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Breakfast with Benz

25 years after David Volek, recalling gut-wrenching 1990s Pittsburgh sports moments

| Thursday, May 17, 2018, 6:39 a.m.
The Steelers' Greg Lloyd sits on his helmet during the final minutes of the AFC Championship game against the San Diego Chargers in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Jan. 15, 1995. The Chargers won 17-13 and move on the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Keith B Srakocic)
The Steelers' Greg Lloyd sits on his helmet during the final minutes of the AFC Championship game against the San Diego Chargers in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Jan. 15, 1995. The Chargers won 17-13 and move on the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Keith B Srakocic)
Steelers fan Keith Morrison of Norwalk, Conn., sits alone in the empty stands of Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh Sunday, Jan. 15, 1995, perhaps pondering the Steelers 17-13 loss to the San Diego Chargers in the AFC Championship game. (AP Photo/Chris Gardner)
Steelers fan Keith Morrison of Norwalk, Conn., sits alone in the empty stands of Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh Sunday, Jan. 15, 1995, perhaps pondering the Steelers 17-13 loss to the San Diego Chargers in the AFC Championship game. (AP Photo/Chris Gardner)
Atlanta's Sid Bream lies on top of teammate Dave Justice at home plate as they celebrate Bream scoring the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning Oct.14, 1992. The Braves beat the Pirates 3-2 to claim the National League pennant. (AP Photo/Rusty Kennedy)
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Atlanta's Sid Bream lies on top of teammate Dave Justice at home plate as they celebrate Bream scoring the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning Oct.14, 1992. The Braves beat the Pirates 3-2 to claim the National League pennant. (AP Photo/Rusty Kennedy)

We have to get beyond these anniversaries!

I noticed this week that a lot of people were mentioning that Monday was the 25th anniversary of this .

"David" and "Volek." To this day, two words that still aren't allowed to be said on Pittsburgh airwaves without a bleep or hitting the dump button.

It's true. Look it up.

That goal eliminated the Penguins in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in 1993. The Islanders won that Game 7 in overtime. The Penguins' three-peat dreams died.

That failed three-peat effort was so much worse than the one Pittsburgh hockey fans just experienced.

Just last year, we all had to endure the silver anniversary of "When Sid Slid" from 1992.

Yeah, yeah. "If Bonds had just listened to Andy and moved over a little ..."

I remember.

Stupid umpire. Stupid missed strike on Damon Berryhill. Stupid Jose Lind error.

So — just to prepare you — you know what's coming up next in 2020, right? Get yourselves ready for Jan. 15 , kids!

Yup. The 25th anniversary of ... that.

The Steelers' infamous AFC Championship Game loss to the Chargers to end the 1994-95 season.

After finding the link to the whole game, I found myself down the rabbit hole rewatching practically the whole thing.

Why? Well, because I like pain I guess. My therapist and I working on it.

If you are a masochist like I am, go back and watch it. We all remember the basics. Dennis Gibson breaks up the game-winning pass. Stan Humphries hits Tony Martin for the bomb, beating Tim McKyer. Alfred Pupunu gets wide open for a 43-yard TD off play-action.

But there was so much I had forgotten — or better said, probably didn't realize at the time — that makes the whole thing more painful now.

• Gibson actually got burned three times in coverage in that game by John L. Williams, once for a score and then twice on a final drive. He even dropped a pick on second down during the game-ending sequence.

• Neil O'Donnell was really good before that last series. He was 32 for 54 for 349 yards and a touchdown. No sacks. No interceptions. He completed his first seven passes on the frantic comeback drive.

• Aside from the two touchdowns, Humphries had just nine completions for 79 yards.

• The 43-yard touchdown was Martin's only catch.

• The other corner, Deion Figures, also got torched for a deep bomb, but he committed pass interference to break it up at the 3-yard line. That led to a field goal after a monster defensive stand by the Steelers.

• The Steelers stunk in the red zone, settling for two field goals of 23 and 39 yards.

• McKyer didn't have a prayer on that coverage against Martin. Pittsburgh's three best coverage defensive backs — Rod Woodson, Darren Perry and Carnell Lake — were all sucked up playing the sticks on a third-and-14. Myron Bell was late coming over for help because he was all the way on the other side of the field.

• Ironically, the Chargers may not have even tried that deep shot if they hadn't been penalized for a false start moments before. Even more ironically, if that goes incomplete, San Diego may have been able to score and wind more clock anyway, since Chad Brown got flagged for a late hit on Humphries.

Gawd! I'm depressed all over again. Well, at least when we get beyond that one, we'll all be spared any more of this 25th anniversary agony.

Oh. Right. Never mind.

That'll be Jan. 28, 2021 if you are scoring at home.

The 90's hurt more than I remember upon further review.

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