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Off On The Wrong Foot
Paul Zimmerman
January 18, 1982
...but right on target was 49er Joe Montana as he took aim at the NFC title
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January 18, 1982

Off On The Wrong Foot

...but right on target was 49er Joe Montana as he took aim at the NFC title

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They were screaming partly from the memory of another great 49er combination, Y.A. Tittle to R.C. Owens, the famous Alley Oop, only this time it was Clark who climbed the sky wire and came down with six points with 51 seconds left. "It was over my head," Clark said. "I thought, 'Oh oh, I can't go that high.' Something got me up there. It must have been God or something."

Walls had lost coverage on Clark. The supposed double coverage never came.

"They're so good at it," Waters said. "It's kind of like sandlot football, but they're the best I've ever seen at it in the NFL. It's like Fran Tarkenton football, maybe even better than Tarkenton."

The game now stood tied, but, almost anticlimactically, Ray Wersching's extra point resolved the issue. One thrill was left for the record crowd of 60,525. The Cowboys had one last gasp, a 31-yard pass from White to Drew Pearson that carried to the 49er 44-yard line and was halted only because Cornerback Eric Wright got a hand on Pearson's collar and yanked backward. Ten or 15 yards more and Dallas would have had a shot at a winning field goal. It was lights out on the next play, though, when Tackle Larry Pillers shot up the middle, sacked White into a fumble, and End Jim Stuckey recovered.

"The center had pulled out to help on Fred Dean," Pillers said. "I grabbed the center's jersey and hung on for the ride. He pulled me right up to the quarterback and gave me the extra momentum."

Later on, Dallas Coach Tom Landry was asked what was the key to the 49er victory. "Montana has to be the key," he said. "There really is nothing else there except the quarterback."

Well, Cincinnati will find out in the Silverdome. Even now the Cowboys don't seem to be fully convinced, but they're still suffering from shock. The shock of The Drive.

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