On the first play Pittsburgh’s Dave Brown fumbles a Dallas punt but the Steelers avoid disaster by recovering it on their own 17. On the very next heartbreaking play that most Steelers fans don’t remember Bradshaw scrambles around in the pocket to the left, to the right and while looking like he is going to run he throws to a wide open Franco Harris who got behind the Dallas defense for an 83 yard touchdown. Not a Cowboy in sight. However Harris’ right foot barely touched the out-of-bounds line at the 43 for a gain of only 26 yards. Bradshaw then overthrows an open John Stallworth on a deep post pattern at the 15 in what would have been a certain touchdown. The Steelers blow two big opportunities and have to punt.
Dallas attempts a double reverse flea flicker pass but it is blown up by the Steelers rush. Golden Richards and Mel Blount get into a skirmish. L.C. Greenwood sacks Staubach. Reggie Harrison blocks a Mitch Hoopes punt for a Steelers safety to close within one point 10-9. Mike Collier returns the free kick 25 yards to the Dallas 45. On a 4th and 1 from the Dallas 19 Noll changes his mind to go for it and sends in Gerela despite his 2 earlier misses from the same distances. This time the kick is true and the Steelers take their first lead of the day 12-10 with 8:54 left.
Preston Pearson fumbles the kickoff but Dallas recovered at the 15 averting disaster but only momentarily. Mike
Wagner steps in front of Drew Pearson and returns the Staubach pass 21 yards to the Dallas 6. It was the same play Pearson scored on in the first quarter. According to NFL Films, Staubach later said:
“It was our bread and butter play all year. It was the first time it didn’t work.”
On 3rd and goal from the 1 yard line, Harris fumbled into the air in a pile of Dallas defenders but Harris, the only Steeler around, was able to recover it. A Gerela field goal of 19 yards extended Pittsburgh’s lead to15-10.
On Dallas next possession L.C Greenwood sacks Staubach and the Cowboys go 3 and out. After the whistle Golden Richards intentionally dives at the knees of Steelers safety Glen
Edwards and Edwards pins Richards head to the ground with his knees. Richards is injured and jaws with the Steelers defense as he walks off the field. Richards doesn’t return. Pittsburgh takes possession with over 4 minutes left. On a 3rd and 4 Tom Brookshier says:
“If you had to pivot on one play in this game, I would say this is a big one. A large play.”
Bradshaw delivers a 64 yard touchdown bomb to Lynn Swann. Bradshaw is knocked out on the play with a concussion. The Steelers team meets Swann in the end zone. CBS announcer To Brookshier comments:
“That has to be one of the greatest passes in Super Bowl history or NFL history!”
Gerela misses the extra point as he hooked a line drive to the left. 21-10 Pittsburgh.
With 3:02 left in the game and despite a Dwight White sack Dallas drives 80 yards in only 5 plays scoring on a Percy Howard 34 yard TD reception. 1:48 left Pittsburgh 21-17. Steelers offensive lineman Gerry Mullins recovers the onside kick but Pittsburgh can only burn 26 seconds off the clock before giving the ball back to Dallas on downs. Noll elected to run the ball on 4th and 9 from the Dallas 41 instead of punting fearing the Cowboys would block a Walden punt.
Dallas with 1:22 left and no time-outs, drives from their own 39 to the Pittsburgh 38. But on the reception Preston Pearson inexplicably turned inside rather than going out-of-bounds keeping the clock kept running. In shotgun formation the center snap is rolled back and skipped away from Staubach but he recovered the ball and got it away just as he took an enormous hit from Ernie Holmes. With 12 seconds left
Staubach throws 2 “Hail Mary” passes into the end zone. The first hits Dallas wide receiver Percy Howard on the shoulder pad. The second is intercepted by Glen Edwards who looks as he could return it for a touchdown but Edwards intentionally falls down at the 28 as the fans storm the field. CBS cameras catch Franco Harris punching a Steelers fan as he tries to leave the field amongst the swarm of people.