These games were hard to forget

As a part of the NFL’s 100th season the league recently highlighted the NFL 100 Greatest Plays, with Franco Harris’ Immaculate Reception taking top honors.

Now the league is featuring the NFL 100 Greatest Games and the Steelers are once again featured.

The league revealed games 31-100 on Friday night, with games 1-30 being released on Friday, Oct. 4 in shows featured on NFL Network.

**Game No. 45

January 18, 1976**
Super Bowl X
Steelers 21. Dallas Cowboys 17
Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida

The Steelers got in an early 7-0 hole when Roger Staubach hit Drew Pearson for a 29-yard touchdown. But it didn’t take them long to get right back in it. Terry Bradshaw connected with Lynn Swann for a 32-yard pass, where Swann outleaped the Cowboys defender and kept both feet in bounds. That set up a seven-yard touchdown pass from Bradshaw to Randy Grossman to tie it at 7-7. A Dallas field goal sent them into the locker room up 10-7 at the half. Roy Gerela missed his second field goal of the game in the second half, and Cowboys safety Cliff Harris mockingly patted him on the helmet. That set off linebacker Jack Lambert, who sent Harris to the ground and lit a fire under the Steelers.

The Steelers scored on a safety off a blocked punt, and Gerela hit two field goals to give the black and gold a 15-10 lead. Bradshaw extended the lead when he hit Swann for a 64-yard touchdown pass, and Swann finished with four catches for 161 yards, winning him MVP honors. The Cowboys fought back, but it wouldn’t be enough when Staubach’s final pass was batted by Mike Wagner and intercepted by Glen Edwards to seal the 21-17 win.

**Game No. 87

January 14, 1996**
AFC Championship Game
Steelers 20, Indianapolis Colts 16
Three Rivers Stadium

Things didn’t get off to a rousing start for the favored Steelers, with the game tied 3-3 after the first quarter. The Colts grabbed a 6-3 lead in the second quarter, but the Steelers took their first lead of the game, 10-6, when Kordell Stewart pulled in a five-yard reception from Neil O’Donnell, despite appearing to be out of bounds along the back of the end zone before making the reception.

The teams exchanged field goals in the third quarter, the Colts keeping things close as the Steelers held a slim, 13-9, lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Colts quarterback Jim Harbaugh led his team on a four-play, 70-yard drive that culminated with a 43-yard touchdown pass to Floyd Turner. The Colts 16-13 lead with 8:46 to play left the Three Rivers Stadium crowd stunned, but there was still plenty of football to play.

The Steelers were unable to move the ball on their next possession, and the Colts got the ball back. The Colts were facing a crucial third-and-one with 3:57 to play, and even a timeout by the Steelers didn’t get the defense set properly, resulting in confusion on the play. But somehow, some way, it all worked out. Lamont Warren went to the right side where he had open space, Willie Williams followed his instincts versus his assignment and came from the left side and ran Warren down from behind for no gain, forcing a punt.

“Best tackle I made all year,” said Williams afterwards.

The Steelers had another opportunity and weren’t going to be denied. With 3:03 to play and starting from their own 33-yard line, O’Donnell went into the two-minute offense. O’Donnell hit Stewart for 13 yards and John L. Williams for seven yards. On second-and-three everyone breathed a sigh of relief when Quentin Coryatt dropped a potential interception on a pass intended for Mills. An incompletion set up a fourth-and-three with 2:25, and there was only one thing to do. Go for it.

O’Donnell hit Andre Hastings for nine yards to keep the dream alive. On the next play O’Donnell went back to Mills for 37 yards, on a beautiful over-the-shoulder catch that went to the one-yard line. It took two attempts, but Bam Morris bulled through for the touchdown and 20-16 lead.

The game wasn’t over yet, though. Harbaugh drove the Colts to the Steelers 29-yard line with five seconds to play. Harbaugh threw up the Hail Mary, but the Steelers prayers were answered when Randy Fuller came from the side to knock the ball away from Aaron Bailey’s hands and onto the turf at the last second, sending the Steelers to Super Bowl XXX.

**Game No. 89

January 15, 2006**
AFC Divisional Round Game
Steelers 21, Indianapolis Colts 18
RCA Dome

It was a fantastic finish, albeit one which had all of Steelers Nation holding their breath. In the closing minutes and in need of a big play, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning was sacked for a 10-yard loss on fourth down, giving the Steelers the ball at the Colts two-yard line. The game appeared to be over, but not even close. Jerome Bettis did what he never does, fumbled near the goal line when he was hit by Gary Brackett. Nick Harper recovered in stride and looked like he was headed to the opposite end zone, until Ben Roethlisberger, the unlikeliest of heroes, made what would become known as “The Tackle.” Roethlisberger got Harper with the shoestring tackle at the Colts 42-yard line.

Manning took control and drove the Colts to the Steelers 28-yard line, where an almost automatic Mike Vanderjagt gave Steelers fans their breath back when his 46-yard field goal went wide right.

**Game No. 92

January 20, 1980**
Super Bowl XIV
Steelers 31, Los Angeles Rams 19
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California

The first three quarters were filled with back and forth action, with the underdog Rams leading 19-17 at the start of the fourth quarter.

The Steelers weren’t going to be denied from becoming the first team to win four Super Bowls though.

John Stallworth had the play of the day when he looked back, and while in stride, pulled the ball in over the outstretched arms of Rams’ cornerback Rod Perry and was end zone bound for a 73-yard touchdown.

The Rams made every effort to mount a comeback, but Jack Lambert intercepted Vince Ferragamo to give the Steelers the ball back. Terry Bradshaw, who won MVP honors, took over, driving the Steelers down the field where Franco Harris punched it in for a one-yard touchdown and 31-19 win and the team’s fourth Super Bowl in six years.

**Game No. 98

January 18, 2009**
AFC Championship Game
Steelers 23, Baltimore Ravens 14
Heinz Field

The Steelers beat the Ravens, 23-14, behind a stellar defensive effort that limited the Ravens to 198 total net yards. The Steelers defense had three interceptions and three sacks, including two from linebacker LaMarr Woodley. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 255 yards and one touchdown, a 65-yarder to receiver Santonio Holmes, to give the Steelers a 13-0 lead. The Ravens fought back, cutting the lead to 16-14 after two touchdown runs by Willis McGahee. But it would be Troy Polamalu who would seal the deal when he intercepted Joe Flacco and returned it 40-yards for a touchdown and 23-14 win.

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