51 for LI: Montana’s Drive Caps Super Bowl XXIII
[lead align=”default”]We’re getting down into the earlier Super Bowls now in our countdown, at 23 days to go. Super Bowl XXIII, unlike the one after it, was an exciting game.[/lead]
Any time you have a Super Bowl decided late in the fourth quarter, it makes for high excitement and drama. That’s probably not the case for the fans of those teams, who may have needed to defibrillate themselves on multiple occasions. In this game, those fans were of the Cincinnati Bengals and the San Francisco 49ers.
Super Bowl XXIII: 1988 Cincinnati Bengals
This was, and still is, Cincinnati’s only appearance in the big game. Sam Wyche led Cincy to a 12-4 season, which had them at the top of the NFL. This was thanks to a perfect home record, which including the playoffs, was 10-0.
Boomer Esiason had an MVP season for the Bengals, throwing 28 touchdown passes and a total of 3,572 regular season yards.
Super Bowl XXIII: 1988 San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco teams of the 1980s needed no introduction. They already won Super Bowl XVI and Super Bowl XIX, and after this one, went on to win Super Bowl XXIV. This one was their third Super Bowl appearance of the decade, but the last for legendary coach Bill Walsh.
The 1988 season was a good one for the Niners, but not a great one. They went 10-6, which was good enough to win the NFC West and get the two seed. San Francisco struggled in the middle of the season, limping to mid-November at 6-5, but surged after Thanksgiving. The Niners handily beat Minnesota and Chicago to reach the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl XXIII: The Game
Most of the scoring in Super Bowl XXIII came in the second half, as this was just a 3-3 game at the break. The 49ers scored their field goal, and then the Bengals. Things picked up in the third quarter, with the Bengals getting the first touchdown of the game later. They went into the fourth with a 13-6 win over San Francisco.
The game turned late, with Jerry Rice catching a Joe Montana touchdown pass to tie it. Cincinnati would later kick a 40-yard field goal to take the lead, leaving the game and season in Montana’s hands.
Down 16-13 late in the fourth quarter, Montana and his offense launched a 92-yard drive. The game-winning score for San Francisco came with 39 seconds remaining.