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The Steelers 1978 Season Begins Here>>>


“World War III,” Houston’s trainer called the game and it appeared the Steelers were merely battered while the Oilers playoff aspirations were sorely in tatters. Told the Steelers had lost two defensive regulars for at least Saturday’s game in Pittsburgh against Baltimore, a Houston official sneered, “Hell, that’s minor and they don’t have to win anything.”

The Oilers need a win from their last two games to guarantee a wildcard spot while a Steelers win in one of their last two will assure them of homefield throughout the playoffs. The damage to the Steelers from what Chuck Noll called, “at least the second hardest hitting game I’ve ever seen” was minimal compared to what Houston suffered.

Loren Toews will miss at least weeks with a fractured left ankle. Mike Wagner will be sidelined for about ten days with a bruised knee and will be replaced by Tony Dungy, leaving former Colt Ray Oldham as the only backup safety man.


With the division title comfortably clinched, the Steelers could be forgiven for taking their last two regular season games lightly. The Steelers could rest players as they did in 1975 against Los Angeles when Bradshaw only played half the game and they flooded the game with subs. They lost 10-7.

“I want to win the rest of the game,” offered Terry Bradshaw. “I don’t want a vacation. I’m prepared to play. We can’t let up and get complacent or lose our intensity.”

The Colts will be without their starting quarterback Bert Jones.

Last season, Tony Dungy made his debut at quarterback for the Steelers against Baltimore when the starters went down. Although he figures as the Steelers fifth defensive back, Dungy was expecting to start against the Colts with Mike Wagner out injured.

“I haven’t played under normal circumstances in a long time,” acknowledged Dungy. On third down, when I usually come in, I’m pretty sure it will be a pass. I haven’t really played enough to develop my own kind of style. It will be a good experience for me.

Everybody wants to start. Guys that say that it doesn’t matter are kidding themselves. I’m just fortunate that I’ve been able to come in occasionally and make some big plays.”

1978 Game 15: The (12-2) Pittsburgh Steelers vs the (8-2) Baltimore Colts

Terry Bradshaw had previously turned in some poor performances, but on a frigid, snow-covered field, with the snow falling, he threw with precision to keep the fans warm and ensure the Steelers continued their winning ways

The Steelers dominated from their second possession when Bradshaw’s 31-yard looped pass found John Stallworth for a touchdown. Stallworth later left the game with a stomach virus. Lynn Swann pulled in a 62-yard pass but took a shot to the head on the play and was forced to leave the game.

Franco Harris joined in with two scores in the second quarter with touchdown runs of 3 and 2 yards to give Pittsburgh a 21-0 lead. The second one was the result of Bill Troup fumble that set the Steelers the ball on their opponents 2.

AP photo of Randy GrossmanThe Colts last series of the first half saw them move the chains 41 yards, finishing with a 5-yard touchdown catch as the halftime score reflected the Steelers supremacy with a 21-7 lead.

In the third quarter, a Bradshaw handoff to Harris fell loose and Baltimore’s Don Luce picked it up and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown. The point after attempt went wide left.

The ensuing kickoff was returned 57 yards by Larry Anderson to set up another Steelers score. Three plays later, Bradshaw found Larry Grossman (picture left) with a 12-yard touchdown pass.

With the Steelers two star receivers out of the game, Bradshaw turned to second year veteran Jim Smith with a touchdown pass of 29 yards for the final score that saw the Steelers triumph 35-13.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 35 vs the Baltimore Colts 13
Three Rivers Stadium December 9, 1978; 41,957

The Steelers gained 373 yards of total offense while the Colts were kept to 129. Each of the Steelers four receivers gained more yards than the Colts netted in the air for the day. 29 yards.

Passing: Bradshaw 11-18-3TD-2INT-240, Kruczek 1-3-7
Troup 8-18-1TD-1INT-62

Rushing: Bleier 13-48, Harris 17-52-2TD, Bradshaw 3-15, Moser 8-15, Deloplaine 6-9

Receiving: Stallworth 1-31-1TD, Smith 2-36-1TD,Swann 3-87, Bleier 1-32, Thornton 1-24, Grossman 2-17, Bell 2-20

“The team’s playing well, really well,” said Terry Bradshaw. “I’m excited about it. It’s great. It’s nice to know we’ve got all our playoff games at home.”

“I’m more pumped up this year than last season because we’ve got the best record. Last year, we kind of backed in. This is a real good feeling.”

“I have a good feeling about this team,” admitted Joe Greene.




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This site last updated September 14th 2018.

Ben's early Steelers games.

The Steelers 1977 season in full.
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