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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

    • Larry “The Zonk” Csonka
      January 29, 2022 | 4:43 pm
      Larry Csonka

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the leader of a running attack that was the cornerstone of two Super Bowl Championship teams, including the only undefeated squad in NFL history.

      With his distinctive headgear and a body suited for punishing contact, Larry Csonka looked the part of a fullback and for 11 NFL seasons delivered and took regular punishment on his way to the Hall of Fame.

      Following in the great tradition of Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Jim Nance and Floyd Little, Csonka earned All-American honors at Syracuse while rushing for 2,934 yards.  He began earning a name for himself as the Most Valuable Player of the East–West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl, and the College All-Star Game.

      Read more »

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