1979 Steelers 16 at Patriots 13 Overtime MNF
Steve Grogan looks sharp early in this Monday Night season opener as the Pats march down the field to score on a Russ Francis TD catch on their opening drive. But Pittsburgh's pass rush intensifies and begins to rattle Grogan as the game progresses.
Early in the 2nd, a great diving INT by Lambert sets up a 2-yd TD plunge by Thornton. Unfortunately, rookie Matt Bahr misses his first-ever PAT try (and later, his first FG try) and the Pats still lead, 7-6. Bradshaw uses Franco and Thornton extensively throughout the game and while Franco doesn't pile up huge yardage (26 att, 74 yds), his trademark cutbacks yield a number of key first downs. Young Thornton is perhaps even more effective, gaining 44 yds rushing and 41 yds receiving and scoring both Pittsburgh TDs.
Stallworth is outstanding (5 rec, 95 yds), especially late, and although Swann manages only one catch for 19 yds, it's a spectacular leaping, head-over-heals, flipping masterpiece. Patriots TE Russ Francis (5 rec, 53 yds, 1 TD) is outstanding with a number of sensational grabs and is almost the undoing of the Steelers.
Despite Grogan's struggles (11 of 33, 123 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT), the Pats carry a 13-6 lead into the 4th. But the final quarter is all Pittsburgh, starting with a picture-perfect Colquitt punt that pins the Pats inside their own 5. Shell nails Grogan on a safety blitz to set up Pittsburgh with great field position near midfield on the ensuing punt. Bradshaw (15 of 26, 221 yds, 1 TD) flips a flanker screen to Stallworth, who bounces off multiple would-be tacklers and turns a 5-yd gain into a 33-yd gain. Unfortunately, Thornton coughs the ball up on the next play and the drive is ended.
But as is the case during the entire 2nd half, the Steel Curtain continues to terrorize a shell-shocked Grogan. The Pats move backward and a shanked punt gives the Steelers great field position at the Patriot 34. Bradshaw immediately hits Stallworth for 13, then finds a WIDE open Thornton in the end zone 21-yds to tie things up in regulation.
After the Pats go 3-and-out to start overtime, Bradshaw alternates handoffs to Franco and Thornton for big chunks of yardage against the worn-out Patriot defense and young Matt Bahr trots in to redeem himself with a 41-yd game-winner right down the middle. Upgrade (thanks, tm101956) features great video quality, pregame w/Cosell, Meredith, & Gifford and tribute to paralyzed Patriot WR Darryl Stingley.