9 N e



The Steelers 1979 season begins here>>>

1979 AFC Championship: The Pittsburgh Steelers vs the Houston Oilers

As predicted, this game was a hard-hitting clash between two teams fighting to prise an opening between in mortal combat.

The Oilers struck first after the game’s opening possession saw Terry Bradshaw’s intended pass to Bennie Cunningham picked off by Vernon Perry and returned for a 75-yard touchdown.

Bradshaw made amends on the Steelers third drive of the game when on a third-and-fourteen, finding no one open, he took off down the right sideline for a 25-yard gain that produced a first and goal on the Oilers four. Houston’s defense held Pittsburgh to a 21-yard field goal.

The Oilers replied with a 21-yard field goal in the second quarter before the Steelers began take control. Bradshaw’s passes of 17 yards to Lynn Swann, 8 to Rocky Bleier and 11 to Swann for first downs moved the chains to enable Bradshaw to air a pass into the end zone for Bennie Cunningham to pull in for a 16-yard touchdown and with Bahr’s successful extra point tied the game at 10-10.

Houston turned the ball over when Mike Renfro fumbled a catch which Mel Blount recovered at the Houston 49. Bradshaw hit Franco Harris for 15 yards on a swing pass, Harris ran left guard for 12 and a first down on the Houston 20. Bradshaw finished the short drive finding John Stallworth crossing through the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown giving the Steelers a seven-point lead at halftime.

Craig Colquitt contributed punts of 47 and 66 yards to keep Houston at bay in the third quarter, but as it came to a close, Pastorini lofted a high lob deep into the corner of the end zone. Mike Renfro outjumped Ron Johnson to haul in the ball which if ruled complete, would have tied the score with the point after. The side judge waved the touchdown off, but the reaction of the players encouraged the officials to discuss the call, but it stood as called, incomplete and the Oilers had to settle for a 23-yard field goal.

The Steelers continued to control the game adding a field goal from 39 yards. As the Oilers were desperately playing catchup, Guido Merkins fumbled after being hit by Blount and Johnson. Donnie Shell recovered to give the Steelers a short field of 45 yards. Bleier contributed a spectacular 20-yard catch as the Steelers moved the ball to give themselves a first down on the five. Harris twice attempted to get the ball into the end zone but met stiff resistance before Bleier succeeded from the four behind Steve Courson and Thorn Dornbrook paving the way.

The Steelers won 27-13 and their fans began planning their trips to Pasadena.

 Albert M. Hermann Jr  image for the Pittsburgh Press
Albert M. Hermann Jr photo for the Pittsburgh Press

The Pittsburgh Steelers 27 vs the Houston Oilers 13
Three Rivers Stadium January 6 1980; 50,475

Passing: Bradshaw 18-30-2TD-1INT-219
Pastorini 19-28-0TD-1INT-203, Nielsen1-1-9

Rushing: Harris 21-85, Bleier 13-52-1TD, Bradshaw 1-254

Receiving: Swann 4-64, Stallworth 3-52-1TD, Bleier 3-39, Harris 6-50, Cunningham 2-14-1TD, Thornton 1-(-1)

“In the beginning, and in the middle, and in the end, I thought they showed they wanted it badly,” acknowledged Coach Noll. “We had respect for the Oilers going into the game and it’s no less now.

We’ve accomplished our first two goals; first to win the division title and second the conference title,” said Coach Noll. “We have only one more to go. Hopefully, we can make it three for three.”

“We failed to do the things we could do,” admitted Houston’s coach Phillips, “and that’s not taking anything away from the Steelers. We’re proud of ourselves, but we are also proud of the Steelers.”

“We want to become the first team to win back to back Super Bowls twice,” said Lynn Swann. “We truly want to make Pittsburgh the City of Champions.”

“They had all the gaps covered,” Dan Pastorini said. “I should have started passing sooner. This WAS the Super Bowl as far as I’m concerned. Pittsburgh is going and they’re going to win.”



Steeler Nation UK twitter account

The Steelers 1979 season updated April 14th 2021.

Ben's early Steelers games.

The Pittsburgh Americans' 1936 season added June 2020.

The Steelers 1978 season in full.
The Steelers 1977 season in full.
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

The Pittsburgh Americans added August 2015.

Please note that I do not use cookies to collect any data.
This site was registered November 2004 to Gordon Dedman.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are not responsible for the content on this site.
This is one fan's tribute to the Pittsburgh Steelers and the city that embraces their teams.
Despite many offers, this site is advert free as I maintain it out of love for the Steelers and not for profit.

All photos are © Gordon Dedman 2021, unless otherwise noted.
Email editor.