoring in 5 sacks and 5 INTs as Dan Pastorini (4 of 16 for 16 yards) is simply crucified by the Steelers, throwing 3 INTs and getting blasted on nearly every play until he's finally wheeled off the field on a stretcher in the 3rd quarter with a painful shoulder injury. The 14 first-down plays Pastorini calls result in a net of -3 yards and at the time Pastorini leaves the game, the Oilers have run 35 plays for a total of 17 yards... an average of 17.5 inches per play. Backup Gifford Nielson comes off the bench and fares little better, throwing 2 more INTs as Houston turns the ball over 6 times and the great Earl Campbell is a complete non-factor with a career-low 38 yards rushing. A special thanks to "SteelBuck 6" for providing this outstanding video upgrade!
1979 Steelers 24 at Cardinals 21
An inartistic but nonetheless satisfying victory for Pittsburgh. Turnovers plague the Steelers (who turn the ball over a league-high 52 times in 1979 yet amazingly manage to lead the NFL in scoring with 416 points) and give the Cards repeated opportunities deep in Pittsburgh territory. Things go from bad to worse when Bradshaw, writhing in pain, is taken off the field on stretcher in first half with what appears to be a season-ending leg injury. Fortunately, St. Louis kicker Steve Little leaves 5 points on the field with a missed FG and two missed PAT's and Bradshaw is able to return to lead Pittsburgh's offense to 17 points in the 4th quarter, spearheaded by the hard running and receiving of Rocky Bleier, to pull out a remarkably methodical come-from-behind win.
1979 Steelers 17 vs Colts 13
A VERY entertaining game with lots of big plays. Things look bleak as Baltimore picks off Bradshaw's first pass and the already inury-plagued Steelers lose both Harris & Swann to early injuries. But Bradshaw, always resilient, bounces back to have a truly outstanding game (19 of 29, 249 yards, 2 TDs) & Sidney Thornton plays the finest game of his short career (129 yards on 13 carries, including a great 75-yard burst). HOFers Jack Ham & Jack Lambert each have drive-ending interceptions inside the 10 yard line, but the Colts play surprisingly well against the Steel Curtain and the game isn't safe until the final gun. The Steelers win on a late razzle-dazzle TE screen in which Cunningham intentionally falls down and linemen pretend to miss blocks as the play flows right, then the TE and his blockers suddenly sprint left and Bradshaw throws back across the field to Cunningham, who rumbles 28-yds behind his blockers for the game-winning TD.
1979 Steelers 14 at Eagles 17
The Jaworski-led 3-1 Eagles pull off a major upset against the 4-0 world champs. John Stallworth has a productive day (5 catches, 102 yds, 1 TD), but the Steelers do little else offensively as Swann's absence really affects Bradshaw's play. Terry has a pretty miserable day, throwing one interception deep in Steeler territory to set up a short Wilbert Montgomery TD and later throwing a pick to Herman Edwards in the end zone after driving deep into the red zone late in the game. The Steelers get another chance to tighten the score on their next drive, but Franco coughs up the ball at the Philly 1-foot line. The Steelers commit some terrible penalties throughout the afternoon, one allowing Philly to escape from a 4th & 40 situation and another overturning an onside kick that Pittsburgh had recovered. Hard to believe that in spite of playing so poorly, Pittsburgh still had themselves in position to win if not for the onside kick penalty.
1979 Steelers 51 at Browns 35
In a battle for first place in the division, Pittsburgh is all over Cleveland like a cheap suit, jumping out to 27-0 lead with Bradshaw throwing 3 TD's in the first 16 minutes of the game. With Pittsburgh's O-line (Jon Kolb, Sam Davis, Mike Webster, Gerry Mullins and Larry Brown) finally intact and healthy for the first time all year, the Steelers amass an unheard-of 361 yards rushing (that's correct, 361 yards!) behind the relentless onslaught of Franco (153 yds), Rocky (81 yds) and Thornton (98 yds). The first quarter goes something like this: Cleveland fumbles on their opening possession and Bradshaw immediately hits Cunningham for a 7-yard TD (set up by a 25-yard Thornton blast). The Browns punt and Bradshaw promptly hits Stallworth for 36, then goes to Thornton for a 10-yard TD strike. Cleveland drives to Steeler 6, but Cockroft misses the chipshot FG and Franco immediately bursts 71 yards off right tackle for another TD. Cleveland fumbles the ensuing kickoff and Bradshaw promptly lofts a 14-yard TD to a diving Jim Smith in the end zone (PAT failed) for a 27-0 Steelers advantage just one minute into the 2nd quarter. Cleveland then drives to Steeler 1-yard line, but Donnie Shell picks off Sipe in the end zone. Game over, right? Wrong. Cleveland fights back gallantly on the arm of Brian Sipe (351 yds, 5 TD) and actually makes it a game late, getting as close as 44-35 with 9 long minutes left. But the Steelers -- aided by a 71-yard TD run by Rocky Bleier, 2 Wagner INTs and a late marathon 15-play, 8-minute 94-yard TD drive -- hang on to win. Among my all-time favorite games. Features some glorious (and hilarious) postgame footage from a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders special.
1979 Steelers 42 vs Broncos 7 MNF
It's hard not to feel at least a little sympathy for the Broncos in this one. The Steelers, fresh off a shocking 9-turnover defeat at the hands of the previously winless Bengals, are ill-tempered and out for blood, giving the Broncos their worst beat-down since 1968. From the outset, the Steelers are able to do anything and everything they want offensively, piling up 530 yards and outgaining Denver 236 to 53 on the ground. Franco Harris (17 att, 121 yds, 2 TD) looks absolutely amazing in this game, gliding, cutting back and running people over while Terry Bradshaw (18 of 24, 267 yds, 2 TDs) is devastating and precise. Swann, back in action after missing time with a hamstring pull, rips Denver for 76 yds and a TD on his 2 catches. The Broncos manage to score early on a 64-yard bomb to Moses but soon settle in for an evening of offensive futility. While the Orange Crush fails to lay a hand on Bradshaw, Craig Morton is sacked 4 times and pressured into numerous off-target throws as the Steelers win easily and convincingly in front of Hoard Cossell, Dandy Don Meredith and Frank Gifford. A special thanks to Russell "SteelBuck 6" for generously providing us with this classic game!
1979 Steelers 14 vs Cowboys 3
For me, this rematch effectively puts to bed all of the Cowboys' whining and moaning about pass interference calls, dropped passes and and bad breaks in Super Bowl XIII as the Steel Curtain simply throttles Roger Staubach and Tony Dorsett while Franco (18 carries, 102 yds, 2 TD) and Stallworth (7 rec., 98 yds) run wild. Features 48-yard TD burst up the middle by Franco Harris (reminiscent of his TD run in Super Bowl XIII, only a LOT longer) which effectively puts this defensive battle out of reach for Pittsburgh in the third quarter. It's really over when L.C. Greenwood knocks Staubach out cold in the 4th quarter with an absolutely VICIOUS hit! Jolly Roger is scrambling around, trying to make something happen, and L.C. just UNLOADS on Staubach with a brutal helmet-to-helmet collision. It's not a cheap shot; Roger is under pressure, trying to scramble out of the grasp of Banaszak and Dunn and spins head first into the oncoming Greenwood, who just blows him up, sending the ball flying one way and Roger's consciousness the other. Staubach is out cold for several minutes on the field and spends the rest of the game on the sidelines, pondering retirement (or maybe just trying to remember his name). Also in this game is PROOF at 45:32 that the NFL targeted Jack Lambert for personal foul calls. Such B.S. Nonetheless, an important and very satisfying victory.
1979 Steelers 38 vs Redskins 7
For the 3rd straight week, the Steelers deliver an old-fashioned @$$-whuppin' to a playoff contender, putting up 38 points on a Redskins defense who came into the game as the NFL's stingiest when it came to points. Bradshaw is on fire and throws for 311 yards & 4 TDs while playing only the first half and one series into the 3rd quarter after getting his bell rung just before halftime. Terry spreads the ball around to everyone, from Swann to Stallworth to Cunningham to Thornton to Smith to Grossman, but the key plays are a pair of 30-40 yard passes to Swannie and a dazzling 65-yard TD catch and run by Stallworth in which Stallworth picks the ball out of the air with one hand after it bounces upward and then streaks 40 yds for the TD. Swann (5 catches for 105 yds) and Stallworth (6 catches for 126 yds and 2 TDs) each eclipse the century mark and enjoy substantial run-after-catch yardage. The Steelers exceed 500 yds of offense for the 3rd time in 5 weeks as the Steeler O-line simply mauls a very solid Redskins front 7. A special thanks to Matthew Simon for generously providing us with an upgrade of this classic game!
1979 Steelers 30 at Chiefs 3
Total domination. The Steel Curtain is definitely on their game and absolutely chokes the life out of Kansas City's offense, allowing only 127 total yds (65 rushing and 62 passing) & giving rookie QB Steve Fuller a brutal pounding with 5 sacks. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh's offense is nearly unstoppable, racking up a 20-0 halftime lead on the strength of Bradshaw TD passes to Swann (who makes an eye-popping "how'd he get both feet down" TD catch in the back of the end zone) & Stallworth (on a razzle-dazzle flea-flicker). Bradshaw finishes 17 of 29 for 232 yds and 3 TDs and the final score marks the 4th straight game the Steel Curtain holds their opponent to 7 points or less. Includes an interesting Spalding shoe commercial featuring Terry running through the woods with a dog and a full head of hair, a pregame interview on a local Pittsburgh talk show with John Stallworth and a short postgame segment focused on the incredible depth of the '79 Steelers team.
1979 Steelers 7 at Chargers 35
I find it interesting that Chargers fans, nearly 40 years later, still find ways to talk trash about this regular season debacle as if it would have ensured them a trip to the Super Bowl "if only." Yeah, if only they hadn't gotten their @$$es kicked in the first round of the playoffs by an injury-ravaged Houston team missing Earl Campbell, Dan Pastorini and a host of others. "If only." LOL. What happened in this game is the Steelers had a bad day. Especially Bradshaw, who had the worst, most off-target game I've ever seen him have. It was an out-of-body "Who are you and what have you done with Terry Bradshaw" experience. Turnover city: 5 interceptions (1 for a long TD) and 3 fumbles lost including a fumbled kickoff and a muffed punt. San Diego started 2 drives inside the Steeler 10-yard line and a 3rd inside the 20. In spite of all this, the Steel Curtain looked pretty darn good. They harassed Fouts, forced 2 INT and sacked him 3 times. Let's not forget, the Steelers had a similar awful performance against Cinci in 1979. We lost 34-10 to a winless team courtesy of 9 turnovers. Cinci was obliterated in the rematch. :) And if the Chargers couldn't get past the Oilers with NO Earl Campbell and NO Dan Pastorini, they weren't going to get past a post-season juggernaut like Pittsburgh. Regardless of what happened during the regular season, two things were proven repeatedly by the Steelers and Chargers of this era: 1) The Steelers knew how to CRANK IT UP during the post season, and 2) the Chargers didn't.
1979 Steelers 33 vs Browns 30 OT
Pittsburgh piles up over 600 yards of offense in a thriller as the Steelers come back from a 27-13 4th quarter deficit to preserve the "Jinx" on Matt Bahr's winning FG with only 9 seconds remaining in overtime. Bradshaw sets career highs for attempts, completions and yardage (30 of 44 for 364 yds, 1 TD, 1 Int) and also rushes for 43 yds for a total of 407 yds as he and Sipe combine for over 700 yards through the air. With all the footballs flying, it's actually Terry's 28-yard scramble with less than two minutes remaining in OT that turns out to be the key play of the game. Bradshaw's heroics notwithstanding, Franco Harris is the undisputed MVP of the game. Harris 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 Steelers defense ultimately comes up big as well. In spite of 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. And the Steel Curtain slams the door on Sipe late in the game when it matters most, sacking him 5 times (3 times in the 4th quarter and twice in OT). This is definitely the most pivotal regular-season game of the '79 campaign and perhaps the most meanful regular season win in franchise history. The standings coming into the game were Houston 10-3, Pittsburgh 9-3 and Cleveland 8-4. The Steelers were coming off a stunning defeat in San Diego and a Pittsburgh loss to Cleveland would've given Houston sole possession of first place in the AFC Central and left 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. Excellent quality video with tons of commercials and the complete halftime show, this is one of my all-time favorite games.
1979 Steelers 37 vs Bengals 17
Sweet revenge! Lynn Swann drops a short pass to open the game... and then proceeds to completely eviscerate the Bengals with 5 catches for nearly 200 yards! Swannie sets a career high for receiving yards, scores a pair of TD's and sets up another score as he runs seemingly unopposed through the Bengal secondary, averaging over 35 yards a catch en route to an easy Steelers victory. The Steelers, clearly intent on extracting some serious revenge for Cinci's shocking 34-10 upset earlier in the season, just pour it on. Bradshaw throws for 339 yards and 2 TDs while Franco and Rocky each add rushing TDs. For whatever reason, Franco Harris appears to be running especially aggressively in this game, running through would-be tacklers rather than heading out of bounds in typical Franco fashion.
1979 Steelers 17 at Oilers 20 MNF
The Astrodome is rockin' in a another brutally physical Steelers/Oilers game on Monday Night Football. This game is a bitter Steeler loss, but it also demonstrates how resilient and explosive the Steelers are. Houston puts on a magnificent performance and dominates statistically, running the ball a whopping 54 times for 190 yards (Campbell 33 carries, 109 yards). But it takes a blown call by the officials overturning a legal recovery of a perfectly executed onside kick at 1:59:10 to thwart a Steelers comeback. Lynn Swann makes numerous incredible plays including snagging a pass that bounces out of Stallworth's hands and scoring a TD on a reverse. Stallworth is equally amazing, making an unbelievable TD grab of a 34-yard Bradshaw desperation bomb with 1:18 remaining at which point Howard Cosell exclaims in disbelief, "They don't quit! They will NEVER quit!"
1979 Steelers 28 vs Bills 0
The Steelers clinch their 6th straight division title in dominating fashion in the regular season finale. Buffalo opens the game by driving to the Steelers 14 yard line only to have a FG attempt blocked by Joe Greene. They never come close to scoring again. Defensively, the Steelers are all over Joe Ferguson, forcing 3 INTs while giving up nothing on the ground. Lambert in particular plays like a man possessed, body slamming running backs (1:03:16), breaking up passes and creating mayhem all over the field. While the Steeler offense sleepwalks at times, they still manage to make scoring look ridiculously easy. After a Bahr missed FG, Swannie gets the scoring started with a patented leaping grab for a 20-yard TD. In the 2nd quarter, Bradshaw gets a nasty head laceration after losing his helmet and getting kicked in the head on a scramble for a key first down, but misses only one play as the medical staff quickly bandages his head and sends him right back in to finish the TD drive (the first of Franco's 2 TDs en route to 100 yds). The Steelers open the 3rd quarter by slicing through Buffalo like a warm knife through butter for an easy score (Thornton TD run) and the rout is on. Game features future Steelers defensive coordinator Jim Haslett at LB for the Bills, includes Bryant Gumble's halftime highlights and also features a short live interview with two Steeler wives, Jo-Jo Starbuck (Bradshaw) and Bernadette Swann. :)
1979 Post Season
1979 AFC Playoffs Steelers 34 vs Dolphins 14
Seemingly unable to make a wrong move, the Steelers pour it on early, smashing Griese and Csonka and running roughshod over the vaunted Miami defense. Terry Bradshaw (21 of 31, 230 yards, 2 TDs) engineers TD drives on Pittsburgh's first 3 possessions, jumping out to an effortless 20-0 lead with TD passes to Swann and Stallworth while controlling the ball for a staggering 13 minutes of the first quarter. The Steel Curtain does it's part by limiting Miami to just 25 yards rushing in 22 attempts on the day (a pitiful 1.1 yard average per rush). While the Steelers are able to do whatever they want, whenever they want, the overmatched Dolphins never come close to being in this game as Don Shula suffers his worst playoff defeat.
1979 AFC Championship Steelers 27 Oilers 13
This game serves as a concise resume' of Steelers/Oilers football during the late '70's: Tough, competetive and above all, incredibly physical. Joe Greene (who plays a legendary game) and the rest of the Steel Curtain put on an unbelievable performance, limiting the great Earl Campbell to just 17 yards in 15 attempts. With Campbell effectively neutralized, Dan Pastorini responds with an excellent performance of his own (19 of 28, 203 yds) in spite of taking some brutal shots from LC Greenwood and company. But ultimately, it's not enough. The game starts with Vernon Perry (fresh off his 4-INT performance vs Dan Fouts) returning a Bradshaw INT 75 yards for a TD. Bradshaw cooly responds by picking apart the Houston secondary for the rest of the afternoon (18 of 30, 219 yds, 2 TD), hitting Stallworth and Cunningham for TDs in the 2nd quarter to take a halftime lead that the Steelers never relinquish. Swann catches 4 for 64, Stallworth 3 for 52 while Franco and Rocky combine for 137 yds on the ground. Of course, this game features Mike Renfro's famous "no catch" in the back corner of the end zone, denying the Oilers a clear TD and enventually leading to the NFL's instant replay rule. Give the battered Oilers credit; they really hang tough and in spite of being statistically dominated, are never truly out of it until Bradshaw engineers a late, time-consuming TD drive to finally put the Oilers away with less than a minute left in the game. Features some nice pregame and lots of post-game interviews and highlights and of course, the excellent play-by-play of Dick Enberg and Merlin Olsen throughout.
Super Bowl XIV Steelers 31 vs Rams 19
MVP Terry Bradshaw combines with Swann and Stallworth to bring the Steelers back to win in a close, competitive game versus a tenacious Rams team! Los Angeles didn't figure to put a dent in the Steel Curtain, but as a wise man once said... that's why they play the games. After sleepwalking through a somewhat lackluster first half (and consequently trailing 13-10), the Steelers open the 2nd half with a picture perfect 47-yard Bradshaw bomb to Swann, who makes a breathtaking leaping grab over double-coverage for the TD. Pittsburgh's lead is short-lived, however, as the Rams score quickly on a stunning halfback option pass to sieze the momentum right back. A game-ending injury to Swann and two Bradshaw INT's send the Steelers into the 4th quarter trailing 19-17. But Bradshaw, as always, is resilient. On 3rd and 8 from the Steelers 27, Bradshaw lets loose a rocket to Stallworth deep down the middle for a 73-yard TD. Terry's pass proves to be the winning score in a game which saw the lead change hands six times. The Rams threaten to once again take the lead late in the 4th when Jack Lambert steps in front of a Ferragamo pass for an interception to ensure a Pittsburgh victory. Terry follows up with a 50-yard bomb to Stallworth to set up an insurance TD and bring Art Rooney a fourth Lombardi Trophy. Some pre-game and lots of post-game interviews with Noll, Bradshaw, Swann, Stallworth and more.