NFL – Throwback Thursday: Evenly Matched Opponents

05 Jan

It’s the 18th and final week of the NFL’s regular season schedule for 2022, and we’ve pinpointed a matchup from the week’s slate of games to feature for the last TBT post of the year. The San Francisco 49ers meet the Arizona Cardinals, and our featured game between the 2 clubs was played on December 12, 2004. It was a battle of two teams that were very evenly matched, to say the least. They were both plowing through regrettable campaigns, with Arizona amassing 4 wins and San Francisco just a single victory going into this late-season contest. Earlier in the year, the 49ers got that lone win in overtime against these same Cardinals, 31-28. Larry Fitzgerald, a sure-fire future Hall of Famer, was in his rookie season with the Cardinals, while Emmitt Smith, who helped Dallas to 3 Super Bowl wins in the 1990s, was finishing up his long career the way a lot of aging former stars do, playing out the string with a losing club.

Sun Devil Stadium was the site of this contest, which San Francisco started out with a flash. Quarterback Ken Dorsey tossed a short 5 yard touchdown pass to Brandon Lloyd to open the scoring , then threw 19 yards to Cedrick Wilson for another score. Maurice Hicks, who would rush for 139 yards on 34 attempts for the day, scored from a yard out, and the visitors from the Bay Area had themselves a 21-0 lead. Arizona finally cracked the score sheet with a Neil Rackers field goal but Dorsey and Wilson more than matched that when they hooked up on a 27 yard strike to up the lead to 28-3. It looked like a blowout was starting to take shape, until Cardinal QB Josh McCown began to put together a pair of scoring drives, engineered with timely passes to his favorite target Anquan Boldin. Both drives ended with short TD runs from Obafemi Ayanbadejo, who only amassed 13 rushing yards in the game but made them count.

Emmitt Smith then reached down into the prime of his career to score on an 8 yard run, and when McCown ran in successfully on a 2 point try, the Cards found themselves down by only 28-25. Amazingly, they completed the comeback when Rackers hit a tying field goal with a minute left in regulation, sending the contest to overtime. The 49ers recovered in the extra period, the second time the 2 clubs had to go to overtime to settle a game that year. Todd Peterson’s 31 yard field goal won it by the same exact score as their first meeting, 31-28. The game was one of the few high points in the six year NFL career of Dorsey, a college legend at Miami of Florida who was a pro football journeyman. He has enjoyed a successful coaching career, and is currently the offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills.


49er legend QB Ken Dorsey



Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.