1990 Steelers 35 vs Browns 0
I LOVE this one! The Browns suffer through a comedy of errors, fumbling the ball on the first snap of 3 consecutive drives and ultimately commiting an additional half dozen turnovers (9 total) before the afternoon is over. The shell-shocked Brownies never have a chance and the blank look of utter futility on coach Jim Shofner's hound dog face throughout the game is PRICELESS. Meanwhile, Bubby Brister throws 4 TDs and rookie Barry Foster has his very first 100 yard game.
1992 Steelers 29 at Oilers 24
Bill Cowher's first game as head coach! Trailing 14-0 early in the game, Cowher shows he has some major Kahunas, calling a brilliant fake punt that goes all the way to the 1 yard line to get the Steelers back in it. As usual, Rod Woodson is phenomenal, snagging 2 of Warren Moon's 5 interceptions including a HUUUGE drive-ending pick in the end zone and subsequent 60 yard return to set up the Steelers' winning TD. O'Donnell is particularly clutch all afternoon (14 of 23, 223 yds, 2 YD, 0 Int) and Barry Foster is nearly unstoppable (26 carries, 107 yds, 1 TD). A fantastic debut to Cowher's head coaching career and a portend of great things to come.
1992 Steelers 27 at Chiefs 3 TNF
Rod Woodson sets the tone in a typical "All-World" performance, returning a punt 80 yards for a TD, body slamming running backs, intercepting a pass and defensing everything thrown in his general direction as the Steelers scalp the Chiefs! Greg Lloyd is also particularly frightening as the young "pre-Blitzburgh" defense crucifies Dave Kreig.
1993 Steelers 37 vs Saints 14
As a huge Rod Woodson fan, this is one of my favorite games. Woodson completely dominates from the outset, putting on one of the finest performances by a defensive back you will ever see. The first quarter is literally a Woodson highlight reel as Rod intercepts 2 passes (the first of which he returns 63 yards for a TD, the second setting up a Barry Foster TD) and bats away numerous other passes, not to mention some excellent punt returns. Wade Wilson finishes 6 of 23 for 85 yds, 0 TDs and 3 INTs and is sacked 5 times while Saints running backs muster only 22 rushing yards. Simply OUTSTANDING defense. A huge THANK YOU to Keith "Crash" Froehlich for graciously replacing my destroyed recording of this game!
1993 Steelers 21 at Dolphins 20 MNF
Steve Deberg (in for injured Dan Marino) moves the ball well all night, but four 1st half trips deep into the red zone yield only 2 FGs. Miami squanders another opportunity when Deberg hits Kirby for a 47-yard catch-and-run, but Woodson chops the ball out and Lake recovers at the Miami 2. Just before the half, yet another promising Dolphin drive stalls at the Steeler 4 resulting in only a FG and a 7-6 deficit. The Steelers open the 2nd half with an impressive 16-play, 84-yard drive culminating in a short Leroy Thompson TD run. The teams trade punts until Deberg, pressured by Kevin Green, throws a lollypop to Carnell Lake who returns it 37 yds to the Miami 18. O'Donnell capitalizes with short TD pass to Merril Hoge on the first play of the 4th quarter for a 21-6 lead. Miami keeps fighting and narrows the score to 21-13 on a Deberg TD pass, and poor Steelers special teams once again give up a punt return for a TD, this one 72 yards to O.J. McDuffie to make the score 21-20 with 6:37 left. Miami gets the ball back at the 10 yd line with 2:19 remaining and begins to drive, but sacks by Kevin Green and Carnell Lake give the ball back to Pittsburgh on downs. Rod Woodson seals the deal by intercepting Deberg's last gasp pass.
1993 AFC Wildcard Steelers 24 at Chiefs 27 OT
After failing to complete his first 7 passes, Joe Montana is perfect on his final 5, leading the Chiefs on a 65-yard drive capped by Nick Lowery's winning kick in overtime. Early on, the Steelers appear to be firmly in control after a huge Gerald Williams sack of Montana on a 4th and 1 play gives Pittsburgh the ball at midfield and sets up a Steeler TD for a 17-7 halftime lead. The Chiefs fight back to tie the game at 17 early in the 4th, but O'Donnell hits Green for a 22-yd TD and a 24-17 lead with 4 minutes to play and the Steelers again appear to be in control. If not for a huge breakdown on special teams (a recurring theme throughout '93), Montana and Lowery might never have had a chance to pull off their comeback. But with 2-1/2 minutes left, Keith Cash bursts nearly untouched through the line to block Mark Royals' punt, which Fred Jones scoops up and returns to the Steeler 9, serving Montana a chance to tie on a silver platter. A special thanks to Matthew Simon for digitizing this game for us!
1996 Steelers 42 vs Rams 6
Bettis gets redemption, bulldozing through former team mates mercilessly as the Steelers crucify the Rams! The Bus gains 129 yds on 19 carries and scores 2 TDs while playing less than 3 full quarters before Cowher decides to rest him (in spite of Bettis' protests to continue his onslaught). Almost as satisfying as Bettis' success is the utter futility of his "replacement" in St. Louis, Lawrence Phillips, who gains an embarrassing 6 yards on 5 carries and is a total non-factor. An absolute @$$-whipping, start to finish.
1997 Steelers 35 vs Broncos 24
Kordell Stewart plays the game of his young career, bringing the Steelers back from a 21-7 first-half deficit by throwing 3 TD passes and running for 2 more scores. Stewart completes 18-of-29 passes for 303 yards and rushes 10 times for 49 yards, Bettis carries 24 times for 125 yards (his 10th 100-yard rushing effort of the season), and Thigpen catches six passes for a career-high 175 yards and 3 TDs. By far, the most complete game of the season for the Steelers.
1999 Steelers 43 vs Browns 0
Total yards: Steelers 460, Browns 40... First Downs: Steelers 32, Browns 2... Passing Yards: Steelers 247, Browns 31... Rushing Yards: Steelers 213, Browns 9... 3rd Down Efficiency: Steelers 70%, Browns 0%... Time of Possession: Steelers 47:49, Browns 12:11... Need we say more?
Perspective: The Factory of Sadness
It's interesting (and illustrative of how consistently good the Steelers really are) that as bad as things seemed during the "Dark Years" of the 1980's, the Steelers still made the playoffs 4 times and only suffered 3 seasons with a losing record. Contrast those results with the last 14 years of futility from the Factory of Sadness in Cleveland: