Marty Schottenheimer was ‘the gleam’ of hope that all Cleveland Browns fans needed in the 1980s.
Marty Schottenheimer raised the standard and turned the Cleveland Browns back into contenders, something the Cleveland franchise had not been since the 1960s. With the news of his passing, we celebrate Schottenheimer’s three greatest games during his time as head coach of the Cleveland Browns.
Game No. 3: Browns vs Steelers, November 23rd, 1986
The Cleveland Browns welcomed the Pittsburgh Steelers to Municipal Stadium for their second matchup of the 1986 season. In their previous meeting, the Browns came from behind and won the game on a fourth-quarter touchdown by Earnest Byner to top the Steelers 27-24. Entering the second meeting, the Steelers had won three of their previous four games, and the Browns were tied for the AFC Central lead at 7-4 with the Cincinnati Bengals.
The two teams picked up just where they left off in Week 5 with Pittsburgh landing the first blow, with a one-yard rushing touchdown by Walter Abercrombie. The Browns would answer with a pair of short-yardage rushing touchdowns of their own in the second quarter, by Curtis Dickey and Kevin Mack. On the very next possession, Abercrombie struck again for the Steelers taking an outside pitch and ripping off a 38-yard scamper that ended in the endzone.
With the game tied, the Browns turned to their passing game late in the second quarter and Bernie Kosar hit Ozzie Newsome for a 20-yard touchdown. Despite the ensuing 58-yard kickoff return by Lupe Sanchez, the Browns were able to take a 21-14 lead into halftime after a missed field goal by Gary Anderson.
The Browns’ offense sputtered to start the third quarter and the Steelers took full advantage of it. Steelers’ quarterback Mark Malone plunged in the endzone from one-yard out to tie the game. With the third quarter winding down the Browns put together a drive, and Curtis Dickey scored his second touchdown of the afternoon.
The fourth quarter saw Malone pick up where he left off, as he scored yet another one-yard touchdown run to even up the affair. The Browns mustered up a field goal as a rebuttal to give them a three-point lead with less than two minutes remaining. However, with seven seconds remaining, Gary Anderson kicked a 40-yard field goal to force the game into overtime.
Both teams traded fruitless possessions to start the overtime period. Cleveland’s first spark of life in the extra frame came from punt returner, and fan favorite, Gerald ‘Ice Cube’ McNeil. The 145-pound returner slipped a couple of Steelers and gained 18-yards to give the Browns excellent starting field position.
After a couple of solid runs by Kevin Mack, the Browns took to the air to end the affair. Kosar hit rookie Webster Slaughter for a 36-yard walk-off touchdown down the left sideline.
Final Score: Browns 37 Steelers 31 (OT)