George's second-half efforts can't save Titans
Posted: Monday February 07, 2000 01:28 PM
Heartbreaker: Tennessee's Eddie George is disheartened after the Titans came up just short in Super Bowl XXXIV. AP
ATLANTA (CNNSI.com) -- When Eddie George came alive, so did the Tennessee Titans.
The 1995 Heisman Trophy winner was a non-factor in the first half of the Super Bowl, carrying the ball only seven times and gaining just 18 yards.
But then came the third quarter, and George flashed the form that made him one of only four backs to gain 1,200 yards or more in each of his first four NFL seasons.
He helped the Titans come back from a 16-0 deficit, but he couldn't stop the St. Louis Rams from winning the Super Bowl 23-16.
"It was one hell of a ride," he said. "It will always be special to me. We just didn't make enough plays."
First, he capped a 12-play drive with a 1-yard TD run with 14 seconds left in the quarter.
That was nothing compared with his fourth-quarter performance.
He carried seven times on the Titans' next possession, the final one a beauty.
Tennessee's Eddie George keeps his legs moving on his way to a two-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. AP
Tennessee had second-and-goal from the 1, and George just couldn't be stopped.
He broke not one, not two, but three tackles to reach the end zone, getting some help from officials, who failed to rule the play dead when his left knee touched the turf short of the goal line. Another burst put him over the line and the knee was overlooked.
Then George, who became the Titans' head cheerleader this season, stood up and screamed for his teammates to get going.
But on the final drive, which began with 1:54 remaining, there wasn't enough time for a ground game, so the Titans turned to Steve McNair.
George had one last chance to help. But after catching 47 passes in the regular season, he failed to turn around for a pass from McNair with half a minute left, and the ball bounced off his elbow.
With six seconds left, McNair almost came through, finding Kevin Dyson over the middle just inside the 5 on what would be the final play. McNair spun toward the end zone, trying and trying to reach it as time expired.
But Mike Jones was there to hook his hip and bring him down. No touchdown. No tie. No more miracles.
George could only watch.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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