1978 Steelers 34 at Browns 14
Partial TV broadcast (outstanding video quality) with radio call from Jack Fleming and Myron Cope dubbed in
There are a number of things that stand out in my mind about this game; the overwhelming, SWARMING speed of the Steeler defense is astounding as they bewilder Sipe with a vast array of all-out blitzes; Swann & Stallworth are dazzling; Bradshaw's mobility in the pocket is remarkable.
But what strikes me most is the unbridled hatred between these bitter AFC Central rivals, which is epitomized by Jack Lambert's ejection from the game.
Lambert dives at QB Brian Sipe helmet-first as Sipe is being tackled out of bounds, but Lambert really doesn't make solid contact as he mostly flies over Sipe. While it may have been a slightly late hit, it certainly wasn't spearing. When the flag flies, Lambert is instantly in the official's face, shouting his case. A Browns player gets a little too close and Lambert erupts, catching the guy with a nice right hook (the dude isn't wearing a helmet). Lambert instantly returns to chewing out the official, who throws another flag, and then Lambert REALLY flies into a rage and is ejected. When Noll appears to begin reprimanding Lambert on the sidelines, an infuriated Lambert gives Noll (who wisely shuts up) an earfull, too. Noll pleads Lambert's case to the officials to no avail and Lambert unloads on the refs again.
For the record, Lambert probably deserved to be ejected, but I love the guy for it. No one has EVER played the game with more fire and intensity than Jack Lambert.
With Lambert out, safety Mike Wagner steps up with a game-high 10 tackles and intercepts a Sipe pass to set up the game's decisive score. But it's rookie returner Larry Anderson's 95-yd kickoff return for a TD just before the half that is the turning point in the game, giving the lead back to Pittsburgh and completely sucking the wind out of Cleveland's sails after they had scored to take a 7-6 advantage following Lambert's ejection.
The Browns move the ball well and have a commanding 185-67 edge in 1st half yardage, but 4 turnovers kill them as the Steelers dominate the 2nd half and turn the game into a blowout.
Note: There are two different versions of this game. This version is a partial broadcast of the game (outstanding video quality) with the radio call from Jack Fleming and Myron Cope dubbed in (footage ends late in 4th quarter with Steelers leading 34-14). The other version the complete NBC broadcast (good video quality) with Dick Enberg and Merlin Olsen calling the game.