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NFL Classic Rewind: Steelers Stun 49ers, Ending Dreams of Undefeated Season 40

Posted on December 16, 2011 by A.J. Foss

The 1984 San Francisco 49ers are considered one of the greatest teams of the Super Bowl era as they went 18-1 and won the second of four Super Bowl titles in the 1980s.

But the 49ers’ chances of immortality of joining the 1972 Miami Dolphins as the only undefeated Super Bowl champions were shattered in the seventh game of the season when they were stunned by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The 49ers were still led by head coach Bill Walsh and quarterback Joe Montana and their famous West Coast Offense, but it was the San Francisco defense that had been the major reason for their 6-0 start.

After allowing a combined 78 points in their first three games, the 49ers defense allowed only one offensive touchdown in the next three games and forced eleven turnovers.

While the 49ers entered their game with the Steelers riding high, Pittsburgh were coming off a humiliating 31-7 loss to the Miami Dolphins at home.
Pittsburgh was 3-3 under head coach Chuck Noll, who was in his 16th season as the Steelers’ head coach.

While they still had veterans John Stallworth, Jack Lambert, Donnie Shell, and Mike Webster, from the team’s glory days of the 1970s, the Steelers were no longer the dominant team in the NFL as they had not won a playoff game since their win in Super Bowl XIV against the Los Angeles Rams.

The Steelers traveled to San Francisco where they were double-digit underdogs and had backup quarterback Mark Malone in the starter role, filling in for David Woodley who was out with a concussion.

Needing to get off to a fast start, the Steelers received the opening kickoff and used their running game to put together a 12-play, 68-yard drive that ended with a two-yard touchdown run by Rich Erenberg that gave Pittsburgh the early lead at 7-0 midway through the opening quarter. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Drew Pearson: Mr. Clutch
      August 7, 2021 | 6:59 pm

      Drew Pearson

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former NFL wide receiver know as “Mr. Clutch” for his penchant for making big receptions at crucial moments of the game. After waiting for more than 30 years, he is finally earning his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2021 Hall of Fame Class.

      During his decade with the Dallas Cowboys, Drew Pearson had a habit of making the big catch at the right moment to help the Cowboys time and again snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

      The favorite target of Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, Pearson was widely recognized as one of the great receivers of his era. Though at the time of his retirement many expected Pearson to easily breeze into the Hall of Fame, his enshrinement was derailed by changes to the game which artificially inflated receiver stats and made the numbers he produced during a time when wide receivers weren’t catching 100 passes a season seem inferior.

      Read more »

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