Franco Harris ran for 118 yards and one touchdown and Frank Pollard gained 90 yards and scored once to lead a punishing ground game that gave the Pittsburgh Steelers a 25-21 victory over the Green Bay Packers today.
It was the 43rd game Harris has gained more than 100 yards, and it put him over 11,000 for his career.
The Steelers had the ball almost 22 minutes longer than the Packers.
"We were short defensive linemen"--Gabe Rivera, Gary Dunn and John Goodman were injured and did not play--"and we wanted to keep them off the field as much as we could," said Coach Chuck Noll. "We went out there with the idea of running the football and possessing it and keeping our offense on the field."
Overshadowed was another brilliant game by Packers quarterback Lynn Dickey, who threw three touchdown passes to James Lofton and for the game was 13 of 19 for 283 yards. Lofton caught five for 169 yards. His three touchdowns were the most against Pittsburgh since Miami's Paul Warfield caught three in 1971.
The Packers were assessed 50 yards in penalties, many of them during critical offensive drives. "We beat ourselves," said tackle Greg Koch. "Every guy in the offensive line had a penalty. We can't play them and ourselves at the same time."
The Steelers erased a 14-13 halftime deficit by going 64 yards in 12 plays to set up Gary Anderson's 30-yard field goal at 6:03 of the third quarter.
After forcing Green Bay to punt, Pittsburgh took over at its nine and Cliff Stoudt, mixing passes into the relentless ground attack, brought the Steelers to the two in 11 plays. From there, Pollard, who carried 20 times, gave his team a 23-14 lead.
Green Bay closed to 23-21 on Lofton's third scoring pass, a 12-yarder ending a 12-play, 69-yard drive with 10:17 remaining.
But Pittsburgh linebacker Bob Kohrs ended Green Bay's hopes by tackling Dickey for a safety--the Steelers' fourth sack of the game--to build a 25-21 lead with 1:40 to play.
The Steelers elected to establish the running game from the outset, marching 59 yards on the ground to Harris' touchdown their first possession of the game.