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 Improbable Steelers Playoff Wins

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LambertWardSteel



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PostSubject: Improbable Steelers Playoff Wins   Mon Jan 16, 2017 11:57 pm

The media has pretty much given the Cheatriots a 35-0 halftime Super Bowl lead since November. And, of course, according to the media the Steelers have 2 chances this Sunday....slim and none. It got me to thinking of improbable Steelers playoff wins and I came up with the list below. These aren't in any particular order, they are just games that came to mind, and in chronological order. It also is limited to my time following the Steelers. I do not know firsthand if there are comparable games in the 1970's.

Bottom line despite what the 'experts' say, keep the faith, it is the playoffs, the Steelers are a good team, the game is played on the field.



December 30 1984 Pittsburgh 24 Denver 17

I remember no one at the time giving the Steelers a chance in this one in Denver. Steelers were 9-7 and won a weak AFC Central. The Broncos were 13-3 and had won 13 of 14 coming in. The Broncos had the 4th best team defense that year. Frank Pollard and Walter Abercrombie rushed for 174 yards, Mark Malone passed for 224. The Steelers survived 2 fumbles inside their 25, 3 missed Gary Anderson field goals, a blocked Craig Colquitt punt at their 4. The Steelers 24th ranked defense held Sammy Winder who had rushed for 1153 yards that season to 37 yds on 15 carries; they held John Elway to 184 yds, 2 TDs and 2 INTs. The win sent them to the AFC Championship game that they lost 45-28 to Dan Marino and the Dolphins


December 31 1989    Pittsburgh 26 Houston 23

This was Noll's last playoff win. To me this is the most improbable of all postseason appearances for the Steelers. They started the year being outscored 92-10 against Cleveland and Cincinnati. They were 4-6 after 10 games and needed a 5-1 run and considerable help from other teams to get the last AFC Wild Card. Houston was comparable to the current Ravens rivalry, playing in the Astrodome was very loud and inhospitable as they hated the Steelers....I can still hear that Houston Oilers song they sang. The Oilers had Warren Moon, the Steelers Bubby Brister. The Oilers ranked 9 in team offense; the Steelers 28th. A Gary Anderson 50 yard field goal in OT won it. They lost the next week to Denver 24-23. This one was particularly sweet because Oilers coach Jerry Glanville was disliked among Noll, Steelers, and fans, on a level similar to belicheat today.

January 5 2006      Pittsburgh 21  Indianapolis 18

This one is recent enough that it doesn't need much refreshing. The Steelers had lost 26-7  November 28th in Indy during the regular season while gaining 197 total yards and giving up 366. The rematch in Indy was on January 15 against a prime Payton Manning and Tony Dungy in the divisional round.  In a game that featured 'The Fumble" "The Tackle" and "The Miss" the Steelers were underdogs but came out throwing to Heath Miller and seemed to take momentum early. The game needed saved by a  Ben Roethlisberger tackle and Mike Vanderjagt missed field goal. Incidentally, I'm hazy on what it was anymore, but Joey Porter said something to the media that week that Cowher was unhappy with and ultimately apoligized to Dungy at the game.

January 5 2003    Pittsburgh 36  Cleveland 33

Another that is recent enough that it doesn't require a lot of description. The theme of this post has been games where the Steelers were playoff underdogs and won. They weren't so much underdogs in this as I think the majority of people expected them to win. But it was an improbable win because they were losing the game 24-7 with like 4 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter. I can still see Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala barreling into the end zone for the go ahead score with less than a minute to play. The media carried on all week all week that the Steelers were not going to stop RB William Green......he ended up rushing for 30 yards on 25 carries in the game.
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El-Gonzo Jackson

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PostSubject: Re: Improbable Steelers Playoff Wins   Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:32 am

@LambertWardSteel wrote:
T

January 5 2003    Pittsburgh 36  Cleveland 33

Another that is recent enough that it doesn't require a lot of description. The theme of this post has been games where the Steelers were playoff underdogs and won. They weren't so much underdogs in this as I think the majority of people expected them to win. But it was an improbable win because they were losing the game 24-7 with like 4 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter. I can still see Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala barreling into the end zone for the go ahead score with less than a minute to play. The media carried on all week all week that the Steelers were not going to stop RB William Green......he ended up rushing for 30 yards on 25 carries in the game.

I recall that game differently. Green didn't put up any good rushing numbers against decent teams and the Browns OC ran the offense around 5 WR's like Johnson, Northcutt, Andre Davis, Quincy Morgan, Andre King and some H-backs.

Not having a running game in January football in the snow and cold was a recipe for not being able to close out a game with a lead.

Anything can happen on any given Sunday and the gameplan needs to be get pressure up the middle on Brady and then bracket Edelmann. Try to live with the offense going thru Lewis, Blount, Hogan and Bennett. Offensively, need to get in the end zone and score 30+ points. Need to see somebody like Eli Rogers and Xavier Grimble be a factor in the seams as the Pats* will try to take away Brown and Bell.
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PostSubject: Re: Improbable Steelers Playoff Wins   Tue Jan 17, 2017 3:40 am

Great post LWS. Lets hope we can add one more game to that list.

@El-Gonzo Jackson wrote:
the Browns OC ran the offense around 5 WR's like Johnson, Northcutt, Andre Davis, Quincy Morgan, Andre King and some H-backs.

Not having a running game in January football in the snow and cold was a recipe for not being able to close out a game with a lead.

Well, at least the Brown's OC was smarter about situational football than our former OC who thought it was a good idea to throw 32 passes in 20 mph swirling winds against a horrible Browns run defense. Oh, wait ...

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PostSubject: Re: Improbable Steelers Playoff Wins   Tue Jan 17, 2017 6:23 am

@Wallace108 wrote:
Great post LWS. Lets hope we can add one more game to that list.

@El-Gonzo Jackson wrote:
the Browns OC ran the offense around 5 WR's like Johnson, Northcutt, Andre Davis, Quincy Morgan, Andre King and some H-backs.

Not having a running game in January football in the snow and cold was a recipe for not being able to close out a game with a lead.

Well, at least the Brown's OC was smarter about situational football than our former OC who thought it was a good idea to throw 32 passes in 20 mph swirling winds against a horrible Browns run defense. Oh, wait ...

and they where 10+ yard passes when the Browns defense was playing 15 yards deep.

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PostSubject: Re: Improbable Steelers Playoff Wins   Tue Jan 17, 2017 6:35 am

Improbable, yes. Impossible, no. If Dupree could lay a hard and legal hit on Brady early, that might shake things up a bit.

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PostSubject: Re: Improbable Steelers Playoff Wins   Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:09 am

@SteelersYak wrote:
Improbable, yes.  Impossible, no.  If Dupree could lay a hard and legal hit on Brady early, that might shake things up a bit.

If I could transfer the Matt Moore hit to Brady, that'd be fantastic.

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El-Gonzo Jackson

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PostSubject: Re: Improbable Steelers Playoff Wins   Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:15 am

@Wallace108 wrote:
Great post LWS. Lets hope we can add one more game to that list.

@El-Gonzo Jackson wrote:
the Browns OC ran the offense around 5 WR's like Johnson, Northcutt, Andre Davis, Quincy Morgan, Andre King and some H-backs.

Not having a running game in January football in the snow and cold was a recipe for not being able to close out a game with a lead.

Well, at least the Brown's OC was smarter about situational football than our former OC who thought it was a good idea to throw 32 passes in 20 mph swirling winds against a horrible Browns run defense. Oh, wait ...

Yeah, and that Browns team never had a true FB to lead block in the run game. Good thing our former OC had tough FB's like Carey Davis and........oh wait
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PostSubject: Re: Improbable Steelers Playoff Wins   Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:37 am

@IowaSteeler927 wrote:
@SteelersYak wrote:
Improbable, yes.  Impossible, no.  If Dupree could lay a hard and legal hit on Brady early, that might shake things up a bit.

If I could transfer the Matt Moore hit to Brady, that'd be fantastic.

Dupree would get suspended if that hit was on Brady, or ejected from the game

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PostSubject: Re: Improbable Steelers Playoff Wins   Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:11 pm

@LambertWardSteel wrote:
The media has pretty much given the Cheatriots a 35-0 halftime Super Bowl lead since November. And, of course, according to the media the Steelers have 2 chances this Sunday....slim and none. It got me to thinking of improbable Steelers playoff wins and I came up with the list below. These aren't in any particular order, they are just games that came to mind, and in chronological order. It also is limited to my time following the Steelers. I do not know firsthand if there are comparable games in the 1970's.

December 29, 1974 Steelers 24 - Raiders 13

Steelers were 5&1/2 point underdogs in the 1974 AFC championship game at Oakland.  

http://www.vegasinsider.com/nfl/afc-championship/history/

Oakland had scored a last minute TD to beat 2 time defending Super Bowl champion Miami the week before in the "Sea of Hands" game and Madden then p***ed off Noll with his postgame comment that “When the best plays the best, anything can happen.”  Noll then addressed the Steelers in a team meeting (nobody streamed it on Facebook) and said "‘Well, the Super Bowl is three weeks from now, and the best team in pro football is sitting right here in this room.’"

Steelers defense had one of its first legendary games and Steelers outscored Raiders 21-3 in 4th quarter with a second Franco TD putting the game away.

Good summary of the game in this excerpt from the Gary Pomerantz book Their Life's Work on the 70s Steelers

In the 1974 AFC Championship Game, two all-time greats went nose to nose across the line of scrimmage. Steelers defensive tackle Joe Greene was at the peak of his power, Raiders center Jim Otto at the end of his career. Their showdown formed the centerpiece of the game that launched the Pittsburgh dynasty.

http://mmqb.si.com/2013/11/01/joe-greene-jim-otto-1974-afc-championship-game

That game was the only road playoff win by the 70s Steelers (lost to Raiders in 1973 and Broncos in 1977).  Franco Harris has said that was the most significant win by the 70s dynasty and set up all of the success to follow.
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PostSubject: Re: Improbable Steelers Playoff Wins   Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:08 am

In anticipation of where a win Sunday would fit in terms of significant Steelers wins, Joe Starkey of the P-G ranks the Steelers 30 non-Super Bowl wins playoff wins - brings back a lot of memories

http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/joe-starkey/2017/01/20/Joe-Starkey-steelers-Patriots****-afc-championship-game-for-the-ages/stories/201701200088

Starkey's top 5

5. Steelers 21, Colts 18, 2005 divisional round. Signature win of the Cowher era. The Peyton Manning-led Colts were 13-0 at one point, had crushed the Steelers and were playing indoors at home as 8.5-point favorites.

4. Steelers 34, Oilers 5, 1978 AFC championship. An all-time smashing performance against Earl Campbell & Co.

3. Steelers 23, Ravens 14, 2008 AFC championship. If you’ve witnessed a more violent championship game, please tell.

2. Steelers 13, Raiders 7, 1972 divisional round. I debated whether to put this here, because the Steelers did not make it to the Super Bowl that year or the next. However, it was a long-suffering organization’s first playoff win, and because of that, those involved will tell you it had an amazing cathartic effect, kind of like that Pirates-Reds wild-card game times a thousand. It meant the Steelers had finally arrived.

1. Steelers 24, Raiders 13, 1974 AFC Championship. This Raiders team was a few plays from being 15-0 and had shut out the Steelers in the regular season. It had eliminated the Steelers from the playoffs a year earlier, 33-14, and was regarded as the beast of the AFC, having just knocked off the two-time defending Super Bowl champion Dolphins.


IMO the most dominant Steelers playoff win I ever saw was the 40-14 destruction of the Colts in 1976 (I had forgotten about that also being a playoff road win for the 70s team).  Going into that game the Steelers had come back from a 1-4 start to win 9 in a row and were on track for a Super Bowl threepeat if Franco and Rocky had both not been injured and unable to play the next week against the raiders in the AFC championship. That game is an example of how no matter how significant a win seems to be at the time it will be diminished if the Steelers do not go on to win the Super Bowl.
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PostSubject: Re: Improbable Steelers Playoff Wins   Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:28 am

@IowaSteeler927 wrote:
@SteelersYak wrote:
Improbable, yes.  Impossible, no.  If Dupree could lay a hard and legal hit on Brady early, that might shake things up a bit.

If I could transfer the Matt Moore hit to Brady, that'd be fantastic.

That hit would knock him right out of his dress.
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PostSubject: Re: Improbable Steelers Playoff Wins   Fri Jan 20, 2017 10:18 am

@Atlanta Dan wrote:


3. Steelers 23, Ravens 14, 2008 AFC championship. If you’ve witnessed a more violent championship game, please tell.

.

This is the straight up truth! That game made last months Steelers-Ravens game look like this.

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PostSubject: Re: Improbable Steelers Playoff Wins   Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:15 am

The most improbably playoff chance of winning is this Sunday.

1. I don't see anyone outside of Steelers Nation picking the Steelers to win.
2. They'll be knob slobbing Brady and Belicheat all weekend up to kickoff and throughout the game. Get ready for Collinsworth(less) to talk about how Belicheat is the best in the business at this, that, and the other. Same with Brady.
3. We are the underdogs for the rest of the playoffs.
4. We're right where we need to be.

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PostSubject: Re: Improbable Steelers Playoff Wins   Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:30 pm

@Atlanta Dan wrote:
In anticipation of where a win Sunday would fit in terms of significant Steelers wins, Joe Starkey of the P-G ranks the Steelers 30 non-Super Bowl wins playoff wins - brings back a lot of memories

http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/joe-starkey/2017/01/20/Joe-Starkey-steelers-Patriots*****-afc-championship-game-for-the-ages/stories/201701200088

Starkey's top 5

5. Steelers 21, Colts 18, 2005 divisional round. Signature win of the Cowher era. The Peyton Manning-led Colts were 13-0 at one point, had crushed the Steelers and were playing indoors at home as 8.5-point favorites.

4. Steelers 34, Oilers 5, 1978 AFC championship. An all-time smashing performance against Earl Campbell & Co.

3. Steelers 23, Ravens 14, 2008 AFC championship. If you’ve witnessed a more violent championship game, please tell.

2. Steelers 13, Raiders 7, 1972 divisional round. I debated whether to put this here, because the Steelers did not make it to the Super Bowl that year or the next. However, it was a long-suffering organization’s first playoff win, and because of that, those involved will tell you it had an amazing cathartic effect, kind of like that Pirates-Reds wild-card game times a thousand. It meant the Steelers had finally arrived.

1. Steelers 24, Raiders 13, 1974 AFC Championship. This Raiders team was a few plays from being 15-0 and had shut out the Steelers in the regular season. It had eliminated the Steelers from the playoffs a year earlier, 33-14, and was regarded as the beast of the AFC, having just knocked off the two-time defending Super Bowl champion Dolphins.


IMO the most dominant Steelers playoff win I ever saw was the 40-14 destruction of the Colts in 1976 (I had forgotten about that also being a playoff road win for the 70s team).  Going into that game the Steelers had come back from a 1-4 start to win 9 in a row and were on track for a Super Bowl threepeat if Franco and Rocky had both not been injured and unable to play the next week against the raiders in the AFC championship.  That game is an example of how no matter how significant a win seems to be at the time it will be diminished if the Steelers do not go on to win the Super Bowl.

The 74 AFC CG was before my time but seems on similar level as this week's game. This was an awesome article to remember all those games. I didn't remember Abercrombie being on the cover of SI for that 84 Denver game. It was kind of ironic for me that he wrote this because I had been thinking this week if they win Sunday it will be the greatest non-SB game ever for me.

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Fire Arians

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PostSubject: Re: Improbable Steelers Playoff Wins   Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:31 pm

If our team is healthy, no win is improbable
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PostSubject: Re: Improbable Steelers Playoff Wins   Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:51 pm

Hopefully Mrs. R has cut off Ben until sunday night.

He has been looking pretty ragged out lately.
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PostSubject: Re: Improbable Steelers Playoff Wins   Fri Jan 20, 2017 6:16 pm

@Wallace108 wrote:
Great post LWS. Lets hope we can add one more game to that list.

@El-Gonzo Jackson wrote:
the Browns OC ran the offense around 5 WR's like Johnson, Northcutt, Andre Davis, Quincy Morgan, Andre King and some H-backs.

Not having a running game in January football in the snow and cold was a recipe for not being able to close out a game with a lead.

Well, at least the Brown's OC was smarter about situational football than our former OC who thought it was a good idea to throw 32 passes in 20 mph swirling winds against a horrible Browns run defense. Oh, wait ...

Damn it Wally! You know (name omitted) is probably reading this right now. You can't mention the greatest OC in this history of the game of football in a negative light. He'll sense a disturbance in the force!

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