1980 Steelers 31 vs Oilers 17
mcmillenandwife
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#1
04-26-2017, 05:48 PM

1980 Steelers 31 vs Oilers 17

The World Champions come out guns blazing from the opening kick, scoring just 3 plays into the game and jumping out to a 17-0 lead courtesy of three 1st quarter Ken Stabler interceptions (2 by Mel Blount). Bradshaw is on fire early and Swann & Stallworth each make some incredible, acrobatic catches (including a Swann TD that is incorrectly ruled out of bounds, although I'm sure the Oilers felt a little justice was served after the Renfro no-catch ruling in the '79 AFC Championship). The gritty Oilers fight back, however, scoring 17 points in 4-1/2 minutes via the trickery of a 57-yard bomb from Earl Campbell (yes, Earl Cambell) to Billy "White Shoes" Johnson and a Steelers fumble of a kickoff to tie the game in the 3rd period. But the Steelers reassert themselves in the 4th, taking the lead back on a Bradshaw QB draw and then icing it on Stallworth's unbelievable catch of Bradshaw's scrambling, improvisational 50-yard sandlot bomb. 
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#2
04-29-2017, 07:39 AM

If only this team could've stayed healthy! The talent was definitely there for another run at the Super Bowl.
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jadentrez
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#3
05-04-2017, 09:30 PM

How could the Steelers look so great here, putting up 31 points against Houston in a virtual rematch of the AFC Championship, and yet manage to get shut out against this same Houston team in the critical late season match up? I mean, yes, age and injuries were factors, but still if they had scored just one TD they would have won that game and probably made the playoffs. A deep slide from this great opening day performance.
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mcmillenandwife
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#4
05-04-2017, 09:39 PM

(05-04-2017, 09:30 PM)jadentrez Wrote: How could the Steelers look so great here, putting up 31 points against Houston in a virtual rematch of the AFC Championship, and yet manage to get shut out against this same Houston team in the critical late season match up? I mean, yes, age and injuries were factors, but still if they had scored just one TD they would have won that game and probably made the playoffs. A deep slide from this great opening day performance.

I said this in already in a different game thread, but I think it holds true for the poor late season performance in Houston vs. this excellent performance in the home opener. 

Late in the year, the Steelers seemed rattled (for lack of a better term). Injuries played a major role in their struggles, no doubt. But there also seemed to be a loss of focus. A "repeat" hangover, perhaps? They had similar struggles in '76, but the team was younger (not to mention the defense was a helluva lot better at that point) and they were able to bounce back. I recall numerous players commenting on how much SB XIV took out of them (Bradshaw in particular). Winning is awesome, but staying on top brings a ton of pressure. I think guys were exhausted, mentally and physically. I really do. I believe the mid-season 3-game slump was primarily due to injuries... but I suspect the "win one, lose one" roller coaster at the end of the year (which is when the Houston shutout occurred) was a least partly a collapse due to exhaustion. You look at the final game in San Diego and it's clear; the Steelers were glassy-eyed, frustrated and with no playoff hopes, just wanted to get the season over with so they could rest. 

What a frustrating season 1980 was as a fan. The death of a dynasty. To this day, 1980 still gives me a hollow feeling in my gut. I was in 8th grade living in the heart of Browns country and I can remember walking to school after those late season losses, dreading the gloating of Browns fans and jeers of Steeler haters at school. Sick Sick Even teachers gave me $#!t.   Laugh

P.S. -- Welcome back!
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#5
05-27-2017, 01:29 PM

Kinda surprising in retrospect that this game only got a noon start considering NBC had the doubleheader for week 1.

Considering how big-time their matchup was becoming and their epic battles, you'd think this game would have gotten a 4:00 local start.

For whatever reason, the Steelers at Three Rivers seemed to always be the early game on NBC than the late game.
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Crash
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#6
05-28-2017, 06:14 AM

The Steelers rarely played at 4 PM during the 70's good years.  Sometimes they would end the year with the Browns at home because Dan Rooney preferred their home schedule concluded each year with that.  

Teams can request certain scheduling quirks.  That was our "one".  Mr. Rooney also had a hand in making the schedule for the entire league for years, so it wasn't like they were going to tell him no.  LOL 

Another example was Denver refused to play the Steelers in week one of the 2006 season during that prime time game that then went to the Dolphins.
(This post was last modified: 05-28-2017, 06:16 AM by Crash.)
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