Winning three consecutive games at mid-season gave the Pittsburgh Steelers a 6-5 record. I believed they would go full force into the playoffs, much like in 1976. Instead Pittsburgh lost four of their last five games to finish 7-9. As stated, this was team’s worst showing since 1971. It is was a bad break since .500 would have put them into the playoffs. The Cleveland Browns won the AFC Central with just a .500 record. Pittsburgh would have made the playoffs on a tie breaker. It was unusual feeling for Pittsburgh fans to see nothing in late December and early January.
There were two big victories for the Steelers. Both were at Three Rivers Stadium.
Week 1 Against the Indianapolis Colts.
Mark Malone completed 21 of 30 passes for 287 yards and five touchdowns. Louis Lipps caught nine passes for 154 yards and three touchdowns. John Stallworth caught five passes for 65 yards and a touchdown. The Steeler defense held the Colts to 159 yards. Pittsburgh got two sacks. Wayne Woodruff intercepted a pass and returned it for 27 yards. Steelers 45 Colts 3. I could use 16 games like this.
Week 3 Against the Houston Oilers.
Louis Lipps caught six passes 98 yards and two touchdowns. The Steelers allowed Houston just 134 yards and eight first downs. The Steelers got three sacks for 17 yards. Shut Outs are always big. Steelers 20 Oilers 0.