In Chuck Noll’s second season as Head Coach, the team improved by four games, going 5-9. It was a streaky season with inconsistency.
Phase 1. Pittsburgh lost its first three games.
Phase 2. Pittsburgh won four out of five. They actually were even at .500 after eight games. The biggest win was at Three Rivers Stadium on a Monday Night 21 to 10 over the Cincinnati Bengals. A Veteran Steeler showed he still had some life. A rookie Steeler had one game in the limelight for his entire career.
The Steelers were trailing 7 to 0 late in the first half. Halfback Dick Hoak, on a pass option play, threw a 27 yard touchdown pass to Dennis Hughes. Hoak was in his tenth and final year as a Steeler player. This tied the score at 7 at halftime. In the third period, the Bengals kicked a field goal for a 10 to 7 lead after three periods.
Going into the fourth quarter, Terry Hanratty replaced Terry Bradshaw at quarterback. Harraty threw a 72 yard touchdown pass again to Dennis Hughes. Pittsburgh then put on a ball control drive. Warren Bankston ran three yards for a touchdown. A ten year veteran, Dick Hoak, and a one game player, Dennis Hughes, had the headlines here. Pittsburgh 21 Cincinnati 10
Phase 3. Piitsburgh lost five of the last six games to finish 5-9.
The only win in the last six games was a against the Cleveland Browns. This was the first win over the Browns in four years. On defense, the Steelers really stopped Cleveland limited them to 20 yards rushing, 150 yards in total, and just three goals.
Terry Hanratty ended a drive with an 81 yard touchdown pass to Ron Shankin;
Chuck Beatty returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown;
Terry Bradshaw threw two touchdown passes-the first an 81 yard throw to Shanklin and the second an 57 yards throw to Frenchy Fuqua.
The Cinnciinai Bengals won the Eastern Division title with an 8-6 record.