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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
"The Catch" -- Montana to Clark beats Cowboys
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

Jan. 10, 1982

The game will forever be remembered for The Catch. But the pass is pretty impressive, too. And so is the drive.

Trailing the Dallas Cowboys 27-21 in the NFC championship game, the San Francisco 49ers take over on their own 11 with 4:54 left in the fourth quarter. Joe Montana adroitly moves the 49ers to the Dallas six, mixing five running plays with seven passes.

Chased by three Cowboys on third-and-three, a mobile Montana runs to his right. In the back of the end zone, his favorite target, Dwight Clark, runs in the same direction. Montana lofts the ball and Clark makes the leaping catch with 51 seconds left. Ray Wersching's extra point gives the 49ers a 28-27 victory.

"I was thinking of throwing the ball away, but I saw him come open and I figured if I could hang on another half-second ...," Montana says after the game. "We're instructed that if we throw that pass to make sure he's the only one who can catch it. Dwight's 6-4 and a lot of people don't know about his leaping ability. He can dunk a basketball."

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