1997 Steelers 7 vs Cowboys 37
A horrific home opener in Pittsburgh. While Michael Irvin runs wild (7 catches, 153 yds, 2 TDs) and Troy Aikman (4 TD passes) looks like a QB in his prime, absolutely nothing is working offensively for new starting QB Kordell Stewart and the rest of the Steelers, who muster only 174 total yds and are 1 of 11 on 3rd down. Thankfully, one game does not a season make.
1997 Steelers 14 vs Redskins 13
The Steelers rebound from their terrible home opener to eek out a hard fought victory against the Skins. Although his 10 rushes for 70 yds and a TD are an improvement over the previous week, Kordell continues to struggle throwing the ball in just his 2nd start (8 of 17, 82 yds, 0 TD, 1 Int). Thankfully, Jerome Bettis is a wrecking ball (27 carries, 134 yds, 1 TD) and carries the offense. The Steelers' secondary struggles at times and gives up a lot of "easy" passing yardage. Thankfully, Gus Frerotte is unable to finish drives once he gets into scoring position and the defense ultimately steps up with three huge interceptions (Levon Kirkland, Chris Oldham & Darren Perry) including two in the end zone, allowing the Steelers to win a game they probably deserved to lose.
1997 Steelers 21 at Jaguars 30 MNF
Another tough loss in Jags country. In spite of a miserable first half performance (particularly by the secondary), the Steelers play excellent football in the 2nd half and are clinging to a 21-20 lead in the final minutes of the game. Just when it seems Pittsburgh has it wrapped up, a personal foul negates a huge 3rd down sack, and the Jags convert their good fortune into the go-ahead FG (23-21). Stewart moves the Steelers into position to kick the game winner on the final play, but a poor snap leads to a blocked FG which the Jags return for a TD. On the bright side, Bettis and Kirkland are outstanding. This game also features a couple of humorous moments when a) Bettis is pushed out of bounds and into the bench where he casually sits down and crosses his legs so seamlessly it looks like it was planned, and b) Bill Cowher nearly comes onto the field to make a tackle following the blocked FG at the end of the game.
1997 Steelers 37 vs Oilers 24
A game I was fortunate enough to attend. Missing first minute and a half of game (Oilers 3-and-out). Without question, Kordell Stewart is the player of the game (16 of 24, 244 yds, 1 TD, 0 Int, 6 runs, 24 yds, 2 TD), threading the needle all afternoon and seemingly making big plays at will. In addition to scoring 3 TD's of his own (2 rushing, 1 passing), Stewart consistently finds the open man and hits his receivers with remarkable precision all afternoon. The pass rush that had been largely non-existant during the previous 3 games of the season has a coming out party with 7 sacks of Steve McNair and the secondary looks good for the first time as well, forcing a pair of McNair INTs (Kirkland, Woolford). Greg Lloyd also makes his presence known with rumblin', stumblin', bumblin' 61-yd fumble recovery that results in a Steelers TD by Jason Gildon. After falling behind 37-9, Tennessee adds a few garbage points late, but this one is a blowout from the start.
1997 Steelers 42 at Ravens 34
Kordell Stewart throws for 3 second half TDs and puts the game away with an electrifying 74-yard TD run with 1:47 to play as the Steelers overcome a 21-0 first-half deficit and post a 42-34 victory over the hated Ravens. Pittsburgh trails 24-7 at halftime as the Ravens turn Stewart's three interceptions into 21 points, but the tide turns when Will Blackwell fakes a reverse on the second-half kickoff and races 97 yds for a TD to open the 3rd quarter. From that point on, Stewart (18 of 28, 246 yds, 3 TD passes, 3 INT, 6 runs, 78 yds, 2 TD runs) and the Steelers dominate. In addition to a 28 carry, 137-yd performance by Bettis, this game also features one of the more questionable coaching calls of Cohwer's career. Leading 42-32 with 11 seconds remaining, Cowher elects to take a safety, narrowing to score to 42-34. So instead of needing a TD and a FG to win, suddenly, the Ravens are in position to tie with a TD and 2 point conversion. Fortunately, Testeverde throws a pick at the Steeler 10 as time expires. Features some pre and postgame along with the famous Cowher/Kordell kiss (LOL).
1997 Steelers 24 vs Colts 22 SNF
The Steelers overcome 6 turnovers and hang on to beat the winless Colts in spite of themselves. Bettis runs for 164 yards and a TD, but coughs up the ball twice, including a seemingly fatal fumble at the Pittsburgh 24-yard line with just three minutes remaining in the game. Faulk rushes three times without gaining a yard, and kicker Cary Blanchard hooks a 42-yard field goal attempt with 2:48 remaining to preserve Pittsburgh's narrow 24-22 victory.
1997 Steelers 26 at Bengals 10
Jerome Bettis rumbles for 135 yds and a TD, Thigpen catches 6 for 120 yds and a TD and Kordell Stewart throws for 246 yds and 2 scores as the Steelers win their 4th consecutive game. The key play comes in the 4th quarter with the Bengals trailing 23-10. Jeff Blake hits Carl Pickens near midfield for what looks to be a sure TD for Cinci that will narrow the score to 23-17, but a hustling Carnell Lake catches the streaking Pickens from behind and strips him of the ball, which rolls out of the end zone resulting in a Steeler touchback.
1997 Steelers 23 vs Jaguars 17 OT
Game joined in progress. The Steelers overcome a 10-0 deficit and a rough start by Kordell Stewart as Kordell bounces back to throw for 317 yds, much of it to a seemingly unstoppable Yancey Thigpen (11 catches, 196 yds). The game turns on a goal line stand when Coughlin decides to go for it on 4th-&-1 from the Pittsburgh 2. Greg Lloyd rips around the left tackle and catches RB James Stewart from behind for no gain. Pittsburgh then goes on a 15-play, 8-1/2 minute, 98-yd drive keyed by huge plays by Bettis and Thigpen and capped by leaping 1-yd TD dive by Stewart for a 14-10 Steeler lead. Jacksonville retakes the lead after a Bettis fumble deep in Pittsburgh territory, but a late Norm Johnson 19-yd FG sends it to overtime. The Steelers win the toss in OT and mount a 9-play, 77-yd drive capped by a Stewart shovel pass to Bettis, who rumbles 17-yds up the middle for the game-winning TD.
1997 Steelers 10 at Chiefs 13 MNF
Bettis gains 103 yards on 17 carries, but running back Marcus Allen's 14-yard touchdown pass late in the first half proves to be the game winner. Trailing 13-10 late in the game, the Steelers face a 4th and 2 at midfield with 3:50 remaining... and choose to punt. It's a fatal error, as Josh Miller's shanked punt travels only 20 yards (to the chagrin of Bill Cowher), failing to pin the Chiefs deep and KC picks up 3 critical first downs to run out the clock.
1997 Steelers 37 vs Ravens 0 SNF
Kordell Stewart runs for a TD and throws for another (52 yds to Thigpen) as the Steelers take advantage of 7 turnovers (6 in the first-half alone) for a 37-0 Sunday Night romp over the Ravens. Jerome Bettis runs 24 times for 114 yards and a TD, recording his 4th straight 100-yard game and 7th of the season, and Yancey Thigpen shines with 6 catches for 130 yds and a TD. Vinny Testaverde and Eric Zeier combine for 4 INTs and the Ravens also fumble 5 times, losing 3 to the Steelers as the Ravens muster only 172 yds of total offense.
1997 Steelers 20 vs Bengals 3
Blitzburgh forces 3 Jeff Blake fumbles on 4 sacks with Greg Lloyd and Kevin Henry each recording a sack and a fumble recovery. Facing cold, snowy conditions, Pittsburgh gains more yards on the ground than through the air with Jerome Bettis rushing 25 times for 101 yds and George Jones adding 64 yds on 8 carries. Kordell Stewart throws for two TDs and Yancey Thigpen catches 5 passes for 101 yds and a TD as the Steelers earn their 7th win in 8 games.
1997 Steelers 20 at Eagles 23
The struggling Eagles surprise the Steelers as QB Bobby Hoying, making just his second NFL start, fires two TD passes in the first 10 minutes. This is an ugly game filled with miscues & bad officiating. Stewart's impressive 2nd half numbers aren't quite enough to overcome his dismal 4-of-14, 37 yard first half performance.
1997 Steelers 26 at Cardinals 20 OT
Joined in progress. Blitzburgh terrorizes rookie QB Jake Plummer, tying a team record with 10 sacks including 3 by Carnell Lake with 7 other players recording at least 1 sack. Meanwhile, Jerome Bettis (36 carries, 142 yds) rushes for 3 scores, including the 10-yard game-winner in overtime. Even so, it takes Nedney's missed 46-yard field goal with 6 seconds to play in regulation to save the Steelers.
1997 Steelers 35 vs Broncos 24
Kordell Stewart plays the game of his young career, bringing the Steelers back from a 21-7 first-half deficit by throwing 3 TD passes and running for 2 more scores. Stewart completes 18-of-29 passes for 303 yards and rushes 10 times for 49 yards, Bettis carries 24 times for 125 yards (his 10th 100-yard rushing effort of the season), and Thigpen catches six passes for a career-high 175 yards and 3 TDs. By far, the most complete game of the season for the Steelers.
1997 Steelers 24 at Patriots 21 OT
Facing a seemingly insurmountable 21-13 deficit late in the 4th quarter, Kevin Henry makes the play of the season when he intercepts Drew Bledsoe at the Patriots 41-yd line and returns it to the Patriot 18. Then, on 4th-and-7, Yancey Thigpen makes an incredible diving grab while barely keeping both feet inbounds at the 4 with a minute to go. Two plays later, Stewart rolls right and tosses a 1-yard TD to Bruener, cutting the deficit to 21-19 with 38 seconds remaining. Stewart rolls right again on the conversion attempt and threads the needle to Thigpen, who makes the sliding grab in the back of the end zone to tie the game. Norm Johnson kicks a 44 yarder in overtime to seal a thriller.
1997 Steelers 6 at Oilers 16
With their playoff spot secured, the Steelers rest hobbled RB Jerome Bettis, while quarterback Kordell Stewart plays only a half. Stewart becomes just the 3rd player in NFL history to record 3,000 yards passing and 500 rushing, joining Randall Cunningham and Steve Young.
1997 Post Season
1997 AFC Playoffs Steelers 7 vs Patriots 6
The Steelers win a defensive battle that allows them to host their third AFC Championship Game of the decade. Rookie cornerback Chad Scott intercepts Drew Bledsoe on the third play of the game and Kordell Stewart sets a Steelers playoff record with a 40-yard touchdown run to give Pittsburgh all the points they need. Pittsburgh's special teams repeatedly pin New England in terrible field position and the Steelers force two New England turnovers late in the game when Mike Vrabel sacks Bledsoe and forces a fumble recovered by Jason Gildon, and Levon Kirkland intercepts Bledsoe at the Pittsburgh 20 to seal the victory. Lots of pregame and postgame material including features on Thigpen, Stewart, Kirkland and postgame wrap-ups.
1997 AFC Championship Steelers 21 vs Broncos 24
The Steelers hold a 14-10 lead and are driving toward another score at Denver's 35 when Stewart throws a pass to Thigpen into double coverage in the end zone with 4:40 left in the first half. Cornerback Ray Crockett intercepts it, and Elway drives 80 yards on 5 plays for a touchdown with 1:47 left, giving Denver a 17-14 lead. Not content to kill the clock, the Steelers go to their hurry-up offense and turn the ball back over with 43 seconds left. Carnell Lake is called for pass interference on the first play, a 34-yard penalty that puts the ball on the 20. Four plays later, Elway completes a 1-yard pass to Ed McCaffrey. So what might have been a 21-10 halftime lead for the Steelers becomes a 24-14 Broncos cushion, a deficit that is too difficult for the Steelers to overcome, even though they had bounded from behind seven times to win during the season. Includes 30 minutes of pregame as well as ESPN postgame highlights.