Editor's Note 11:10am - First off, I didn't even realize TO wrote a book (or at least had a ghost-writer write a book for him). Second, some great details that make this worth moving up to the front page. If you don't remember this game, maybe you have details of your own favorite game.
The Cincinnati Bengals against the San Francisco 49ers - Things are looking brighter for the Niners, QB Steve Young and RB William Floyd are both back after having to miss numerous games because of injuries. But soon in the first quarter, the Bengals take the lead making the score 7 to 0. The Niners # 2 wide receiver J.J. Stokes had broken his wrist that week, so rookie Terrell Owens was starting his first game. Niners Steve Young completed a first pass to T.O. only to have the Bengals safety strip the ball from his hands for a fumble. Five plays later, Cincinnati scores again, now it’s 14-0. Then they score again and it’s 21-0. And it looks like the game is over. Steve Young was hit hard in a sack in the second quarter and taken out of the game injured. Backup QB Elvis Grbac almost immediately hurts his shoulder and a limping Steve Young is forced to go back into the game.
The Niners finally score a couple in the second half, but time looks like it’s running out. T.O. described what happened next in his book “Catch This!” -
“In the third quarter, Young took me aside and told me that I had to get open, because with JJ out of the game, the Bengals secondary was putting all their attention on Jerry Rice. Nobody was going to be worried about me - until I made them aware of my presence on the field. If the Bengals could take Rice out of the game through double or triple coverage, we were in deep trouble, but if I could shake free, Steve wanted to get me the ball. “If you don’t step up now,” he said, “it’s going to hurt the team.”
Early in the fourth quarter, with the Niners trailing by seven, Young threw me a deep pass, but it was too far, and I couldn’t get under it. I was disappointed all over again but when I got back to the huddle, Steve said he wanted to try the play once more.”
SCORE: Bengals 21, 49ers 14 - TIME: 2 minutes and 8 seconds are left on the clock
T.O. - “When I saw the defender playing me on my outside shoulder, I adjusted and dipped to the inside, even though that wasn’t the route I was supposed to run. Steve saw me, made his own adjustment, and threw to where I was going. The ball was coming down toward me, right into my hands. I raised my fingers, blocked out everything else, and used all my concentration to focus on catching it first - and then preparing to get hit. But the hit didn’t come, and I kept running and running all the way into the end zone, a 45-yard reception and touchdown…”
Young’s 45-yard touchdown pass to T.O. tied the game, 21-21. But now the Bengals had the ball again.
When Dedrick Dodge intercepted a Bengals pass with the clock at 1:40, the magic that was San Francisco was finally starting to fill the hearts of all the fans.
FAVORITE GREATEST MOMENT IN SPORTS: The clock is at 1:08, and Steve Young limps and hobbles as fast as he can for 15 yards to make it into the end zone and wins the game. (On a side note: this was also with the help a block rookie WR Terrell Owens throws against Bengals CB Jimmy Spencer - it made you love your team whenever you saw Rice or T.O. throwing blocks for their scrambling QB).
Quotes from after the game -
“I know what it feels like to be a 49er now.” - Terrell Owens
“I’m as proud of (the players) as maybe since I’ve been here.” - Coach George Seifert
“To me, Terrell Owens is the kind of kid who, if you say something he doesn’t like, he’ll punch you in the face. He’s got a nastiness to him like John Taylor, and I like it.” - Steve Young
Niners 28, Bengals 21