49ers Ultimate Showdown: (No. 2) 1989 49ers 33, (No. 7) 1998 49ers 16

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
49ers Ultimate Showdown: (No. 2) 1989 49ers 33, (No. 7) 1998 49ers 16
George Rose/Getty Images

 

Game Two of the San Francisco 49ers Ultimate Showdown Tournament is in the books. In the only first-round matchup not to feature a team coached by Bill Walsh, the high-powered 1989 49ers took care of the last playoff squad of the dynasty era, the 1998 49ers, by the score of 33-16. It was also a matchup of two of the worst kickers in 49er history ever to play on playoff teams.  

Line Score – 1998 49ers 16, 1989 49ers 33

 

QTR 1

QTR 2

QTR 3

QTR 4

FINAL

1998

3

0

7

6

16

1989

7

9

10

7

33

 

Scoring Summary

QTR

Team

Event

1998

1989

1

1998

Wade Richey 42 Yd FG

3

0

 

1989

Brent Jones 14 Yd TD catch from Joe Montana (Cofer kick)

3

7

1989

Jerry Rice 43 Yd TD catch from Joe Montana (kick failed)

3

13

 

1989

Mike Cofer 35 Yd FG

3

16

3

1998

R.W. McQuarters 77 Yd punt return for TD (Richey kick)

10

16

 

1989

Roger Craig 8 Yd TD rush (Cofer kick)

10

23

 

1989

Mike Cofer 33 Yd FG

10

26

4

1998

Greg Clark 4 Yd TD catch from Steve Young (kick failed)

16

26

 

1989

Ronnie Lott 58 Yd interception return for TD (Cofer kick)

16

33

 

The game started well for the underdog 1998 49ers, as they received the opening kickoff and went on a drive into opposing territory. Steve Young hit Jerry Rice for a key 17-yard first down conversion on a third and 12 play setting the 1998 49ers up on the opposing 32-yardline.

The 1998 team went for the jugular on first down, with Steve Young finding wide receiver J.J. Stokes momentarily open in the end zone, but pressure from cornerback Darryl Pollard forced Stokes to short-arm the catch attempt and drop the potential touchdown. Two running plays failed to produce a new set of downs, leading to a 42-yard Wade Richey field goal to open the scoring with 13:35 remaining in the first quarter.

The teams traded punts on the next two possessions before the 1989 49ers would respond. Joe Montana worked his way through the 1998 defense, finding Jerry Rice (playing for both teams) with a 14-yard completion over the middle, and picking up 15 yards on a delayed short out route to fullback Tom Rathman.

The 1989 49ers found themselves with a red zone opportunity, first and 10 on the opposing 14-yardline. Joe Montana rolled to his right on first down and lofted a pass to the corner of the end zone, finding tight end Brent Jones for the score. Mike Cofer’s point after would give the 1989 team a 7-3 lead with 4:28 to play in the first quarter.

The 1998 team looked like they had something going on the ensuing possession, as they moved across mid-field and down inside the opposing 30-yardline. However, pressure from defensive end Kevin Fagan forced a rushed throw by Steve Young that was intercepted by CB Tim McKyer as time expired in the opening quarter with the score 7-3 in favor the 1989 team.

The second quarter saw the 1989 squad pad their lead. Joe Montana hit Jerry Rice for a 43-yard touchdown play with 10:23 to play before halftime. Rice made a brilliant move to evade CB Darnell Walker and come down with the reception, then evaded a would-be huge hit from strong safety Tim McDonald to break free down the sideline. Mike Cofer missed the point after attempt wide left, leaving the 1989 advantage at 13-3.

Defense would dominate most of the remainder of the half, highlighted by a fierce hit with 4:30 remaining by linebacker Charles Haley on running back Terry Kirby, forcing a fumble which was recovered by LB Matt Millen.

The play set the 1989 team up near mid-field with the chance to increase their lead before half time. They would make it into the red zone, but a blitz package by the 1998 team yielded a sack from DE Chris Doleman on Joe Montana, forcing a Mike Cofer 35-yard field goal with just 1:24 to play before the half.

The ensuing 1998 drive yielded no points and the teams went to half time with the score 16-3 in favor of the 1989 squad.

The second half began with glimmers of hope for a 1998 comeback. The 1989 team received the opening kickoff and drove to their own 46. Two plays later, CB Marques Pope read Joe Montana’s eyes perfectly and jumped a route on pass intended for WR John Taylor. He had his full momentum headed back up-field and would easily have ran the interception back for a touchdown untouched, but the ball bounced off his hands and fell harmlessly to the turf.

The 1998 team would hold their opponents to a punt, and a short kick from Barry Helton was taken at the 23-yardline by R.W. McQuarters. The former first-round pick followed his wall of blockers up the left sideline before making a strong cut back to the middle of the field and beating the punter for a clear path to the end zone. The 77-yard punt return and subsequent Wade Richey point after drew the 1998 team within a touchdown at 16-10 with 13:10 remaining in the third.

After a punt by each team, the 1989 squad took over at their own 32. The 1989 squad started with a screen pass to Roger Craig on first down. As he passed the line of scrimmage, LB Lee Woodall put a big hit on him, jarring the ball loose. LB Ken Norton Jr. scooped up the loose football and returned it to the 28, setting the 1998 49ers up with a glorious chance to take the lead.

They would pick up a first down in the red zone thanks to a 17-yard run by RB Garrison Hearst, but a sack on Steve Young by a blitzing Danny Stubbs led to a 26-yard field goal try by Wade Richey. 49er fans were certainly never off-base calling Richey “Wide Richey” in the late 1990s, and the kicker lived up the title on this try, pushing the attempt wide, and preserving the six-point 1989 lead.

The ensuing 1989 drive showed great balance moving 74 yards down field, culminating in an eight-yard touchdown run by Roger Craig. Mike Cofer recovered to make the extra point, giving the 1989 team a 23-10 lead with 6:23 remaining in the third quarter.

A quick three-and-out on the ensuing 1998 drive and another methodical drive by the 1989 offense later, Mike Cofer kicked a 33-yard field goal to make it 26-10 with 1:53 to play in the third.

The fourth quarter opened with a last gasp for the hopes of the 1998 squad. Steve Young drove the team down the field, connecting with WR Terrell Owens for 14 yards and Jerry Rice for gains of 12 and 17 yards. A red zone opportunity resulted in a four-yard touchdown pass to TE Greg Clark on a roll out option when LB Keena Turner slipped on the play.

Down just ten points, the 1998 squad would normally have attempted a two-point conversion; but given that the two-point conversion was not in the NFL rules in 1989, and the 1989 squad was the favored team, this option was not available. They probably wished it had been, as Wade Richey missed his second short kick of the game, bouncing the extra point try off the left upright, leaving the score at 26-16 and his 1998 team still two scores behind with 11:23 to play.

The 1998 defense stood tall on the ensuing drive and forced a punt, giving their offense another opportunity. That would end as quickly as it began, as SS Chet Brooks jumped a pass route intended Jerry Rice on the second play of the drive, returning possession to the 1989 team with 8:52 to play.

Scoring ceased for a while, as the 1989 team focused on the run and tried to run out the clock. The 1998 team got one final chance to draw within a score and try for an onside kick when they took possession at their own 27 just before the two minute warning.

The 1998 team picked up a first down at the 42 several plays later. But the 1989 defense would soon deliver the knock-out blow. LB Charles Haley blitzed off the edge, putting huge pressure on Steve Young. The resulting errant pass found its way into the hands of Ronnie Lott, who returned it 58 yards for the final touchdown. Mike Cofer’s point after made the score 33-16 with just 1:15 left to play.

The 1989 squad, owners of the record for the largest Super Bowl margin of victory and most points scored in a Super Bowl, are on to the second round to face either the 1981 team or the 1994 team.

Stay tuned for that game next week, and check out additional commentary on this game on my blog at http://www.mtrmedia.com/49ers/ in the next few days!

Load More Stories

Follow San Francisco 49ers from B/R on Facebook

Follow San Francisco 49ers from B/R on Facebook and get the latest updates straight to your newsfeed!

Out of Bounds

San Francisco 49ers

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.