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Memorable Matchup: Noll's last game

Posted Dec 26, 2013

A look at a classic matchup in Pittsburgh in the Steelers-Browns rivalry.


Photo Gallery:  Steelers
December 22, 1991
at Three Rivers Stadium
Steelers 17, Browns 10

As the clock wound down during the Steelers-Browns game on a Sunday afternoon in December, a photo of Coach Chuck Noll and his wife Marianne from the Steelers Christmas party a week earlier flashed across the scoreboard. Steelers’ fans went crazy as a Happy Holidays message accompanied the photo, the last of a series of photos of players and coaches shown throughout the game with Christmas wishes.

It would be one of the last times the home crowd at Three Rivers Stadium, which would include some of Noll’s former players, would have an opportunity to cheer for Noll, who would coach his last game that day. Noll retired a few days later, on Dec. 26, 1991, 22 years ago today, ending an era that brought four Super Bowl trophies to the proud City of Pittsburgh during Noll’s 23 years at the helm.

“The end has to come sometime for everyone,” said Noll during his retirement announcement. “For me, this is it. This is when it happened.”

And his players didn’t let him down in what would be his final game. The Steelers beat the Browns 17-10 thanks to some splash plays on offense and defense.

Gary Anderson opened the scoring with a 34-yard field goal in the first quarter, but the Browns tied it with a 19-yard Matt Stover field goal, sending the teams into the locker room at halftime tied 3-3.

Steelers quarterback Bubby Brister completed just seven passes for 113 yards, but he only needed one that mattered, a 65-yard scoring strike to Dwight Stone near the end of the third quarter for a 10-3 lead.

The defense would be next to come up big with cornerback Richard Shelton intercepting Bernie Kosar at the Steelers 43-yard line and returning it 57 yards for a touchdown and 17-3 fourth quarter lead.

The Browns would add a Michael Jackson 27-yard touchdown reception to close the gap to 17-10, but it wouldn’t be enough and Noll would win his final game as the Steelers coach.

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