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49ers Put Wild In Wildcard

by Eric Tellez 1/11/10 sfreport15@gmail.com

Something is in the air that makes me want to talk playoffs! I can't explain it. Maybe it was the wild finish to the Arizona-Green Bay game that did it. Perhaps it was watching Chike Okeafor interfere with a receiver down field or maybe that my handy Cheerleaders of the 49ers calender went missing after a year of being displayed proudly under my wedding certificate. Whatever the reason, playoffs are here and I'm having memories of some great moments in 49er wild card history.

Dec 29, 1996 vs. Philadelphia 14-0
It was a game in which anything could of happened yet almost nothing did. Throughout the game the rain alternated from hard to steady but the wind never stopped coming reaching speeds as great as 50 miles-per-hour. The big story going into the game was the return of former 49er halfback Ricky Watters who many thought would be the difference maker. The big story leaving the game was the health of QB Steve Young who had his ribs broken on a 9-yard touchdown run. Young's touchdown and a 3-yard pass to Jerry Rice were the only scores of the day.

*What You Remember*: Steve Young would have to leave the game in the 1st quarter against the Packers the following week because of his rib injury.

*What You Might Not Remember*: Steve Young out rushed Watters 65 yards to 57. The top 3 49er receivers consisted of Rice, William Floyd, and Terry Kirby. Young had no interceptions while the Eagles combination of Ty Detmer and Mark Rypien had 3.

Jan 3, 1999 vs Green Bay 30-27
If the Dallas Cowboys gave you nightmares in the early 90's then the Packers did it in the late 90's. San Francisco entered this game with five straight loses to Green Bay and if you got the impression that the Pack was practically in the huddle with the Niners you are partially right. Green Bay was coached by Mike Holmgren who was the 49er quarterback coach from 1986-to-1988 and the offensive coordinator from 1989-1991. To make things even worse, Holmgren was the quarterbacks coach at Brigham Young University when Steve Young was there!

This game was one of the most evenly matched playoff games I can remember with both teams scoring on virtually every possession. The 49ers ended-up winning the game as the result of a 25-yard pass from Steve Young to wide receiver Terrell Owens with 3 seconds remaining on the clock. Owens cried. I cried. I jumped on the sofa with a cat underneath, the sofa broke and the cat cried.

*What You Remember*: Owens had struggled the entire game dropping four passes and losing a fumble before redeeming himself. You also remember that the following week against Atlanta 49er star running back Garrison Hearst broke his ankle on the 1st play from scrimmage.

*What You May Not Remember*: Jerry Rice only caught one pass that day for 6 yards. Tight end Greg Clark caught two touchdown passes.

Jan 5, 2003 vs New York Giants 39-38
There's great 49er images that will withstand the test of time. Jerry Rice out-leaping the Raider coverage on Monday night, Roger Craig high stepping through the Rams secondary, Chike Okeafar taking down Rich Seubert. OK, I'll admit the last one is a bit of a stretch but as a Niner fan this game gives me some really mixed emotions.

I was proud of the 49ers for fighting back after being down 38-to-22 with one quarter of play left. After being pushed around all day by the Giants offense the 49er defense held strong in the last quarter not allowing any points while the offense scored 17 to take the lead on a 13 yard Tai Streets reception from Jeff Garcia. The Giants had a chance to win on the last play with a field goal but a bad snap led to an incomplete pass. A penalty was given to the Giants on the play for an illegal man down field while a defensive pass interference on Chike Okeafor was let go because the man interfered with, offensive Guard Rich Seubert, was not an eligible receiver. Further review of the play showed that Seubert was actually eligible on the play and that Okeafor should of been flagged for interference resulting in a another play on an untimed down.

*What You Remember*: When informed that the referees had ruled incorrectly and that the Giants should of been presented with an opportunity to re-play the down 49er coach Steve Mariucci responded with a one word answer; "Bummer".

*What You May Not Remember*: If you look closely at the play it appears that Seubert is already falling when Okeafor makes contact with him. I don't want to seem like a "homer" but 6'5", 310 lineman aren't exactly known for making catches while back peddling.

I'll be back on Jan 13 to talk about free agents and practice squad. Feel free to email me at sfreport15@gmail.com. And for the record, the Eric Tellez shown getting drunk at the Charger / 49er game on myspace is not me but I'd like to party with him!!!


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