#9 Greatest Play & Game at Three Rivers Stadium
Pittsburgh - The Pittsburgh-Cleveland rivalry was one of the finest and most intense in the National Football League prior to the Browns move to Baltimore after the 1995 season.
Interestingly, the two teams played against each other only once in the playoffs in the storied rivalry in what was one of the final three games between the two teams prior to the Browns' three-year absence from the NFL.
That 1994 Divisional Playoff game was selected by Steelers fans as the ninth-greatest game in Three Rivers Stadium history as part of the Steelers Last Season at Three Rivers Stadium celebration. The ninth-greatest play was one of John Stallworth's many improbable catches during his career in a 1978 AFC Playoff game versus the Denver Broncos.
1995 AFC Divisional Playoff
Pittsburgh 29, Cleveland 9
The game was played Jan. 7, 1995. The Steelers dominated the contest between the two bitter rivals, 29-9, and defeated the Browns for the third time that season.
Pittsburgh scored on its first three possessions on drives of 65, 53 and 74 yards for a 17-0 lead.
The Browns made it 17-3 with a 22-yard Matt Stover field goal late in the first half. But, the Steelers manufactured one more scoring opportunity when Tim McKyer intercepted Vinny Testaverde on the Cleveland 27 yard-line and returned it to the six with 46 seconds remaining in the half, setting up another Steelers score for a commanding 24-3 halftime lead.
In the second half, the Steelers added a 40-yard Anderson field goal in the third quarter and a safety by Carnell Lake in the fourth quarter for the 29-9 final.
Cleveland, on the other hand, drove into Pittsburgh territory just three times in 12 possessions. The Browns managed just one score in the second half, a 20-yard TD pass from Testeverde to Keenan McCardell.
The Steelers outgained Cleveland 424 yards to 186, 23 first downs to 10 and had a 42:27 to 17:33 advantage in time of possession. The victory was Pittsburgh's first playoff win in five years.
John Stallworth's 45-yard TD reception against Denver
There is a sports adage that says that great players make great plays in big games. John Stallworth was unquestionably a great player for the Steelers, and while he made many great catches throughout his career, it seemed some of his best and most improbable receptions occurred in key games.
The ninth-greatest play as selected by Steelers fans is John Stallworth's 45-yard TD reception from Terry Bradshaw in the 1978 AFC Playoff game versus the Denver Broncos.
To set the scene: Leading 19-10 in the fourth quarter of the game, the Steelers were faced with a second-and-eight at the Broncos 45-yard line. The Steelers had been in command throughout much of the game but the Broncos remained within reach. Stallworth's catch, though, clinched the game. Stallworth leaped over Broncos All-Pro cornerback Steve Foley and caught a Bradshaw pass as he tumbled over the end line, one of many acrobatic catches Stallworth made during his illustrious career.
Game Notes: Each home game there will be three honorary game captains, who played for the Steelers during their 31 seasons at Three Rivers. This week's captains are: running back Steve Avery (1994-95), linebacker Steve Fedell (1981) and offensive lineman Craig Wolfley (1980-89).