OCT. 25, 1970: Raiders 31, Steelers 14 at Oakland Coliseum
George Blanda, then a 43-year-old kicker and backup quarterback, took over for starting quarterback Daryle Lamonica and threw three touchdown passes to lead the Raiders to a victory over the stunned Steelers.
The following is a copy from the Oakland Tribune archives from 1970 when George Blanda played miracle worker for the Oakland Raiders. The headline is also the one that appeared in print.
AN OLD SURPRISE FOR STEELERS
Daryle Lamonica loused up the Pittsburgh Steelers, he didn't play.
"We spent a week preparing for Lamonica and we saw him for less than a quarter," moaned middle linebacker Chuck Allen after the Steelers had taken a 31-14 pasting from the Oakland Raiders yesterday.
George Blanda is the guy who did in the Pittsburgh defense. The Steelers had allowed a single game high of 19 points until yesterday.
The 43-year-old veteran was throwing touchdown passes when most of the Pittsburgh players, particularly those in the secondary, still were on a liquid diet. He flipped three more yesterday to turn a 7-7 game into a rout.
"Blanda defiantly threw us off," added Allen, Pittsburgh's most experienced and a veteran of AFL football. "He's been around long enough (21 years) to know what to do and we just didn't play our normal game on defense."
Allen also said he mixed up the secondary coverage, switching from zones to man-to-man.
"But we got burned a couple of times on blitzes, Blanda did it to us," he conceded.
Safety Ocie Austin, from Utah State via Berkeley, agreed his side got a new look from the Old Man.
"We didn't see any film footage of Blanda," he explained. "And we young guys didn't know what to expect from him. He read us well and got the ball to the open man. I think we might have had a better game against Lamonica. At least, we know his tendencies."
Austin, however, claimed Blanda's first touchdown pass, a 44-yarder to Warren Wells was illegal.
"Wells shoved off on our corner, Mel Blount. It was offensive pass interference. Blount was playing the interception and Wells pushed him out of the way," he said.
The beef was legitimate. Wells admitted he used his hands on Blount.
"Yep, I nudged him a little," said Wells. "I was hoping the officials didn't see it."
Mean Joe Greene, a menace to the Raiders in a September exhibition in Oakland, criticized himself and credited Blanda for Pittsburgh's poor showing.
"I had a bad game but the Raiders were a much better team than the one we played six weeks ago. Blanda's a smart quarterback. He gets rid of the ball real quick and he knows what to call. He picked us apart."
The Steelers also complained that penalties hurt them. They were assessed 168 yards and once faced a fourth-and-64 play at their own nine-yard line. They also had a touchdown nullified by an illegal procedure call.
But Oakland was also penalized and also had a six-pointer called back because of holding.
Coach Chuck Noll, however, was more concerned with the yards marked off against his side.
"Those penalties killed us," he said. "We lost momentum when our touchdown was called back. After that, the Raiders got ahead and maintained ball possession."
Terry Bradshaw, who threw to Dennis Hughes for one score and had a 67-yarder to John Fuqua cancelled out, had hoped to beat Oakland with a running game.
"We wanted to run and we did run early in the game," said the rookie quarterback. "But after we fell behind, our game plan got away from us and we had to switch to passing. I threw four interceptions what do you say? It was very poor reading on my part."