It was obvious over the weekend that there are so many good athletes in the National Football League that there are now just about as many on defense as there are on offense.
Some of the big-name quarterbacks were finding it hard to put touchdowns on the scoreboard, particularly with passes.
There were only two 100-yard rushing performances, and long runs from scrimmage were scarce. Many of the receivers catching as many as five passes were backs.
Defense was dominant, despite the coaches' protests about rules changes favoring the offense.
Ken Stabler completed fewer than half of his passes, none for a touchdown, against Pittsburgh in a 16-7 victory. Terry Bradshaw managed a 43-yard touchdown throw nearly 53 minutes into the game, but a broken tackle attempt by tight end Benny Cunningham accounted for about the last 30 yards.
"When I threw the ball I just stood there (as if stunned by the good Oakland pass coverage)," Bradshaw said of being intercepted three times. "A sorry, sorry effort," he added, referring to being sacked five times.
Ray Guy gained ground for the Raiders in his exchanges of punts with Bobby walden. Bradshaw, as a result, found himself starting from the Pittsburgh 36-, 6-, 20-, 29-, 8-, 15-, 29-, and 33-yard lines after Guy's punts.
Walden had two 35 yards kicks in four punts. Those and other mistakes by the Steelers gave Stabler the ball on the Pittsburgh 38-, 43-, 30-, 49-, and 34-yard lines.
Still, despite five turnovers and costly offensive penalties by the Steelers, the Raiders were outdone on offense, 369 yards to 247.
Pittsburgh coach Check Noll suffered with restraint because, as he remarked, "all tears can do now is stain my new pants." But it was hard to take, the third straight defeat, and fifth in the last seven games, against the Raiders. Oakland did not have to go far any of its scores.
Minnesota's Fran Tarkenton managed only one touchdown, a 31-yard pass to Chuck Foreman, in a 9-3 victory over Tampa Bay.
JIm Hart of St. Louis produced only one touchdown in beating Chicago, 16-13. It came on a 17-yard pass to tight end J.V. Cain.
Baltimore defeated the New York Jets, 21-12, but only one of the three touchdowns was scored on a Bert Jones pass.
Lawrence, McCutcheon of the Los Angeles Rams, with 106 yards in 23 carries, and Dexter Bussey of the Detroit Lions, who gained 150 in 24 tries, were the only runners to pass 100 yards.
Joe Namath found a defense he could throw against in a 20-0 shutout of Philadephia. One of his throws was for a yard to tight end Terry Nelson and another for 13 to McCutcheon, both for TDs.
The longest touchdown run from scrimmage, 34 yards, was by Tony Dorsett of Dallas, and the Cowboys were one of two teams to run up a big score, 41-21 over the New York Giants. Roger Staubach passed for only one touchdown, 10 yards to Preston Pearson, another running back.
The Cincinnati Bengals rolled over Seattle, 42-20, but Ken Anderson threw for only one touchdown, 32 yards to Isaac Curtis.
Coach Woody Hayes of Ohio State must have gotten some satisfaction from seeing his one-time running tandem of Archie Griffin and Pete Johnson make the transition from college to starters on a title contender, in Johnson's rookie year.
Griffin gained 79 yards in 17 carries, Johnson 56 in 13 carries.
Strongarmed James Harris of San Diego guided the Charges to two touchdowns, one a 12-yard pass to Don Woods, another running back, in a 23-7 victory in Kansas City.
Miami's Bob Griese, who has been lifting weights to strengthen his passing, threw two touchdowns in a 19-15 victory over San Francisco. Wide receiver Nat Moore had the longest touchdown reception of the day, 73 yards, plus two other catches for a total of 114 yards.
Jim Plunkett's offense produced only one touchdown, on a four-yard run by the 49er quarterback that is a department in which new general manager Joe Thomas has not been waiting for Plunkett to excel.
If it was not all exciting football, the fans better get used to it. Except for Baltimore, New England, Dallas, St. Louis and Oakland, most of the winners figure to emphasize defense this season.