NFL – Throwback Thursday: Joe Cool Burns The Bengals

12 Sep

It’s week 2 of the 2019 NFL regular season, and one of the games on the slate for the weekend is a matchup of the San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals. For this week’s Throwback Thursday feature, we’ll go back to a game played between these 2 teams on January 22, 1989 at what was then Miami’s Joe Robbie Stadium. It wasn’t just any other game, it was Super Bowl XXIII, and it was the second matchup of these teams in the big game in the decade. In an era when the Super Bowls were becoming one-sided affairs, this one bucked the trend. It took awhile for any drama to find it’s way into the game, however, as the teams spent the first two and a half quarters trading field goals, with the Bengals’ Jim Breech and the Niners’ Mike Cofer each kicking a pair of three pointers. However, after Cofer’s second one tied the game at 6-6, the logjam was broken in a hurry when Cinci’s Stanford Jennings returned the ensuing kickoff 93 yards for a go-ahead touchdown. The fourth quarter, as usual, belonged to San Francisco QB Joe Montana. He tied the game by leading a drive that culminated in a 14 yard scoring pass to the game’s eventual MVP, Jerry Rice. Rice earned that honor by hauling in 11 of Montana’s passes for 215 yards and the TD.


Jerry Rice torches the Bengals’ secondary

After Breech kicked another field goal to put the Bengals back in front 16-13, Montana led a game-winning drive that is legendary for how it began. There were only 3 minutes left in the game, a penalty pushed his team back to the 8 yard line to start the drive, and this is how his center, Randy Cross, described what happened next. As the 49er players stood in their huddle waiting for play to resume during a commercial, did their quarterback look nervous or did he ponder what plays would need to be called to drive down the field and at least tie the game? No, instead, “Joe Cool”, as he was known to his teammates, surveyed the crowd and said “Hey, isn’t that John Candy?” Sure enough, the Canadian comedian was in the crowd, but that reaction assured Cross and the rest of the offense that Montana was in control and surely was poised to do something special. Of course, he did. He didn’t just tie the game, he led another long drive featuring a lot of throws to Rice,  then ended it with a 10 yard touchdown pass to the team’s other wide receiver, John Taylor, with just 34 seconds left on the clock. It was Taylor’s only reception of the game, giving the Niners a 20-16 victory. It was San Francisco’s third Super Bowl title of the four Montana would win.


John Candy


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