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"Yeah," Hoss said.
"Can you go?" Parcells asked again as the offense took the field.
"Bill, I'm going!" he barked.
Are you kidding? Hostetler was going if he had to drag a Baldwin behind him. He tested his knee on the second play, a scramble that was good for six yards. The Giants scratched out a field goal to close the deficit to 13-12 with 5:47 left.
It's funny about dynasties. They roll along smooth as chiffon for three years, and then all of a sudden the warranty expires and the lug nuts fall off. All of a sudden things go from threepeat to peat moss. First, Montana got the flu from his little girl on Thursday. He was on an IV as late as Saturday, trying to get his body fluids back to normal. Then Marshall made him feel worse with that hit. Then Roger Craig decided to fumble at the worst possible moment of the year, which was with less than three minutes to play. Taylor caught it in mid-drop. Giants' ball.
Here it was for Hoss: 57 yards and 2:36 to make a dream come around that he had waited for through seven years and 4,000 No. 2 pencils.
All he did was become bulletproof. Rolling right on what remained of his knee, he should have gone out of bounds but instead chose to pivot and fire a rope to tight end Mark Bavaro, who was running the other way. Plus 19, first down.
Two plays later, he rolled right and, while still running, threw an NFL Films-type spiral to Stephen Baker. Plus 13, to the Niner 29. O.J. Anderson advanced the ball four more yards on two carries, then the Giants called timeout with :04 remaining. What's left for Hostetler to do but hold for Matt Bahr's kick?
"All I said to myself was, Please don't bobble the ball," he said afterward. Amazing, isn't it, Hoss? You hold on to the ball a little tighter when it's your drive you're trying to finish.