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But that was about it for Jones and the Colts. Mel Blount intercepted for the Steelers, and several passes and a couple of ground plays later (yes, ground plays) Franco Harris completed a 70-yard drive with a battering-ram run of four yards into the end zone.
The Colts fumbled and Gilliam took over again, throwing this time to Frenchy Fuqua. Fuqua recently got a $10,000 bonus—which he has probably spent by now on several gold lame capes—from the New York WFL Stars by signing a contract for 1976 although the Pittsburgh front office maintains that he is bound to the Steelers until 1977. He proved just as cute when Gilliam popped him with a short pass. The Frenchman juked, butted and squirted for 18 yards, and two plays later he ran for four yards through a bunch of people for the Steelers' fourth touchdown.
There were also a field goal and three extra points by Roy Gerela in there somewhere, but this was a game of arms and hands more than feet.
Seldom last year did a Steeler quarterback pass for as many yards in a whole game as Gilliam did last Sunday in the second quarter alone, when he completed nine of 11 for 151 yards.
Everyone knows how deep the Steelers are in quarterbacks. Behind Gilliam are last year's starter, Terry Bradshaw, who lost his assignment after Gilliam's outstanding exhibition season and says now that he wants to be traded, and last year's No. 2, Terry Hanratty, who played the fourth quarter against the Colts. Pittsburgh's depth in receivers and pass protectors is almost as impressive. Gilliam was able to find so many different targets that rookie John Stallworth, the Steelers' most impressive receiver during the exhibition season, caught only two passes and veteran Ron Shanklin, last year's team leader in receptions, had no receptions. The men who held the Baltimore rush away from Gilliam included Tackle Jon Kolb, who has been emerging as one of the best and strongest offensive linemen in the game; Center Ray Mansfield; Guard Sam Davis; Tackle Gordie Gravelle; Jim Clack, who switched from center to guard and bowled over one tackier so beautifully that Gilliam broke up in laughter; Gerry Mullins, who played both guard and tackle; and Mike Webster, who is that rare thing, a rookie who seems to be holding his own as an offensive guard. In the six exhibition games Steeler quarterbacks were sacked only three times.
So solid is the Steeler offensive front these days that Coach Chuck Noll felt free last week to trade away injured eight-year veteran Guard Bruce Van Dyke, who made the Pro Bowl last year and was described by a sad Steeler fan after the deal as "one of the well-likedest guys in town." Van Dyke, who got along with everyone in town but Noll, was best known for his work as a pulling guard, often in front of Franco Harris. The Steeler offense this year is clearly going to be geared not to the run but to the classic drop-back passing which Gilliam has been a wonder at since his college days.
Maybe "classic" isn't exactly the word. Gilliam often seems to be throwing off the wrong foot or with both of them in the air. He tends to hold the ball down low instead of up by his ear before he throws, but his delivery is so quick that he gets the ball off faster than most anybody anyway.
It is also not classic for a quarterback to smile and bounce around with both hands in the air after a successful play. But that too is Joe Gillie. So what.