Saturday the Niners added another play and game to their all-time legacy, a 36-32 win over the Saints to move onto the NFC Title game. Today we have a little fun, as we go back in time to throw out the “Top 10 Greatest Playoff Moments in 49ers Playoff History.”
Be sure to leave a comment with your own list, and we will reprint some of the better ones that we get as we move along!
10. Brodie’s Sneak – 12/28/70 – QB John Brodie clinched a playoff win in 1970 in Minnesota, scoring on a 1-yard run with under two minutes left to top the Vikings on the road. The TD was the difference as the 49ers won the contest 17-14 in the divisional playoff round. They fell to the Cowboys the following week 17-10.
9. Solomon Saves the Day – 12/31/83 – Playing against the game Lions, the Niners fell into a hole, and it took a QB Joe Montana comeback to overcome Detroit. The comeback concluded with Montana hitting wide receiver Freddie Solomon on a game-winning 14-yard touchdown pass with 2:00 left to put the 49ers ahead 24-23. The game ended when a potential game-winning FG attempt by Lions kicker Eddie Murray missed.
8. Tyler’s Trot – 1/6/85 – The Niners had lost just one game, but were in a dogfight with the Bears in a defensive struggle in the NFC Title game. The 49ers led 6-0, but finally put a drive together in the 3rd quarter as Wendell Tyler galloped for a 9-yard touchdown to put the team up 13-0. They went on to win 23-0, as the defense held the Bears to 186 total yards.
7. Rice Lifts the Niners – 1/8/89 – Going just 10-6, the Niners went to Chicago to play the Bears in the NFC Title game. It was a windy, cold day, and the Niners played on fire. Joe Montana went long to Jerry Rice for a 61-yard touchdown pass play that started the scoring, and the Niners never looked back, going on for a 28-3 romp and a trip to play the Bengals in XXIII.
6. Garcia’s Crazy Comeback 1/5/03 – The 49ers trailed by as many as 24 in the NFC Wild Card game to the Giants, but put on a crazy rally to take a 39-38 lead late thanks to Jeff Garcia. The game will always be remembered for the end, as a poor snap by the Giants Trey Junkin ended with a long pass on a field goal attempt that many felt should have been pass interference. If Junkin gets the snap down, the G-Men likely win 41-39.
5. Goal Line Stand – 1/24/82 – To this day the best goal line stand in Super Bowl history, the 49ers led 20-0, but the Bengals were trying to get back into the game. The defense made a huge couple of plays at the goal line, turning back Cincinnati to save the win. Linebacker Dan Bunz and defensive lineman Archie Reese both made key tackles as the team celebrated their first Super Bowl title.
4. Owens Redemption – 1/3/99 – It had been a tough day for Terrell Owens, who had dropped a number of Steve Young passes, but with 3 seconds left, he was finally up to the task. It was the most memorable pass and catch between Young and Owens, as the Hall of Fame QB threw a 25-yard scoring pass to Owens, who held on, to beat the Packers 30-27. The play went down as the Catch II.
3. Vernon’s Miracle – 1/14/12 – Alex Smith and the Niners offense put together a huge drive in the closing seconds, as the QB hit TE Vernon Davis for some big plays, and then with 9 seconds left, the team went for broke with a pass to Davis for the game-winner in the wild 36-32 playoff win over the Saints. Davis, like Ownes 13 years earlier, cried after the play.
2. Montana to Taylor – 1/22/89 – With the season on the line, Joe Montana and the team put a drive together trailing 16-13 to the Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII. With some big plays to Jerry Rice, it put the Niners in position to win the game. Finally, with just a half minute left, Montana threw a perfect pass to John Taylor from 10 yards out to save the day in Bill Walsh’s last game as coach to send him home a winner 20-16.
1. The Catch – 1/10/82 – A play that started a dynasty, quarterback Joe Montana hit a 6-yard TD pass to a jumping Dwight Clark to land the Niners in the Super Bowl, as they topped “America’s Team” the Dallas Cowboys. The play has been replayed maybe more than any in NFL history, and it will forever go down as the biggest play in 49ers history, and one that started the Niners run of Super Bowls.