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Shoot-out in Kansas City
Paul Zimmerman
September 19, 1994
Joe Montana and Steve Young, once teammates and uneasy rivals for the quaterback job in San Francisco, faced each other for the first time as Montana's Kansas City Chiefs beat Young's 49ers
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September 19, 1994

Shoot-out In Kansas City

Joe Montana and Steve Young, once teammates and uneasy rivals for the quaterback job in San Francisco, faced each other for the first time as Montana's Kansas City Chiefs beat Young's 49ers

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The Chiefs took command for good on the Niners' second possession of the second half, the same series in which Deese was sidelined. The 49ers, down 17-14, had a third-and-two on their own 35. Young, under a furious rush, with K.C. end Vaughn Booker hanging on to his leg, threw a quick post to tight end Brent Jones. The ball bounced off Jones's hands, and safety Charles Mincy intercepted it and returned it 31 yards to the San Francisco 17. Four plays later Allen went in, standing up, from four yards out, and the Chiefs had a 24-14 lead.

In the fourth quarter the Niners put together a long drive that ended in a 19-yard field goal when Young, rolling left and trying to score from two yards out, was cut down by strong safety David Whitmore, who came to the Chiefs in the Montana deal. San Francisco had one more shot, but that died when wideout John Taylor was stripped of the ball after catching a short pass, and Kansas City recovered near midfield. Final score: 24-17 Chiefs.

Montana vs. Young? Well, Montana got the win. He also got protection, plenty of it. He was sacked once, Young four times. Montana's game was precise and practically error-free, as he worked the ball to his backs and underneath receivers. He went deep only once with success, on the first play of a fourth-quarter, clock-killing drive, an up pattern to Allen for 38 yards. It was a shocker that caught the Niners by surprise. "He was the fourth guy on the read," Montana said, which gives you some idea of the kind of time he was getting. "I saw him with a step on his man and took a shot at it."

After the game Montana looked fresh and relaxed. He was enjoying himself, enjoying the moment. As usual, he was the last player out of the locker room. Earlier he had made the rounds with a bag of hamburgers, handing one to Smith and anyone else who was still around. "Guys like Neil, these were the guys putting the pressure on." he said, "I wasn't watching Steve all that much out there, but I knew he was under a lot of pressure, and what it meant to me was, Hey, those are the guys who are getting us the ball back.

"Steve came over and said hello during the warmups, just normal chitchat. After the game he came over and wished me luck, and I did the same. I said hello to Jerry Rice and a few other guys until it became a madhouse out there. How do I feel? I'm glad it's all over."

In the back of the room during Joe's postgame press conference, Jennifer was answering questions. "Nervous? I'm always nervous at game time," she said. "But I was so confident last night, and I told him so."

"Why?" someone asked.

"Because it's him," she said. "It means a lot, emotionally. The thing between him and Steve means a lot because it's what you've all been writing all week."

Just like old times. In the locker room Joe Montana Sr. was mentioning the 35 to 40 friends and relatives who had flown in for the game, the barbecue his son had thrown for the whole bunch on Saturday, and, yes, the day's No. 1 angle. "You can pressure Joe," he said. "He handles it better than the other guy. Steve looks to run, Joe's always looking for the receiver."

On the day, Montana completed 19 of 31 passes for 203 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Young was 24 of 34 for 288 yards and a TD. He threw two interceptions—the first on that dropped pass In Jones and the second on a quick up to Rice, with free safety William White swooping over for the pick.

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