5. First Touchdown Catch Propels Steelers to Victory
Steelers 49 vs. Bengals 31
November 19, 1995
In the 3rd Quarter of a must-win game against a Divisional foe in Week 12, the Steelers began to mount a ridiculous comeback with an Offensive explosion of sorts. Down 31-13, Pittsburgh needed points, and needed them fast. Thanks to a Bam Morris 1 Yard TD run, an Andre Hastings 15 Yard TD catch, and an Erric Pegram 2 Point Conversion, the Steelers had quickly moved to within striking distance of Cincinnati. Then Neil O’Donnell went for broke in the 4th Quarter to take the lead and looked to his Rookie jack-of-all-trades trough the air.
O’Donnell found Stewart in the seam on a deep pass, and Stewart broke about 3 Tackles on his way to the goal line. It was ridiculous because Stewart had zero experience at Wide Receiver prior to his Rookie season, yet here he was running routes like a champ and giving the Offense yet another added dimension. Pittsburgh took the lead for good at 35-31, and added two more Touchdowns by game’s end to make the score 49-31 and cap off an important comeback.
4. Kordell and His Toughness at Three Rivers
Steelers 21 vs. Raiders 20
December 3, 2000
This was one of Kordell’s finest moments because he fought off an injury to not only return to an important game, but return to an important game and play well. Stewart had the Steelers in the lead early 7-0, but was knocked out of the game for almost the rest of the Half due to a leg injury. His backup Kent Graham proceeded to throw a Pick-6, the Offense went stagnant, and the Steelers found themselves in a 17-7 hole at Half Time.
To his credit, Kordell showed how tough he really was that day when he came back into the game in the 3rd Quarter and sparked a Steelers comeback. Stewart led a 91 Yard drive, and converted what looked to be a disastrous play where he fumbled into a 1st Down when he smartly raced upfield for the yardage necessary. Kordell found Tight End Mark Bruener for a 6 Yard Touchdown and the score later to cap off the drive and pull the Steelers to within 3 points. Two possessions later, Stewart grabbed the Steelers the lead when he scored on a 17 Yard Touchdown run and made the score 21-20 at the beginning of the 4th Quarter! Pittsburgh held tough to win the game and Stewart finished with 2 Passing Touchdowns and 1 Rushing Touchdown and was thus responsible for all points scored.
3. Kordell’s Mad-Dash at Memorial Stadium
Steelers 42 vs. Ravens 34
October 5, 1997
Like the run in Carolina the year before, this play was all about Kordell and him beating the Defense with his legs. Kordell had already thrown for 3 Touchdowns in the game and rushed for one, but he most importantly had helped the Steelers erase 21-0 and 24-7 deficits in the 1st Half. Then late in the 4th Quarter, with the Steelers clinging to a 35-32 lead, a big play was needed to ice the game. Stewart knew what to do and rolled left and did not stop. Kordell raced 74 Yards for the clinching score to put the Steelers ahead 42-32, and finish a game where he would eventually account for 5 total Touchdowns. His 3 Interceptions from the game were less than stellar, but he more than made up for them with his numerous big plays that afternoon.
2. “Slash’s” Postseason Touchdown Grab
Steelers 20 vs. Colts 16
A.F.C. Championship Game
January, 14 1996
Down 6-3 to the underdog Colts at Three Rivers Stadium, and in need of a big play, Quarterback Neil O’Donnell and Offensive Coordinator Ron Erhardt dialed up a pass-play on 3rd and Goal late in the 1st Half to try and steal momentum. While Indianapolis had the play covered well, Kordell Stewart eventually got open and caught the 5 Yard pass for a score which put his team ahead 10-6 before they headed into the locker room.
Kudos needs to go to the Offensive Line for giving O’Donnell eons of time to roll out and find Kordell in the back of the end zone for the score. Did Kordell step out of bounds? He sure did. Was he shoved a bit? Maybe. But he still scored and it was a big play the team certainly needed because they won the game by 4 points. Had Stewart not scored a Touchdown, the game would have gone to Overtime, or Indianapolis could have won the game on a Field Goal on their final drive. It was a big play in a big situation, and the team and Stewart alike came through
1. Kordell Involved on all Five Touchdowns versus Denver
Steelers 35 vs. Broncos 24
December 7, 1997
This game by far featured my most favorite Kordell Stewart moments. Not only because “Slash” was responsible for all 5 of his team’s Touchdowns, but because it was against the Broncos, and it was during the time in my childhood when I lived in Denver and my Mom and I were surrounded by the arrogant denizens of Broncos fans everywhere we went.
Stewart dug his team out of a 21-7 hole, and fired all 3 of his Touchdown passes to Yancey Thigpen (6 Catches for 175 Yards) to tie the game with Denver at 21 at Half Time. Denver took a 24-21 lead in the 3rd Quarter, but Stewart and the Offense struck back, and Kordell scored on a 4 Yard Touchdown run to give the Steelers their first lead of the game at 28-24. Like he did a couple of months before in Baltimore, Stewart iced the game himself as he scooted up the middle for a 9 Yard Touchdown run to put Pittsburgh ahead 35-24!
At 10 years old, Kordell was my hero that day. While I understand now that football is a team game, it seemed to me like Kordell beat the Broncos by himself because he just made important “splash play” after important “splash play.” And as a young Steelers fan, stuck in Denver, and with an already immense disdain for the Broncos, this game will always hold a special place in my memory bank, and a tip of the cap will always go to Kordell for his efforts that day.
So there you have it readers. Now it is time for you to share. Do you have any positive thoughts or memories about Kordell or a specific performance of his during his career? If so, what are they? Don’t be shy, and share them in the “Comments” section.
Statistics Courtesy of http://www.pro-football-reference.com/