So we often hear "How bout them Cowboys?!" Well I say to you, "How bout them Niners?!" The 49ers overcame a season high 6 turnovers to bring down the Dallas Cowboys dynasty. In one of the most thrilling finishes in NFL history, Joe Montana completed an amazing throw deep in the end zone, hauled in by Dwight Clark in what very well could go down as the biggest catch in 49ers history. With 51 seconds left, The Catch, as it will surely be called from this day forward, advanced the 49ers to their first ever Super Bowl, in Pontiac, Michigan, to face the AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals.
The 49ers very nearly blew this one thanks to three fumbles and three interceptions. Every time the 49ers seemed ready to put their foot down in this game, they turned the ball over to the Cowboys. While everybody will remember this game for Montana-to-Clark, it was the defense that provided the offense with a chance to win it. Often times when a defense gives up 27 points it's considered a disappointing day. Given all the turnovers today, Dallas could very well have put up 35 or 40 points. Fortunately, the 49ers defense made sure that didn't happen. They were fortunate to avoid Tony Dorsett for much of the first quarter, but Dorsett returned and Danny White did what he could to guide his team. Unfortunately, it was not enoguh.
However, as I said, it will be the offense that is remembered twenty years from now. Dwight Clark managed the game-winning touchdown, but it was simply a fitting cap to a brilliant performance by the third year pro. Clark finished with 120 yards and 2 touchdowns and Dallas had no answer on defense for him. The last touchdown will be remembered, but Clark's first touchdown was on almost as impressive play. Montana scrambled in the pocket, evaded a sack and managed to throw the ball to a wide open Clark in the end zone. Clark had used a sweet double-move to beat his defender for the score. The 49ers had plenty of contributors on offense (Freddie Solomon comes to mind), but it was Montana and Clark that made the 49ers offense go today.
Prior to today's game, the 49ers were 0-3 against the Cowboys in the playoffs. This certainly was a fun, if nerve-wracking way to get the proverbial monkey off their back. Seeing the 49ers young owner Eddie DeBartolo smoking a cigarette on the sidelines in the final two minutes definitely seemed fitting. Fortunately, third year quarterback Joe Montana was able to shake off his many struggles that day to lead the game-winning drive. He put up great yardage and TD numbers, but it seemed like he was determined to give the Cowboys every chance to win this game. His interceptions weren't exactly awful plays as they generally featured him going deep, only to have his wide receiver blanketed by a defender. Nonetheless, I was quite impressed with Montana's ability to shake it off and step up when needed. We certainly seem to have a special QB. Given that he's only 25, the future is indeed bright.
And now it's time to pack up for Michigan. The 49ers make their first trip to the Super Bowl and are oh so close to the promised land of championship glory. We'll have plenty of coverage over the next two weeks as the 49ers prepare for Super Bowl XVI. In the mean time....GO NINERS!