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PRO FOOTBALL : Steelers Use an Old Script, Beat Seahawks : Pittsburgh Moves Into a Tie for the NFC Central Lead

December 07, 1987| From Times Wire Services

PITTSBURGH — Turning back the pages to their Super Bowl days, the Pittsburgh Steelers got a victory the old-fashioned way.

The Steelers used a punishing ground game and a strong defense to turn back the Seattle Seahawks, 13-9, Sunday and moved into a first-place tie with Houston and Cleveland in the AFC Central.

"It was really fun to play a game reminiscent of the old Steelers, the way we were running the ball," said center Mike Webster, who played in a club-record 201st game. "It was a very physical, low-scoring game and we ran the ball very well. It was fun for the linemen."

Taking a tip from the Raiders, who rushed for 335 yards in a 37-14 rout of Seattle Monday night, Pittsburgh (7-5) rushed for 209 yards--including 106 yards in 22 carries by Frank Pollard, who scored the winning touchdown on an 11-yard run in the final quarter.

The Steelers, who committed six turnovers in a 20-16 loss to New Orleans last week, didn't make any against Seattle, while the Seahawks had two costly second-half turnovers and botched an extra-point attempt. That meant Seattle had to go for a touchdown late in the game rather than a tying field goal.

"It was the kind of game we didn't want to have to throw the ball unless we had to," said Mark Malone, who has the worst passing efficiency rating of all NFL quarterbacks. "Frankie Pollard did a great job and so did the line. And we didn't make any mistakes, that was the big thing."

Seattle (7-5) lost its second game in seven days and fell 1 1/2 games behind Denver (8-3-1), which took the AFC West lead from San Diego (8-4).

"This was a game we had to win," Seattle's Curt Warner said. "I don't think we're out of it, but this hurts."

With Seattle leading, 9-6, and driving late in the third period, Paul Skansi fumbled after making a seven-yard reception at the Steelers' 19 and linebacker Bryan Hinkle recovered for Pittsburgh.

The Steelers then drove 81 yards in 14 plays to their only touchdown, with Pollard scoring on an 11-yard trap play up the middle on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Seattle's Dave Krieg has a pass intercepted on the Seahawks' next possession. Then, after Pittsburgh punted, the Seahawks drove to a first down at the Steelers' 32, but Krieg lost 12 yards when he fumbled while rolling out. On fourth and 17, he missed Daryl Turner in the end zone, allowing Pittsburgh to run out the clock.

Seattle's touchdown came on a 12-yard pass from Krieg to Steve Largent midway through the second quarter. Norm Anderson added a 33-yard field goal for Seattle and Gary Anderson kicked two, from 37 and 24 yards, for Pittsburgh.

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