It was a down-and-up week for the Baltimore Colts, who last January won the not-so-Super Bowl and have every expectation of repeating next January. Monday night, in the Cosell Bowl, they lost to the Minnesota Vikings 10-3 when, with 0:42 remaining, Johnny Unitas' fourth-down pass, which could have tied the score, grazed the goalpost crossbar and fell incomplete. Six days later the Colts walloped the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-21, but since the Miami Dolphins, their archrivals in the AFC East, beat the Los Angeles Rams, Baltimore remains in second place in the division, half a game back, setting up a home-and-home, boy-oh-boy series with Miami later in the season.
If the Colts are to beat the Dolphins they will need good games from Norm Bulaich (see cover), the second-year running back out of TCU. Before Sunday Bulaich (it rhymes with goulash) was the NFL's leading rusher with 503 yards in 77 carries and he scored the Colts' first touchdown against the Steelers. But on a slithery field and against a defense that was keying on him he ran for only six yards in nine attempts before being sidelined with a minor injury.
As it turned out, this was one game the Colts didn't need Big Boo. The Steelers concentrated on shutting off Baltimore's heralded running attack, so Earl Morrall proceeded to pass them dizzy.
"We took what they gave us," said Morrall, who had his best day of the season, completing 11 of 19 passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns. "They overplayed the run a little and it gave us the bomb."
Indeed, the Pittsburgh linebackers stayed so close to the line they were of little help against the pass. When Morrall called plays that isolated his wide receiver on a cornerback, he threw for huge gains. Three of the biggest were the touchdown passes of 19 and 49 yards to Willie Richardson and of 60 yards to Ray Perkins.
And the Colt defense was, as usual, superb, holding Pittsburgh to 26 yards rushing. Again the Steelers paid too much attention to one man—Bubba Smith—and as a result Billy Newsome, an end and tackle from Grambling, gave Terry Bradshaw a very bad time.
"My legs hurt all over," Bubba said after the game. "I kept getting it from the tight end and the tackle, but I don't mind about that. If they give me that much attention, we got other people going to get in on them."
Bulaich reinjured his left foot in the second quarter after a punt and a clipping penalty put the Colts on their own 11. "I was running a draw," he said. "They were looking for the draw all afternoon and I was trying to 'look' the linebacker off by looking out to the side. When I glanced back to take the hand-off, Mean Joe Greene and the ball got to me at the same time."
The ensuing fumble set up the first Steeler touchdown, but by then the Colts had established their superiority. Morrall's deep passes were stinging the Steeler defense and the only question remaining was how big the score would be.
"This was a good one," Bill Curry, the Colts' classy center, said afterward. "We proved to ourselves we can do it running or passing. We'll put it all together one day, and that's it."