|Friday, October 18, 2002|
Dec. 11, 1989: 49ers 30, Rams 27
By James Weiner
ABC Sports Online
With 3:30 left before halftime in Anaheim on Monday, Dec. 11,
1989, the 49ers were wondering if the Rams had their number.
The 49ers had lost the last two games to the Rams, both at
Candlestick, and were trailing this one 17-3 with the Rams
threatening to extend the lead.
The Rams' drive stalled at the 49ers
4-yard-line, and Mike Lansford lined
up for a 21-yard field goal. The kick
was never attempted. Instead, holder
Pete Holohan took the snap and ran
but was tackled inches short of the
end zone. The stop opened the door
for one of great individual
performances in Monday Night
On a team that boasted three of the
greatest offensive weapons ever to
play the game -- Joe Montana, Jerry
Rice and Roger Craig -- it was the
49ers' second receiver, John Taylor,
who almost single-handedly turned
the game around as well as the karma of the two franchises.
With the 49ers pinned back to their own 8, Rams cornerback
Clifford Hicks attempted to jam Taylor at the line of scrimmage.
Instead, Hicks fell. Montana immediately threw to the open
Taylor, who then outran safety Vince Newsome down the
sideline. Jerry Gray, the Rams other cornerback, had the angle
on him, but Taylor managed to weave his way into the end zone
behind the excellent blocking of Rice. The 92-yard touchdown
cut the Rams lead to 17-10.
The Rams rebounded in the second half. Jim Everett threw a
13-yard touchdown pass to Buford McGee and Mike Lansford
added a 22-yard field goal to boost the Rams' lead to 27-10 with
Montana responded by leading the 49ers on a six-play, 66-yard
drive, culminating with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wilson
to cut the lead to 10. Everett and the Rams marched right back
aided by a 36-yard pass interference penalty on 49ers defensive
back Don Griffin. But, at the San Francisco 4-yard line, Everett
fumbled the snap and 49ers linebacker Matt Millen recovered.
On the next play, Montana
threw short again to Taylor.
Taylor traversed across the
field, picking up blocks and
eluding tacklers along the
way, then sped 96 yards
down the opposite sideline
for a touchdown. Once
again it was Rice's block
that sprung Taylor loose.
After a missed extra point,
the 49ers had closed to
Rams return man Ron Brown fumbled the ensuing kickoff and
49ers backup fullback William Henderson recovered. Craig then
scored on a 2-yard run with 3:42 left to cap the comeback.
Taylor's final statistics: 11 catches, 286 yards and two
touchdowns. Montana's: 30-of-42 for 458 yards and three
"Taylor beat us, not Montana," the Rams' Gray told reporters
after the game. "One of those passes should have gone for five
yards and the other should have gone eight, and if they do, the
game is totally ours."
Taylor had played the role of hero before. The previous January
in Super Bowl XXIII against the Bengals, Taylor caught
Montana's game-winning 10-yard touchdown pass with 34
seconds left to give the 49ers a 20-16 victory.
"A lot of people think a good wide receiver such as Jerry is just
a good receiver," Taylor said after the
game. "But both of us just love to block, too ... I was just trying
to get the least punishment possible. I just caught the ball and I
was trying to go to daylight. I was fortunate to find it."
The win gave the 49ers the NFC West title, home-field
advantage throughout the playoffs and San Francisco then went on to crush the Denver Broncos 55-10 in Super Bowl XXIV.
Joe Montana and John Taylor celebrate after a score in Super Bowl XXIII. Months later, they were a part of a record-breaking Monday night.
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