The Pittsburgh Steelers have certainly had more than their fair share of big offensive plays in the history of the franchise. In this Summer of 2020 offseason series, I’ll highlight and recap for you the biggest Steelers offensive plays by season from the last 50 years. Most of these posts will include video of the play in question along with a few details and sometimes dated newspaper clippings.
This series now continues with the Steelers longest offensive play of the 1978 regular season, which came in Week 5 against the Atlanta Falcons and at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh on October 8. The play, a 70-yard completion from quarterback Terry Bradshaw to wide receiver John Stallworth, came late in the third quarter and on a third-and-2 from the Steelers 28-yard-line. The Steelers were leading the Falcons 17-0 at the time.
On the big-play completion from Bradshaw to Stallworth, the quarterback connected with the wide receiver just inside the numbers at the Steelers 41-yard-line. Stallworth then turned up the field and broke three tackle attempts by Falcon defenders on his way to almost scoring. Falcons cornerback Rolland Lawrence was able to catch Stallworth inside the 5-yard-line, however, and ultimately brought the Steelers big wide receiver down at the Atlanta 2-yard-line. Steelers running back Rocky Bleier scored from two yards out just two plays later.
Stallworth ended the game with six receptions for 114 and a touchdown, which he scored on an 11-yard pass from Bradshaw in the fourth quarter. At the time, Stallworth’s performance against the Falcons was his second-best regular season showing of his career.
“Our running game hadn’t been doing well the past few weeks, so we felt it was necessary to establish that first, Stallworth said after the Steelers win over the Falcons, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Once we got that going, it gave Terry [Bradshaw] a chance to pick the spots to throw and he was right on the mark, as usual.”
As for Bradshaw’s play against the Falcons in that 1978 game in Pittsburgh, he completed 13 of his 18 total pass attempts for 231 yards with the one touchdown pass to Stallworth. He also rushed for another touchdown in the second quarter of that game. The Steelers offense compiled 181 rushing yards against the Falcons defense on 44 total attempts in that win.
Below is a video of the Bradshaw pass to Stallworth in addition to a video of the entire Steelers 1978 win over the Falcons in Pittsburgh.