In 1978, two years removed from their second of back-to-back Super Bowl wins in '74 and '75, the Pittsburgh returned home in Week 4 to take on the rival Cleveland Browns. The game was a match-up of previously undefeated 3-0 teams, and is regarded as one of the more physical and heated games in the two franchises' storied history.
The game was a defensive battle, with both the Browns D and the Steel Curtain limiting opportunities for both opposing offenses. One of the lone offensive highlights came when Lynn Swann managed to hold on to a Terry Bradshaw pass despite being hit so hard in the neck by Browns DB Ron Bolton that commmentator Dick Enberg could be audibly heard screaming in horror. Swann bounced right back up though and returned to the huddle. With the Browns in field-range in the final seconds of regulation, Jack Lambert shed his defenders and burst into the Browns backfield. Lambert's efforts busted the Browns running play and took the Browns out of FG range, sending the game into overtime.
In overtime, the Steelers had lady-luck on their side. Larry Anderson, the Steelers kick-off returner, stumbled after fielding the OT's initial kick-off, fell to a knee, then got back up and promptly fumbled the ball. Cleveland recovered well within FG range, and the game was seemingly all but over. As soon as the Cleveland FG unit came on to the field to attempt the game-winner, the refs changed the call, though from all accounts, he most certainly was not touched by a Browns player while he was on the ground. Hooray for primitive technology and no instant replay!
The game finally ended on one of the more special, non-playoff plays in Steelers history: a "flea flicker" that involved Bradshaw, Rocky Bleir, Lynn Swann, and Bennie Cunnigham (the recipient of the TD pass).
The Steelers captured their third of four Super Bowls of the decade in 1978
I'm not ready for a nail-biting, cardiac-arrest inducing thriller just yet this season, but I nevertheless look forward to the next time the Steelers are involved in a classic NFL game - a game similar to the one played between the Browns and Steelers this same week 29 years ago.