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Oilers End Steelers' Dominance

November 02, 1998|From Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — The Tennessee Oilers certainly had the right team on the field this week.

The Oilers made up for a decade of frustration at Three Rivers Stadium by beating Pittsburgh, 41-31, Sunday behind Steve McNair's three touchdown passes and Eddie George's 153 yards rushing.

One week after a special teams lapse led to a blocked field goal that ended a 23-20 loss to the Bears, the Oilers led, 41-15, until Steeler backup Mike Tomczak replaced Kordell Stewart and threw for two touchdowns and two two-point conversions in the final 10 1/2 minutes.

"Last week was an unfortunate ending to a game where we played very well," said Frank Wycheck, who caught a touchdown pass. "This week was going to be a statement game that we're for real. It's a great win to have in a tough place to play."

It was the Steelers' first regular-season loss in 11 home games and their first at home in the AFC Central since Cincinnati won, 27-9, on Oct. 19, 1995. The 41 points were the most against Pittsburgh by the Oilers--either Houston or Tennessee--since the series began in 1970.

The Oilers (4-4) had won only once in Pittsburgh since 1989 and winless since 1993.

But George, who had 54 yards in two games against the Steelers (5-3) last season, ran consistently at the injured-depleted right side of their defense.

Stewart was 23 for 32 for 230 yards, his first 200-yard game since the AFC championship game in January, but his three interceptions doomed Pittsburgh. Jerome Bettis gained only 26 yards in 11 carries in his worst game as a Steeler.

Stewart said it was his best game this season, but Coach Bill Cowher disagreed, saying, "I don't think you can throw three interceptions and say it was one of your better games."

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