by TJ Troup
TAKING FLIGHT: The 1952 Pittsburgh Steelers
Since the quarterback, and both halfbacks earned a berth in the pro bowl his only season with the Steelers (health issues ended his time in Pittsburgh) would be considered a success. Defensively the Steelers aligned in a 5-3-3, with man coverage. Out of necessity Pittsburgh would go to a 5-2-4 with a lead late in the game. Offensively the Steelers align in the standard double-closed end set with a full house backfield, yet also wing, slot, and flanker sets
PERSONNEL: Thirty five men take the field in 1952 (15 rookies make the team), with only one player at the age of 30 (Captain Elbie Nickel). Jack Butler is a strong run defender at
|Ernie Stautner. Colorization by John Turney|
Middle linebacker is handled by stumpy Darrell Hogan. A willing run defender, yet he is overpowered too many times during the year. He is at times deployed to the wide side of the field in a walk-off alignment leaving Dodrill isolated against three blockers. Though he is attacked in the passing game due to his height, he can make a key interception since he takes excellent angles to the ball.
Bill Walsh receives some All-pro recognition for his fine work at
WHAT THE STATS TELL US: From 1945 through 1951 only one out of every 34 passes thrown is a touchdown for Pittsburgh, while in 1952 one out of every 17 passes thrown is a touchdown. The Steeler ground game averages 123 yards a game rushing in the five wins, but just 83 in the seven losses. The Pittsburgh run defense allows 127 yards a game rushing in their five wins, but a chain moving 158 in the seven losses. The Steelers rank 10th in the key defensive passer rating with a mark of 62.2 (league average is 57.7), but more importantly; the Pittsburgh secondary allows a league worst 16.5 a completion. Pittsburgh recorded 15 sacks in their five victories, but only 9 in the seven losses.
GAME OF SIGNIFICANCE: Beginning the year with four losses, the black & gold clad Steelers have won five of their last seven; including impressive victories over the Giants and 49ers. The defending league champion Los Angeles Rams are the hottest team in the league with seven straight wins, and need a win today to tie the Lions for the conference title. The largest crowd to ever see Pittsburgh play (71,310) are on hand in the Coliseum. The table is set; now for the main course. Bob Waterfield is retiring and the home crowd responds boisterously
1st Quarter: Though both teams moved the ball, neither could find the end zone.
2nd Quarter: Fran Rogel's fumble is recovered by left defensive end Larry Brink to end a promising drive on the Ram five yard line. Norm Van Brocklin engineers a 95 yard drive to pay dirt in 10 plays. The highlights of the drive are completions in the right flat to Vitamin Smith for 22 yards, and Skeets Quinlan for 19 yards
3rd Quarter: Bob Waterfield misfires deep in
|Night Train Lane and Andy Robustelli of the LA Rams. Colorization by JMT|
SUMMATION: Joe Bach will return in 1953 with a young team on the rise on offense as for the first time in team history they have scored 300 points.