Onward with Michael Uhlhorn's next entry in the (so-far) well received series titled '25 Memorable Games from 25 Steelers Legends'. The premise is to highlight individual games that Steeler Nation will always remember their career by. Not surprisingly, and just as Michael and I had hoped would happen, you all have offered some outstanding additions to the conversation. Our next addition to the list is a player that Steeler Nation will always remember favorably, even if his erratic behavior off the field gives any sane person pause. A wonderful, wonderful player between the lines though, and one heck of an entertaining force to have on your side of the dogfight each Sunday. - Michael B. -
20) Greg Lloyd - Linebacker (1988-1995)
Greg Lloyd. That name brings a smile to my face. For me, there isn't a better example of a "Steelers Linebacker" in my lifetime. I wasn't around in the 70's, and while LB has always been a position of strength, I grew up wanting to be Greg Lloyd. Lloyd taught Steelers like Chad Brown and Jason Gildon what it meant to be a Steelers Linebacker, and we all know how those two turned out: 6 Pro Bowls and 3 All-Pro teams between them, and are numbers 1 (Gildon) and 10 (Brown) all-time on the Steelers' sack list.
Greg Lloyd made the Pro Bowl 5 times, was selected to three All-Pro teams, 4th on the Steelers All-Time rushing list, and has the 4th-most sacks, 3rd-most tackles, and most forced fumbles in team history.
Career Game: 01/14/1996, AFC Championship Game vs. Indianapolis Colts
Statistics: 1.5 sacks, best game by a defender in arguably the best AFCCG in Steelers' history.
January 1996 was surprisingly warm in Pittsburgh, where game-time temperatures hovered around 50 degrees. With a strong power-running game, the Steelers were built for cold weather, whereas the Jim Harbaugh-led Colts were more of a finesse passing team. Even in a game where the Steelers were heavy favorites, there was a sense around the NFL that this Colts team was a "team of destiny." The Colts were the first 5th seed to ever play in the AFCCG, and were hungry for a taste of the Super Bowl. This game was going to be close, but no one knew at the time it would come down to the reflexes of Aaron Bailey.
This should come as a shock to no one, but on Neil O'Donnell's first pass of the game, he was intercepted, giving the Colts the ball inside the Pittsburgh 30. On the ensuing drive, the Steelers' defense had the Colts in a 3rd and 1 situation, when Ray Seals and Greg Lloyd busted up the middle. Seals forced the runner to jump outside, right into the arms of Greg Lloyd. The Colts would settle for a field goal, but with as close as this game became, that was a key play early.
After trading field goals, the Colts were up 6-3 in the 2nd quarter. On 3rd down from the Pittsburgh 44, Lloyd made his first big play of the game. The Colts had started moving the ball against the Steelers, and with an anemic offense, the D was desperate for a stop. Lloyd provided it with his half-sack coming on the Colts' side of the field. On the following drive, the Steelers finally found their mojo and drove the length of the field to score the first touchdown of the game, taking a 10-6 lead just as the first half was coming to a close.
Right after halftime, the Colts drove 61 yards and were pressing for the go-ahead touchdown when Greg Lloyd slipped right through two linemen to crunch Harbaugh into the ground, ending the drive. The Colts would score a field goal, but had they scored a touchdown here, the Steelers may never have had a chance to *(SPOILER ALERT) give away Super Bowl XXX.
Watch the attached video to find out exactly how the game ended, but the lead went back and forth another few times before the Steelers finally came out victorious. This was the first time I had seen my beloved Black and Gold make it to the Super Bowl, and what a great moment it was for all Steelers fans. Greg Lloyd got us there, and for that and many other reasons, he is a top-20 player in Steeler History.
By the end of the game, the Steelers had been outgained 328-285, but the three Steeler sacks came in situations that left the Colts making up yards. It seemed as though whenever the defense needed to make the play, they did. While his 1.5 sacks led the Steelers' defense, Greg Lloyd seemed to be in on every play. If you take the time to watch the Hulu clip below, you will see a lot of #95.
Note: Watch between 24:00-27:00 minutes and you'll hear Greg Lloyd give a pep talk, speak about how no one was afraid of Harbaugh, followed by Harbaugh admitting the only player that ever scared him was Mr. Greg Lloyd. I wonder what would have happened if Deebo and Lloyd had ever been cage fighters matched against one another. I think that is what the Mayan's predicted would happen in 2012.