In the late 1980’s “Dave the Predictor” of the “Harris in the Morning” show on Washington’s WCXR offered “Office Pool Picks” every Friday morning. With the internet years away and the Steelers getting little national coverage, I listened intently to the picks, hoping to gleam a shred of insight into the Steelers fortunes for the coming Sunday.
Although I fondly remember “Dave the Predictor,” up until that point he had gone the entire 1989 season without picking the Steelers once.
And despite the fact that the Steelers were 7-7 and the Patriots were 4-10, "Dave the Predictor" still picked New England over Pittsburgh.
WCXR’s signal certainly did not reach from the Washington area to Pittsburgh, but perhaps a fair number of Pittsburghers shared in the skepticism, as only 26,594 people braved the -12 wind chill, making it the Steelers smallest crowd on record at Three Rivers Stadium.
Banner Day for the Steelers Offense
What a shame that so few turned out, because this was the first in a series of contests between the Steelers and Patriots that marked either important milestones or turning points for the men in Black and Gold (to read more about Steelers-Patriots history, click here.)
In this case, it was the the game where the Steelers offense, much maligned through out the NFL during 1989, came alive.
Tim Worley had his second 100 yard game and scored a touchdown. Merril Hoge was close behind, adding 63 yards, and two touchdowns. Louis Lipps added 58 more and another touchdown on a 58 yard reverse.
Bubby Brister only managed 165 yards passing that day on 16 attempts, but Brister made each pass count. Hitting Mike Mularkey twice four 40 yards, and rookies Derrick Hill once for 33 yards and Mark stock another time for 23 yards.
The Steelers defense relentlessly hammered the New England Patriots as Tim Johnson, David Little, and Aaron Jones each sacked Mark Wilson. Cornerbacks Dwayne Woodruff and rookie David Johnson each nabbed interceptions.
The Steelers in fact kept New England out of the end zone until giving up a garbage yard touchdown in the game’s final two minutes.
It was the Steelers best day offensively, and it was also the day that the team perked its record above .500 for the first time.
That was good, but they were still last in the AFC Central, as Bud Carson’s Cleveland Browns defeated the Minnesota Vikings to improve their record to 8-6-1. Cincinnati trounced the Houston Oilers 61-7, improving their record to 8-7, but the Oilers retained a 9-6 division lead.
Thanks for visiting. To read Steel Curtain Rising’s entire tribute to the 1989 Steelers, click here and scroll down.