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The Steelers 1976 season begins here>>>

STEELERS IN A SLUMP?

Having lost two of their opening three games, the Super Bowl champions were going to face a stern test in front of a national television audience on Monday Night Football.

“We’ve got to win,” Terry Bradshaw projected. Insisting there was no complacency in the team, he still believed the Steelers retained their killer instinct. “I still think it’s there,” he added. “We haven’t panicked. We had it at the beginning and the end of the game last week.”

The concern in Pittsburgh centred on the 75 points in three games the defense had conceded. That’s wasn’t the form for a Super Bowl run and their next opponents were the unbeaten Minnesota Vikings. “I’d be alarmed if we continue giving up 25 points a game,” coach Noll declared.

Minnesota’s quarterback Fran Tarkenton observed, “I still see 11 All-Pro defensive players out there. I don’t think anybody has pushed them around.”

After watching film of the Patriots win over the Steelers, Tarkenton still thought the Steelers had an excellent defense, attributing the Patriots success to a few exceptionally well-executed plays by their offense.

“They’ll be the Central division champions when the season is over and people will forget they were 1-2,” Tarkenton added.

1976 game 4: The Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2) at the Minnesota Vikings (2-0-1)

Terry Bradshaw and Chuck Noll media photoThe Steelers began the game like the Super Bowl champions they were. With Fran Tarkenton out injured, his replacement Bob Lee initially struggled. Jack Lambert’s early interception put the Steelers on the Minnesota 24. Five plays later Bennie Cunningham hauled in Terry Bradshaw’s touchdown pass of one yard. Roy Gerela’s extra point attempt was deflected left.

After Bradshaw was intercepted in the second quarter, Minnesota scored a touchdown on Chuck Foreman’s 8-yard touchdown run to give them a 7-6 lead. Both teams missed field goal attempts and traded turnovers before the game moved into the final period.

With the ball on their own 27 and inches to go, the Steelers debated whether to go for it. Having decided to punt, Mike Webster snapped the ball over Bobby Walden’s head resulting in a Vikings recovery on the Steelers seven. Two Foreman runs later and Minnesota were 14-6 ahead.

Fred Cox kicked a field goal of 43 yards to complete the scoring before another Bradshaw interception saw the game pass beyond the Steelers reach.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 6 at the Minnesota Vikings 17
Metropolitan Stadium October 4th 1976; 47,809

Passing: Bradshaw 10-22-90-1TD-4; Lee 4-11-41-0TD-2

Rushing: Bleier 16-85, Bradshaw 5-47, Harris 17-34, Walden 2-7

Receiving: Swann 2-29, Harris 4-38, Cunningham 2-14, Bleier 2-9

“We’re playing like a damn semi-pro football team and I don’t know why,” said Jack Lambert. “Everything’s been said that needs to be said.”

When coach Noll was asked if he was still thinking about a third straight Super Bowl title, he replied, “You guys were the ones who were always talking about the Super Bowl. I don’t remember mentioning it.”

AFC Central

Cleveland 24 Cincinnati 45
New Orleans 26 Houston 31


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Last updated July 27th 2015.

Ben's early games with the Steelers.

The Steelers 1975 season in full.
The Steelers 1974 season in full.

Keeping the Faith with Chuck Noll added September 2014.
Chuck Noll tribute added June 2014.
Byron White's 1938 season with the Pirates added July 2014
The Thirties Pirates updated April 2014.
SteelerNationUK on tour 2013 added February 2014.
The story of Steeler Nation's visit to London added October 2013.

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