There was one big play in the game—one—and it wrapped things up for the Steelers. It came midway through the third quarter, after another replay of a scene that has become all too familiar to Pittsburgh fans.
Bradshaw seemed in trouble, having limped off the field on a stiff right leg at the end of the previous series. "I caught a knee or an elbow in the back of my knee," he said. "I didn't know what was wrong with it." He was bleeding from the mouth, thanks to a Henderson blitz, and his left hand was going numb from a blow he "couldn't quite remember." Mike Kruczek, the No. 2 quarterback, was warming up in a hurry, and as Dallas ran half a dozen plays from its own end, the Steeler trainers were toying with the idea of sending Bradshaw into the locker room for X rays on the arm.
"I felt sort of, well, goofy, like I was there, but I really wasn't. Like I was on something," Bradshaw said. "But by the time they punted, I was ready to get back out on the field."
"He was rubbing his arm, he was limping, and a little blood was coming from his mouth," Lynn Swann said. "But I wasn't worried. I only pay attention when he looks real bad."
"We don't panic anymore," said Left Tackle Jon Kolb. "Terry's been that way so often. He's a tough guy. Hey, in St. Louis they took him off on a stretcher, and then at halftime I saw them taping him up, getting him ready for the second half. We weren't worried today. I mean, I don't want to oversimplify this, but there are so many things to worry about out there."
In the huddle Bradshaw called 35-trap—Franco Harris carrying over the left side, with Kolb blocking down on Randy White, the tackle to his inside, and Right Guard Gerry Muffins coming around and trapping End Harvey Martin.
It hadn't been much of a day for Harris to that point. Ten carries for 30 yards, one pass caught for minus one yard. The Steelers' publicity department had been hard at work, chronicling the statistical milestones for Franco—fifth-leading rusher of all time, third man to rush for 8,000 yards in his first eight seasons, etc.—but the coaching staff had been gradually easing his workload on the field. Rocky Bleier had been coming in for him on third and long, and there had been stories written that Franco was on the downside of his career, that he had lost a step or two.
The 35-trap got him healthy again quick, at least for one afternoon. He broke it neatly, brushing by White, who was out of position, faking out Cliff Harris, the free safety, hurdling Strong Safety Randy Hughes, who was laid out on the ground, and he was home free—48 yards in all, and his second TD of the day.
"I'd like to say I made a key block on the play," Kolb said, "but I'd be lying. White pinched inside and took himself out of the play. Bob Breunig, the middle linebacker, was flying to the outside so fast that, well, he flew right by me. Mullins trapped Martin and I was left with no one to block. They didn't need me."
"No, I didn't block Martin," Mullins said. "Maybe he penetrated, or something, but he just wasn't there, so I turned upfield and got a small piece of D. D. Lewis [the outside linebacker], but by that time Franco was by me."