These are some of
the new plays the San Francisco 49ers put in but did NOT use in Super Bowl
They had an
end-around pass, Dwight Clark throwing to Freddie Solomon. They had different
option passes for every healthy running back. They had a play in which Solomon
throws a pass off a reverse and they had a pitch-and-later-al, Joe Montana to
Ricky Patton to Earl Cooper. They had something called a Nickel Blizzard, which
isn't the big brother of Pennies From Heaven; it's a safety blitz out of the
nickel-back formation. What else? Oh yeah, they also had what they call a Short
Yardage Triple Pass, which means sweep, reverse, pitch back and pass...no, wait
a minute, they did use that, yes they did. They used it in the first half, in
which they built a 20-0 lead on the way to their 26-21 triumph over the
Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday in the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich.
Why didn't they
use that other stuff? Well, they had enough, quite enough, more than enough.
How many new toys can you fit in the attic? How many candy bars can a healthy
child digest? How many newfangled things can you throw at a team without having
the Competition Committee come up with another Parity Edict in the
off-season...O.K., Walsh, the other guys get two weeks to prepare for Super
Bowl XVII, but we're giving you three days, see.
Brother, did 49er
Coach Bill Walsh throw some stuff at the Bengals. The Triple Pass, in which
Montana hands to Patton who hands to Solomon who pitches back to Montana who
throws downfield to Tight End Charle Young, was designed for third-and-one. It
made its entry on the Niners' first third-and-one situation of the game—in the
middle of their long (68 yards), exotic touchdown drive in the first
quarter—picked up a neat 14 yards and then bowed out for the day amid polite
The 49ers' most
significant pass, in fact the last pass they threw, was a 22-yarder to reserve
Flanker Mike Wilson. It got them out of a deep hole, second-and-15, early in
the fourth quarter when the Bengals had closed to within six points. It
launched them on their way to the field goal that made the score 23-14. It was
called Sweep Pass Right, Z-Come-back and it was put in on Wednesday, four days
before the game.
"I run 25
yards downfield, then I come back to about 20," Wilson said. "All year
long when we showed anything 20 yards deep, it was a takeoff, a go, so the
cornerback [Louis Breeden] figured I'd keep on going."
Simple, see. Just
do something you never did before, or maybe once, a long time ago, and then
forgot. Like the play in the second quarter that got San Francisco its second
touchdown and ended a 92-yard drive, longest in Super Bowl history. This one
was an 11-yard pass to Cooper, the fullback, a particular bit of nastiness
designed to burn Reggie Williams, the Bengals' right outside linebacker, a
Dartmouth graduate and an active chap who'd been making things lively with his
Cooper had already
run for two significant gains—11 and 14 yards—and this time he started up the
middle, but Montana faked the handoff and Cooper took a left at the stop sign
and headed for the expressway. Solomon and Mike Shuman, the wide receivers on
the left side, had swooped inside, wiping the blackboard clean like a giant
eraser, and Cooper dipped out behind them, getting an extra step on poor
Williams, who'd bitten for the fake up the middle. Six points. And when had
this play, named Fox-Two Special, been seen? Only once before, in 1980, against
the New England Patriots. It had gone for a touchdown then, too. It was used
only once on Sunday. Why repeat? Got a million of 'em, fellas.
know what to expect, given the mentality of their coach," Williams said
afterward. "Plus, he had that extra week to prepare them."
Walsh put in a pass to Solomon, and that got the Niners down to the five-yard
line and set up a field goal late in the first half. It was a square-out, with
Solomon coming from inside the flanked tight end. This one had been used once
before—against Green Bay—and it got Solomon a first down then.