Fantasy Bowl Playoffs: 76 Pittsburgh Steelers vs 99 St. Louis Rams

Sunday, 04 January 2009 11:00 AM Written by 


76 Pittsburgh Steelers vs 99 St. Louis Rams

Welcome to the TransWorld Dome in St. Louis, where it will be the 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers taking on the 1999 St. Louis Rams.  In 1999, the Rams showed the world that sometimes offense wins championships too.  Lead by Kurt Warner, the Rams blasted through the season lighting up the scoreboard and simply blowing away their opponents.  This offense will be put to the ultimate test tonight as they face the Steel Curtain of the 76 Steelers.  This particular defense is often considered the best of the Steel Curtain defenses.  They pitched 5 shutouts, 3 of them in a row.  It will be the unstoppable force versus the immovable object.

Steelers key to victory - Control the clock.  Pound the football and keep Warner, Faulk and Bruce off the field as much as possible.  The Steelers defense is great, but if they're on the field too much, it will only be a matter of time before this offense is able to take advantage.

Rams key to victory - Stop the two headed monster of Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier.  If the Steelers are able to move the ball on the ground and control the clock, the Rams will need to rely on the big play to score points and this defense won't let that happen.

Weather:  Dome

1st Half: 

The Steelers win the toss and defer the kickoff.  After a 5 yard run by Faulk, Warner is sacked for a loss by Jack Lambert.  The Steelers bring the heat on 3rd down and Warner just gets back to the line to avoid the sack and the Rams are three and out.  After the punt, the Steelers start off on their own 34.  On the first play from scrimmage, its pitched right to Franco Harris who runs for 54 yards before getting knocked out of bounds at the Rams 12.  However, the Steelers fail to score as Bradshaw is picked off in the end zone by Mike Jones, but he accidentally runs out and is tackled at the 3.

Pinned deep in their own territory, the Rams get creative and do a bubble screen to Issac Bruce to the left side for a 9 yard gain on a 3rd and 6.  With some breathing room, the Rams continue with a couple short passes before finding Torry Holt for a 25 yard gain.  After a couple big plays, one receiving and another rushing, the Rams get into field goal range, but don't get much farther.  Jeff Wilkins nails a 45 yarder putting the Rams on top.  11 plays, 79 yards, 7:36 drive

Steelers 0 - Rams 3

On the Steelers next possession, they get back to Steeler football.  Harris up the middle for 10.  Bleier up the middle for 9.  Harris again for another 9.  Bradshaw finds Frank Lewis on a play action for 19 yards and they're into the red zone.  Despite the success of the play action, the Rams load up the box and snuff out the running game forcing Bradshaw to go to the air and the drive stops.  Roy Gerela hits a 39 yard field goal to tie it up.  8 plays, 51 yards, 5:19 drive

Steelers 3 - Rams 3

The Steelers defense not happy about the last drive stuff the Rams and push them back 3 yards on this drive.  The Steelers get the ball back on their own 33.  The running game still isn't going anywhere as the Rams are loading up 7 and 8 men in the box.  On 3rd down, Bradshaw finds Lynn Swann for a 31 yard gain and into Rams territory.  The Rams are dropping people back from the line and the Steelers come back with the running game.  The combination of Bleier and Harris power them down to the 1.  Bradshaw fakes a hand off to Harris and finds Bennie Cunningham in the back of the end zone for the touchdown!  9 plays, 67 yards, 5:32 drive

Steelers 10 - Rams 3

The Rams looking to respond, once again go back wards after three plays and are forced to punt again.  Since their long drive that led to the field goal, the Rams have -6 total yards.  Pittsburgh gets the ball back just before the two minute warning.  They run until the two minute warning and then fail to convert on 3rd and 6 and punt back to the Rams.  Finally, the Rams get positive yardage on a 19 yard catch by Holt and then a 17 yarder to Bruce.  Faulk almost catches a pass at the PIT 10, but gets laid out by Donnie Shell and drops it.  On a 3rd and 2, Warner gets picked off by Andy Russell and the Rams end up with nothing again.  With 29 second left, the Steelers do try to do something, airing it out with Bradshaw.  He makes a couple hail mary passes to the end zone, but both fall incomplete.  End of the half

2nd Half: 

The Steelers get the ball first in the second half.  They made some adjustments as they mix in some passes with the run and march down the field to the Rams 9 yard line, but Harris comes up short on a 3rd and 2.  Chuck Knoll considers going for it, but decides to make it a two score game and send out the field goal unit.  Gerela puts it through and the Steelers increase their lead.  11 plays, 56 yards, 7:22 drive

Steelers 13 - Rams 3

Going against this defense, the Rams needed a break and they got one.  The kickoff is returned to the Steelers 41 and the Rams fans are on their feet.  Mixing up passes and rushes to Faulk, the Rams make it down to the PIT 9 before the Steel Curtain digs in deep and holds them to a Wilkins chip shot.  10 plays, 47 yards, 5:59 drive

Steelers 13 - Rams 6

On Pittsburgh's next possession, the running game is really gashing the Rams defense.  Bleier has two straight 10+ yard runs.  Bradshaw goes to the play action, but is picked off by Dre Bly at the STL 15.  The Rams have stopped the Steeler offense, but can't move the ball and have to punt it away.  They nearly give it right back on the Reggie Harrison fumble.  They pound away more with the running game and are content to just take off as much time as they can and punt the Rams deep into their own end. 

Once again, the Rams fail to move the football and go three and out.  The Greatest show on Turf has officially been grounded at this point.  The Steelers once again pound it down the Rams throats and finally breakthrough with a 35 yard sprint by Harris to the end zone for the TD.  6 plays, 63 yards, 3:22 drive

Steelers 20 - Rams 6

With 3:14 left, the Rams have almost no hope of coming back, let alone against this defense, but they give it their best.  Playing prevent, Pittsburgh gives up a 23 yarder to Holt and then Az-zahir Hakim goes 38 yards on a slant pass to the PIT 10.  The Rams get to the PIT 2, but Faulk is stuffed on 4th and goal and that's the ball game.  The Steelers line up in the victory formation and run out the clock.

Defense and running the football, that's what Steeler football is all about.  The Rams have a lot of talent on offense, but the Steelers dominated the line of scrimmage in this contest and basically just out muscled the Rams.  The Steelers will now advance to the 2nd round to play the top seeded, 85 Bears in Soldier Field.

Scoring Summary
1st Quarter
ST. 2:29 FG Jeff Wilkins 45 yds. 0-3
2nd Quarter
PIT 12:19 FG Roy Gerela 39 yds. 3-3
PIT 5:04 TD Bennie Cunningham 1 yd. pass from Bradshaw (Gerela kick) 10-3
3rd Quarter
PIT 7:27 FG Roy Gerela 26 yds. 13-3
ST. 1:15 FG Jeff Wilkins 29 yds. 13-6
4th Quarter
PIT 3:20 TD Franco Harris 35 yd. run (Gerela kick) 20-6

 

INDIVIDUAL STATS

1976 Pittsburgh Steelers
 
1999 St. Louis Rams
Rushing
  Att Yds 20+ L TD
'76 Franco Harris 21 173 2 54 1
'76 Rocky Bleier 17 78 0 19 0
'76 Terry Bradshaw 4 5 0 8 0
'76 Reggie Harrison 1 1 0 1 0
'76 Lynn Swann 1 0 0 0 0
 
Rushing
  Att Yds 20+ L TD
'99 Marshall Faulk 13 37 0 14 0
'99 Robert Holcombe 7 4 0 4 0
'99 Justin Watson 1 2 0 2 0
'99 Kurt Warner 1 0 0 0 0
Receiving
  Rec Yds 20+ 40+ L TD
'76 Rocky Bleier 2 35 0 0 18 0
'76 Lynn Swann 2 30 1 0 31 0
'76 Bennie Cunningham 2 27 1 0 26 1
'76 Franco Harris 2 23 0 0 19 0
'76 Frank Lewis 1 19 0 0 19 0
'76 Theo Bell 1 11 0 0 11 0
'76 John Stallworth 1 -3 0 0 -3 0
 
Receiving
  Rec Yds 20+ 40+ L TD
'99 Torry Holt 3 67 2 0 25 0
'99 Isaac Bruce 4 49 0 0 18 0
'99 Marshall Faulk 5 42 0 0 17 0
'99 Az-zahir Hakim 1 38 1 0 38 0
'99 Ricky Proehl 1 8 0 0 8 0
'99 Robert Holcombe 1 3 0 0 3 0
Passing
  Comp. Att. Yards TD INT
'76 Terry Bradshaw 11 18 142 1 2
 
Passing
  Comp. Att. Yards TD INT
'99 Kurt Warner 15 28 207 0 1
Defensive
  Tackles Sacks INT
'76 L.C. Greenwood 7 1 0
'76 Jack Lambert 5 2 0
'76 Joe Greene 3 0 0
'76 J.T. Thomas Jr. 3 0 0
'76 Donnie Shell 3 0 0
'76 Andy Russell 3 0 1
'76 Mel Blount 3 0 0
'76 Jimmy Allen 2 0 0
'76 Glen Edwards 2 0 0
'76 Marv Kellum 1 0 0
'76 John Banaszak 1 0 0
'76 Mike Wagner 1 0 0
'76 Loren Toews 1 0 0
'76 Jack Ham 1 0 0
 
Defensive
  Tackles Sacks INT
'99 Todd Lyght 6 0 0
'99 Charlie Clemons 5 1 0
'99 Dexter McCleon 4 0 0
'99 Devin Bush 4 0 0
'99 Mike Morton 3 0 0
'99 Mike Jones 3 0 1
'99 Kevin Carter 3 0 0
'99 Lorenzo Styles 2 0 0
'99 Keith Lyle 2 0 0
'99 Leonard Little 2 0 0
'99 Nate Hobgood-Chittick 2 0 0
'99 London Fletcher 2 0 0
'99 Rich Coady 2 0 0
'99 Taje Allen 2 0 0
'99 Jeff Zgonina 1 0 0
'99 Troy Pelshak 1 0 0
'99 Billy Jenkins 1 0 0
'99 D'marco Farr 1 0 0
'99 Ron Carpenter 1 0 0
'99 Dre' Bly 1 0 1
Field Goals
  Made Missed
'76 Roy Gerela 39,26
 
Field Goals
  Made Missed
'99 Jeff Wilkins 45,29
To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.