The excitement and drama of the NFL Draft (the most exciting event consisting of a person standing at a podium known to man) is now behind us and at long last, the first round of San Francisco 49ers Ultimate Showdown Tournament has begun!
Game One saw the top-seeded 1984 49ers overcome a spirited performance by the eight-seed 1992 49ers to move on to the second round with a 29-13 victory.
Line Score – 1992 49ers 13, 1984 49ers 29
Earl Cooper 14 Yd TD catch from Joe Montana (Wersching kick)
Mike Cofer 37 Yd FG
Roger Craig 11 Yd TD rush (Wersching kick)
Jerry Rice 12 Yd TD catch from Steve Young (Cofer kick)
Mike Cofer 26 Yd FG
Ray Wersching 31 Yd FG
Fred Dean safety on sack of Steve Young
Freddie Solomon 37 Yd TD catch from Joe Montana (Wersching kick)
Ray Wersching 21 yd FG
The game was a battle from the outset, as both teams attempted to establish themselves offensively.
The 1984 squad opened the scoring on their second possession as Joe Montana hit running back Earl Cooper on a delayed swing pass and he rumbled 14 yards to the right pylon for the score.
The touchdown capped a 76-yard drive in which the 1984 team seamlessly blended runs and short passes, including a 12-yard designed quarterback run by Joe Montana. Ray Wersching’s point after made the score 7-0 in favor of the 1984 49ers at 5:23 of the first quarter.
The 1992 49ers would respond two drives later (after trading punts with the 1984 squad). Steve Young hit Brent Jones on a quick out route and the all-pro tight end slipped a tackle and ran 27 yards, setting the team up with a first down just outside the opposing red zone at the 30-yard line.
Rookie RB Ricky Watters failed to pickup a blitzing Fred "Warrior" Dean on first down, resulting in a sack on QB Steve Young and a nine-yard loss. An ensuing pass to wide receiver John Taylor set the 49ers up with third-and-short yardage situation. A power run by fullback Tom Rathman was stuffed by the 1984 defensive front, forcing the 1992 team to settle for a 37-yard Mike Cofer field goal at 9:52.
Derrick Harmon returned a short kick from Mike Cofer 27 yards across the 40 on the ensuing kickoff, setting the 1984 49ers up on the 43-yard line. However, the 1992 defense stood tall forcing the 1984 team to go three-and-out and punt the ball away from midfield.
Following a touchback, the 1992 team started off from their own 20-yard line hoping to take the lead. But three plays later, free safety Dwight Hicks stepped in front of a ball intended for Jerry Rice, intercepting it at the 42 and returning it to the 11-yard line.
The 1984 49ers would capitalize immediately, as RB Roger Craig broke free on a run off left tackle and weaved his way into the end zone. Ray Wersching’s point after made it 14-3 in favor of the 1984 team at 14:04 into the first quarter.
Play tightened up as the second quarter began. Neither team was successful in establishing offensive momentum until Steve Young turned a broken play into a 46-yard scramble, setting the 1992 squad up at the opposing 28-yard line.
Two plays later, Young hit Jerry Rice on a slant play over the middle in the end zone. Despite a fierce hit from strong safety Ronnie Lott, Rice hung on to the ball for a 12- yard touchdown reception. The Cofer point after drew the 1992 team within a touchdown at 14-10 with 5:18 to play before the half.
The ensuing 1984 drive bogged down short of midfield and the 1992 team regained possession and began driving to take the lead before halftime.
A well-executed drive from offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan brought the team to opposing 14-yard line before linebacker Keena Turner tipped a pass intended for Brent Jones into the air and intercepted it to end the drive.
The 1984 team ran out the clock and took a 14-10 lead to the locker room.
The second half opened with the 1992 team receiving the kickoff. A creative offensive drive, highlighted by a 27-yard gain on an end-around to Jerry Rice, gave the 1992 49ers a scoring opportunity in the opposing red zone.
1984 defensive coordinator George Seifert (serving also as head coach of the 1992 squad, but that’s OK, remember this is “Family Guy” time travel rules where interactions with previous versions of yourself are possible) had learned from the earlier Steve Young scramble, however, and was determined not to let Young beat his defense again with his legs.
After a dropped pass and short run set up third-and-eight, Seifert used LB Dan Bunz to spy Young while bringing pressure from the right side. With pressure from defensive end Dwaine Board and nose tackle Manu Tuiasosopo and containment from Bunz, Young was forced to throw early on third down. He overthrew Jerry Rice in the end zone. The 1992 team settled for a 26-yard field goal, drawing within one point of their opponents at 14-13.
The 1984 49ers responded on the next drive, restoring the four-point margin with a 31-yard Wersching field goal.
After trading possessions with the 1992 team, the 1984 team drove deep down the field and looked to be in position to take back a two-score lead. However, 1992 cornerback Eric Davis had other plans, beating WR Renaldo Nehemiah on a cut and picking off Montana. TE Russ Francis was in the area and was able to bring down Davis before much of a return, setting the 1992 team up deep in their own territory at the 7-yard line.
A short gain by Ricky Watters on first down emboldened Shanahan to attempt a risky play-action pass call on second down. A blitzing Fred Dean blew past Watters a second time and sacked Steve Young in the end zone for a safety. This gave the 1984 team a 19-13 lead at 10:37 of the third quarter.
Defense reigned supreme for the remainder of the quarter, leaving just six points between the two teams going into the final quarter of play.
The 1984 squad finally broke through and gained some separation midway through the quarter as Montana capped a grinding drive with a beautiful pass to WR Freddie Solomon for a 37-yard touchdown on third-and-12.
The play was designed to merely pick up the first down, but Solomon slipped the tackle of CB Don Griffin and beat the remaining defenders to the end zone. Wersching’s point after put the 1984 team up 13, 26-13 with 8:02 to play.
The 1992 49ers began the next drive from the 19-yard line, knowing they had to score twice. After a drive highlighted by a 17-yard reception from John Taylor and 22-yard run by Amp Lee, the 1992 team sat with a first-and-10 on the opposing 25-yard line.
The 1992 49ers attempted an off-tackle run to the left with Watters on first down. DE Lawrence Pillers partially slipped the block of tackle Steve Wallace and got a hand on the ball as Watters ran by, jarring it loose. Dan Bunz won the race to the loose ball, diving on it at the 22-yard line just before it bounced out of bounds.
The 1984 team wanted to run down the clock, but when two rushing attempts from Roger Craig netted a combined 3 yards, they tried to go to the air to pick up a fresh set of downs.
A short pass to WR Dwight Clark saw him slip a tackle from Eric Davis and break free down the sidelines. The 1992 defense was playing up and Clark ran 62 yards before he was caught from behind by Merton Hanks.
Three short yardage plays later, the 1984 49ers kicked a 21-yard field goal to cap the scoring at 29-13 with 2:16 remaining.
The 1984 defense held the 1992 offense to their own side of the field on their final drive before forcing a turnover on downs. The 1984 offense then ran out the clock to win 29-13.
A spirited effort by a drastically outmatched 1992 squad, but the 1984 49ers are on to the second round, awaiting the winner of Game Four, between the 1988 49ers and the 1990 49ers.
Look for more comments and analysis of this game on my blog at http://www.mtrmedia.com/49ers/ soon and look for Game Two coming next week!
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