The Bengals were not finished, however, and later stopped Kruczek on a fourth-and-one sneak almost at their goal line. In their last two games, the Bengals had miraculously pulled off last-second victories over Houston and Kansas City when Quarterback Ken Anderson connected on desperation passes to Isaac Curtis and Bruce Coslet. After the Bengals stopped the Steelers, Anderson was faced with a second-down-and-six call at his own six. He stepped back into the end zone and lofted a bomb to Curtis at midfield. The ball disappeared in the whirling snow, and when it reappeared Curtis caught it over his shoulder in perfect stride. On a clear day Curtis may have run forever. On this day, though, he was forced out of bounds.
With 1:29 remaining in the game, Anderson moved the Bengals to a first down on the Pittsburgh 24, and if he had been able to plant his feet, he might have presented the home folks with a winning touchdown. As Pittsburgh Defensive Back Mike Wagner said, "I couldn't even see Kenny from 25 yards back. I could see his form but nothing else. When the ball was in the air, I couldn't see it until it was halfway to the receiver." But Anderson kept slipping and falling, and his four passes were incomplete.
So for now, at least, the Steelers have weathered another storm, but the odds still are not altogether in their favor. Cincinnati has a one-game lead in the AFC Central, and the Steelers suddenly find themselves at the mercy of their old chums the Oakland Raiders, of all people. Pittsburgh finishes against Tampa Bay and Houston and seems assured of a 10-4 record. But that may be good enough for the playoffs only if Oakland beats the Bengals.
Well, at least it never snows in Oakland.