1983 Steelers 40 at Oilers 28
Currently the only game in my collection with action from rookie Gabe "Seņor Sack" Rivera (#69), who draws constant double teams and records a sack. Franco Harris gains over 100 yards and moves into 2nd place on the all-time rushing yardage list. Contrary to the implication of the high final score, the Steeler defense is marvelous while the Steeler offense moves in fits and starts. Archie Manning spends most of the game looking out his ear hole and has an abysmal game for the Oilers, throwing 3 Ints in the 1st half alone. Stoudt doesn't fair much better, however, and Houston's turnovers yield only 4 Anderson FGs. The 2nd half is all Steelers, however, as Pittsburgh rolls to a 33-7 lead before Houston narrows the gap late in the game.
1983 Steelers 23 vs Patriots 28
Franco, Franco, Franco... and some more Franco. :) Unfortunately, even with all that Franco, there's still enough Cliff Stoudt to cost the Steelers a game they should've won. Franco (who surpasses O.J. Simpson as the #2 rusher of all time) puts on a rushing clinic with 102 yds on 25 carries and also leads the team in receptions (6 for 83 yds). The Steelers outgain New England 228-57 in the first half and own a 22:21-7:39 advantage in time of possession, yet trail the Patriots 14-13. In the end, 3 interceptions by Stoudt (who is also sacked 5 times) and too many missed tackles by the Steeler secondary (which allows multiple short passes to turn into long gains, including a game-winning 76-yard TD pass late in the contest) are too much to overcome. A big-time thank you to Matthew Simon for generously providing us with this game!
1983 Steelers 34 at Jets 7
Terry Bradshaw comes off the bench puts on an exceptional performance in the final game of his career (also the Jets' final game at Shea Stadium). While playing only the first quarter and one series into the second quarter, Bradshaw is sharp and effective, hitting 5 of 8 passes for 77 yards and 2 TD's -- the first to rookie Gregg Garrity, to whom Terry had never thrown a pass before (not even in practice) and the second to Calvin Sweeney -- shaking the Steelers out of their late-season slump and ensuring them of a playoff spot with the win. Terry destroys his ailing arm on the first TD toss but gallantly continues to play in pain until he throws his 2nd TD. The entire team is energized by the presence of Bradshaw and simply steamrolls the Jets, ending their slim playoff hopes. This is also the final 100-yard game of Franco Harris' career. Includes postgame interviews with Bradshaw and Cliff Stoudt.
1984 Steelers 20 at 49ers 17
The Steelers hand the heavily favored 49ers their only loss of the '84 season in a beautifully coached game by Chuck Noll. The Steelers come out hot, executing a perfect 12-play, 78-yd opening drive behind Mark Malone. After a penalty wipes a Niner FG off the board, the Steelers again muscle their way into Niners territory and Anderson hits a 48-yd FG for a 10-0 lead. Montana runs it in for a score just before the half and the 49ers seem to begin to put things together late with Wersching tying it at 10 early in the 4th. The tide seems to finally turn when Malone is hit as he throws and the ball goes right to Keena Turner who returns it to the Steeler 19. Wendell Tyler punches it in for the go-ahead TD a few plays later and the Niners seem to have finally put the pesky Steelers in their place. But Noll continues to stick to a power running game, eating the clock and keeping San Fran off the field. All told, the Steelers rush the ball a whopping 47 times and dominate time of possession 34:45 - 25:15. Malone ties the game following a marathon 15-play drive, capped by a short TD toss to Stallworth (who makes a marvelous catch). On the ensing drive, Brian Hinkle makes an incredible leaping INT near midfield and returns it 45 yards to the Niner 3, and Anderson kicks a short FG to take a 20-17 lead with 1:42 remaining. With no time outs, Montana conducts a beautiful last-minute drive to the Steeler 19-yd line only to see Ray Wersching's 37-yd FG attempt sail wide left as time expires. A special thanks to Matthew Simon and J.J. Cooper for generously providing us with this game!
1984 Steelers 52 vs Chargers 24
Stallworth (7 rec, 116 yds, 3 TD) and Lipps (7 rec, 118 yds, 1 TD) are unstoppable and Mark Malone has perhaps his finest performance as a pro (18 of 22, 253 yds, 4 TDs, 1 rushing TD). The surprising Steelers absolutely steamroll the Chargers, whose hapless defense puts on perhaps the most pitiful performance I've ever seen. While the Steelers offense seems unstoppable behind the bruising running of Walter Abercrombie (19 att, 109 yds) and Frank Pollard (19 att, 79 yds, 2 TD), Mike Merriweather contributes a hat trick on defense by recovering a fumble, intercepting a pass and knocking Dan Fouts out of the game with a vicious sack. This game is even more lopsided than the final score indicates.
1984 Steelers 13 at Raiders 7
Needing a win to clinch a playoff spot, the Steelers turn to their power running game and simply jam the ball down the Raiders' throats. The O-line is magnificent and completely dominates the line of scrimmage, neutralizing Howie Long and Lyle Alzado all afternoon. Pollard gains 79 yards on 19 attempts, but it's Walter Abercrombie who does the most damage with 111 yards on 28 carries and a back-breaking 59-yard catch-and-run to the 1-yard line on the last play of the 3rd quarter. Pollard's dive into the end zone to start the 4th quarter gives the Steelers a 10-0 lead and breaks the game open. The Steelers lead 13-0 with 3 minutes remaining when Jim Plunkett (who replaces an ineffective Marc Wilson) throws a short TD pass on 4th & goal that clearly is caught out of bounds, but the officials blow the call. Following a Steeler punt, the Raiders get the ball back at midfield with 2:30 left and a chance to win, but Donnie Shell snags his 2nd INT of the afternoon (43rd of his career) to seal the win and a playoff berth for the Steelers. A special thanks to "Keith "Crash" Froehlich" for graciously providing us with this game!
1984 AFC Playoffs Steelers 24 at Broncos 17
Everyone in Denver was making plans for the upcoming AFC Championship duel between John Elway and Dan Marino. SURPRISE!!! Even Craig Colquitt's first-ever blocked punt and a trio of highly uncharacteristic Gary Anderson FG misses can't stop Pittsburgh from toppling the heavily favored Broncos in front of a stunned crowd at Mile High Stadium. With just under 3 minutes remaining, safety Eric Williams picks off an ill-advised Elway pass and returns it to the Bronco 2-yard line. Three plays later, great second effort by Frank Pollard (17 carries, 107 yds, 2 TD) punches it over the goal line and secures a shocking Pittsburgh win! Features some nice pregame and postgame. A special thanks to Keith "Crash" Froehlich for the sweet upgrade!
1985 Steelers 10 vs Browns 9
Final game of the famous "Three Rivers Jinx." David Woodley plays at QB in a downpour. Gary Anderson kicks game winner as time expires. The dazed look of sheer agony on Art Modell's face at the end of this game gives me such pleasure! Seriously edited huddles (ugh).
1986 Steelers 31 at Browns 37 OT
The Browns sweep the Steelers for the first time since 1969 on Bernie Kosar's 36-yd bomb to Webster Slaughter in overtime. Mark Malone and Walter Abercrombie each run for 2 scores, but Kosar's 414 yds and 2 TDs are enough to overcome the Steelers in a thriller. A special thanks to Matthew Simon for generously providing us with this game!
1986 Steelers 45 at Jets 24
A nice win from the "Dark Years." The 5-9 Steelers are playing for pride while the Jets (who started the season 10-1) are fighting for their playoff lives and trying to avoid their 4th consecutive loss. After tying the game at 17 early in the 3rd quarter, Ken O'Brien implodes (3 INTs, 1 fumble, 5 sacks) and the Jets collapse as the Steelers pull off a major upset, jamming 28 points into the 4th quarter to turn a 17-17 tie into a laugher. Mark Malone is solid, Walter Abercrombie scores 3 TDs and Lupe Sanchez intercepts 2 passes, returning the second one for a back-breaking 67-yard TD. A bright spot in a very furstrating season.
1987 Steelers 30 vs 49ers 17
Malone starts off a pitiful 1 of 11 passing, but rookie CB Delton Hall scoops up a Roger Craig fumble and streaks 50 yards for a TD to set the tone. Montana struggles all day, throwing 3 INTs against a defense ostensibly made up of no-name players (rookie Rod Woodson doesn't play due to his holdout over a contract dispute). Montana throws for over 300 yards but the 49er ground game is non-existent with only 47 yards on the day. Meanwhile, the Steelers grind out 183 yards on the ground (Earnest Jackson 103 yds), keeping the ball away from Montana and Rice and physically wearing down the Niners. An admirable and surprising performance by a decidedly sub-par Pittsburgh team.
1987 Steelers 16 vs Saints 20
The 7-3 Saints visit the 6-4 Steelers with both teams fighting for a playoff spot and the Saints hoping to secure their first-ever winning season. The Steelers lead 14-10 with 9 minutes left when Rod Woodson loses the rain-soaked ball on a punt and the Saints recover at the Pittsburgh 21. Two plays later, Bobby Hebert hits Eric Martin for the go-ahead TD. Less than a minute later, Mark Malone throws a costly INT that's returned to the Pittsburgh 12, and Morten Andersen kicks a 32-yard FG to give New Orleans a 20-14 lead. The Saints appear to have the victory clinched when Sam Mills stops Pollard on the 1-foot line on 4th and goal and instead of risking a punt from their own end zone, the Saints take a safety with 1:05 left. But in 55 seconds, the Steelers move to the Saints' 3-yard-line and are poised to win. Unfortunately, Pat Swilling sacks Malone with 10 seconds left and Malone's desperation pass is intercepted as time expires. A special thanks to Matthew Simon for generously providing this game.
1989 Steelers 31 at Bucs 22
This season finale is a particularly fascinating game in Steelers history for a number of reasons. After losing their first two games of the season by a combined score of 92-10 to division rivals Cleveland and Cincinnati, the fact that Pittsburgh is even mathematically alive for a playoff spot is a minor miracle. In addition to the Steelers needing a win in Tampa, they also need the Raiders to lose to the Giants, the Colts to lose to the Saints and the Bengals to lose to the Vikings to earn a playoff berth. Amazingly, all those things actually happen! While Bubby Brister completes only 7 passes and throws 2 Ints, player of the game Rod Woodson makes up for it with an All-World performance, returning the opening kickoff 72 yards to set up Pittsburgh's first score, tackling RB's in the backfield, breaking up TD's and intercepting passes. Merrill Hoge (18 att, 90 yds) puts up his best numbers of the regular season and Louis Lipps is spectacular (4 rec., 137 yds, 2 TD) as the Steelers clinch a playoff spot in perhaps the finest season of coaching in Chuck Noll's Hall of Fame career.
1989 AFC Wildcard Steelers 26 at Oilers 23 OT
So here they are... perhaps the unlikeliest playoff team in NFL history. Pounded in week 1 by Cleveland, 51-0. Pounded in week 2 by Cinci, 42-10. Pounded by Houston twice during the regular season, including a 27-0 drubbing in this very same "House of Pain." Yet here they are... two teams and two head coaches, each the antithesis of the other, who utterly despise one another. By the time the game finally ends on Gary Anderson's monster 50-yard field goal in overtime (set up by an explosive forced fumble and recovery by Rod Woodson), Chuck Noll is moving on in the playoffs with an unlikely trip to Denver in the midst of perhaps the finest coaching job of his Hall of Fame career. Meanwhile, Jerry Glanville heads back to Houston in disgrace, where a pink slip awaits.
1989 AFC Playoffs Steelers 23 at Broncos 24
The Cinderella Steelers, fresh off their overtime upset of Houston in the Wildcard game, don't figure to offer much resistance to the Broncos, who had humiliated Pittsburgh by 27 points earlier in the season. But that's why they play the games. :) Merrill Hoge plays the game of his life, piling up 100 yards in the first half alone (the only player to rush for over 100 yards all season vs. Denver) as the Steelers' worst-ranked offense racks up over 400 yards and dominates time of possession by nearly ten minutes. The surprising Steelers still hold a 23-17 lead with under 3 minutes to play. But John Elway is John Elway, and he proves it with a signature 80-yard TD drive to give Denver a 24-23 lead with 2:20 remaining. Bubby gets one more shot, but moments after Mark Stock drops a perfect pass from Brister that would've been a 19-yard gain and a Steeler first down near the 40, Bubby fumbles the snap amidst confusion in the Pittsburgh backfield, Denver recovers and Cinderella's carriage turns back into a pumpkin.
The departure of Terry Bradshaw in 1983 left a mammoth vacuum at QB in Pittburgh for the next 21 years.
Think you know the Steelers? Test your knowledge and see if you can name the 13 different starting QB's for the Steelers from 1983 until Big Ben arrived in 2004 (pictured below). For the answers click here.