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The Steelers 1977 season begins here>>>

STEELERS 1977 PLAYOFF HOPES FROZEN

1977 Game 13: The Pittsburgh Steelers (8-4) vs the Cincinnati Bengals (7-5)

Chuck Noll media photoIn freezing conditions, the Steelers struggled in a game that would have seen them crowned division champions with a win. On the Steelers first series, Terry Bradshaw’s first pass attempt intended for Lynn Swann was picked off by the Bengals’ Lemar Parrish and returned 47 yards for a touchdown.

On the Steelers next drive, a Rocky Bleier fumble recovered by Coy Bacon on the Steelers 15, saw Jack Ham and Jack Lambert prevent a touchdown with a goal line stand. With the Steelers offense failing to ignite, Cincinnati was given another opportunity to add to their score, but Chris Bahr’s field goal attempt went wide left.

With a drive that began at the end of the first quarter and Bradshaw putting some passes together, on the first play of the second period, Franco Harris powered in from the five and the game was tied 7-7 with Roy Gerela’s conversion.

Cincinnati’s quarterback left the game for one series after taking a nasty hit from Ernie Holmes while Harris racked up the yards providing an opportunity for Gerela to kick a 32-yard field goal to give the Steelers a 10-7 halftime lead. Harris rushed for 101 yards on 20 carries while the Steelers gained 240 totals yards of offense compared to the Bengals 103.

Mel Blount prevented Cincinnati going ahead when he intercepted a pass in the end zone, but the Bengals defense suddenly found a way to stop the progress of Harris. Despite Bradshaw finding rookie receiver Jim Smith for his first pro reception, the Steelers began to struggle on offense with a fumble from Harris resulting in a Cincinnati 24-yard field goal.

On the ensuing kickoff, Smith fumbled the kick return and the Bengals recovered to start a drive on Pittsburgh’s 43.  Cincinnati took the lead when Anderson’s pass of 43 yards found Pat McInally for a touchdown.

In the final quarter, Harris fumbled again, but the Bengals failed to take advantage when they rolled the snap on a field goal attempt and Bahr hit the right upright with his kick. Both teams toiled in the cold and failed to add further points resulting in a 17-10 Cincinnati victory.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 10 at the Cincinnati Bengals 17
Riverfront Stadium December 10th 1977; 36,067 (15,325 no shows)

Passing: Bradshaw 20-39-1INT-0TD-246
Anderson 15-33-1INT-1TD-303

Rushing: Harris 25-95-1TD, Bleier 7-28

Receiving: Smith 4-80, Cunningham 4-64, Swann 4-52, Stallworth 4-35

“No doubt about it, we had some costly fumbles,” confessed Franco Harris. “Especially bad because it happened in scoring territory. You turn the ball over, that hurts. It really does.”

“I think we are in trouble,” admitted Jack Ham. “When you’re in a position where you got to root for someone else to get you in the playoffs. I think it’s kind of a grave situation. I’m usually the eternal optimist, but…”

In a reference to the Bengals next game, defensive end Coy Bacon declared, “There’s no way Houston can stop us.”

“All that garbage about Pittsburgh’s superiority and psychological edge is gone now,” argued Bengals’ coach Bill Johnson. “We beat them and we beat them right,” he added before stressing, “this game is nice, but the big game is next week.”

After suffering a broken arm when he slipped on the ice the day before the game, Coach Noll faced the prospect of not making the playoffs for the first time in seven years.  “We willed our destiny away,” Noll acknowledged. “It was a helluva game between two good teams under lousy circumstances, but it wasn’t exactly a fun afternoon out there for us today.”

AFC Central
Houston 19 Cleveland 15

Cincinnati 8-5
Pittsburgh 8-5
Houston 7-6
Cleveland 6-7

TERRY BRADSHAW

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This site last updated March 28th 2017.

Ben's early games with the Steelers.

The Steelers 1976 season in full.
The Steelers 1975 season in full.
The Steelers 1974 season in full.

The first NFL champions the 1902 Pittsburgh Stars added June 2016

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