Home Steelers 2021 Season Steelers History: The Steel Curtain Comes Down on the Chiefs

Steelers History: The Steel Curtain Comes Down on the Chiefs

by Gordon Dedman

The Kansas City Chiefs were part of the American Football League when they merged with the NFL in 1970. The Pittsburgh Steelers lead the series 23-12 overall and 12-7 in Kansas.

The last time these two teams met was a 2018 contest in Pittsburgh when it was Patrick Mahomes who threw six touchdowns. The Chiefs controlled the game and won 42-37 thwarting a fourth quarter comeback from Ben Roethlisberger.

The Chiefs won the first two meetings at the beginning of the seventies before the Steelers began to dominate the contests.

In 1976 the Steelers were coming off back-to-back Super Bowl wins. They lost the season opener to their arch-rivals the Oakland Raiders and proceeded to lose three of their next four games as they struggled to find any cohesion.

With six games left in the season, the Steelers needed to win out to stand any chance of making the playoffs. Cincinnati was top of the AFC Central at 6-2 while Pittsburgh, Houston and Cleveland were all 4-4.

Terry Bradshaw was returning as the starter after missing four weeks through an injury against Cleveland.

(4-4) Steelers at (3-5) Chiefs November 7, 1976

The crowd of 71,516, who filled Arrowhead stadium, was the highest of the season and many had come to watch the Super Bowl champions and they were rewarded with a superb exhibition of football from the Steelers.

After his enforced absence, Terry Bradshaw found it tough to connect with his receivers. It was left to the Steelers defense to make the first impact on the game. Jack Lambert recovered a Chiefs’ fumble and lateraled it to J.T. Thomas who returned it to the Kansas 20. Reggie Harrison’s 4-yard run finished the short drive for the Steelers’ first touchdown.

At the beginning of the second quarter, the Chiefs spurned an opportunity to put points on the board when they missed a field goal from the 17.

Still suffering with uneasiness to his back and neck, Bradshaw was finding it difficult to complete a pass. Franco Harris stepped up to move the chains. When the drive came to a halt, Roy Gerela kicked a 28-yard field goal that extended the Steelers lead to ten points at half time.

On the first possession of the second half, the Chiefs’ moved the ball to the Steelers’ 8. Chiefs’ quarterback Mike Livingstone’s pass into the end zone was intercepted by Mike Wagner as the Steelers defense again stamped their authority on the game.

As Bradshaw was now finding his feet, he launched a 50-yard pass to Ernest Pough and the completion placed the ball on the Kansas City 25. It took Harris just one run to score the touchdown to add to the Steelers’ advantage.

Pough and Harris were also heavily involved on the Steelers’ next possession. Pouch pulled in a pass of 35 yards before Harris ran in the 5-yard touchdown. Pittsburgh was now 24 points ahead and in complete control of the game.

After Thomas intercepted Livingstone to place the Steelers on their opponents’ 38, Harris again moved the chains. Bradshaw finished the drive with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Frank Lewis.

Bradshaw had by now overcome his ills and emphatically imposed his mark on the contest completing four straight passes for 117 yards including that touchdown.

With the Steelers holding a comfortable lead, Mike Kruczek came on to replace Bradshaw as the game entered the final period. A fourth interception, this one by Glen Edwards, saw him return it 26 yards and introduce Jack Deloplaine to the party.

Deloplaine’s 15-yard touchdown run saw the Steelers’ lead increase to an unassailable 38 points. The offense wasn’t finished for the day. Deloplaine led the team in moving the ball on their next possession before his touchdown run of 7 yards completed the scoring while the Steelers’ defense ensured the shutout.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 45  Kansas City Chiefs 0

Both Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier gained 100-yard games. The Steelers’ 330 yards rushing yards was the highest for a Noll team.

The defeat for the Chiefs was their worse ever and their first shutout for 179 games dating back to 1963.

“We were scared as hell coming in to play the Chiefs,” admitted Joe Greene. “They had been moving the ball and they were aggressive defensively. They had been making mistakes the way any young team will, but this was the number one offensive team in the AFC.”

“They steam rolled us,” admitted Chiefs’ defensive tackle John Lohmeyer. “We played a creditable first half, but we have to play a full sixty minutes of football and we didn’t. The Steelers were like a machine in the second half. They just don’t have two or three plays to run at you, they have a hundred and they’re all similar. It’s pretty tough to stop them when they’re ahead and have Franco Harris running the ball.”

The Steelers obtained their third shutout of the year against the highest ranked passing team in the league. They held the Chiefs who were averaging 145 rushing yards a game to just 34.

Pittsburgh won their remaining five games to finish 10-4 and take the AFC Central division title for the third straight season. They also set a franchise record with five shutouts on the season.

October 24 @ New York Giants 27-0
October 31 vs San Diego Chargers 23-0
November 7 @ Kansas City Chiefs 45-0
December 5 vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers 42-0
December 11 @ Houston Oilers 21-0

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.