The San Francisco 49ers 17-1 faced the Miami Dolphins 16-2 in Stanford Stadium in Stanford, California in January of 1985. The game featured two Hall of Fame coaches in Bill Walsh of San Francisco and Miami’s Don Shula as well as two Hall of Fame quarterbacks in Joe Montana and Dan Marino.
San Francisco’s one loss was at home against the Steelers 20-17 which prevented them being the second undefeated team to play in a Super Bowl, and were led by Joe Montana who threw for 3630 yards and 28 TD’s, Wendell Tyler who rushed for 1262 yards and 7 TD’s and Roger Craig who rushed for 649 yards and 7 TD’s and caught 71 passes for 675 yards.
Walsh had installed the West Coast offense at San Francisco and Craig as a receiver out of the backfield for short passes was a main cog in that system.
Dwight Clark 880 receiving yards and 6 TD’s and Freddie Solomon 737 yards with 10 TD’s were Montana’s main receivers.
On defense they had future Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott with four interceptions as well as Keena Turner with 4 and Dwight HIcks and Todd Shell with three each while defensive end Dwaine Board led in sacks with 10.
Their place kicker was Ray Wersching who made eight out of eleven field goal tries.
Shula had opened up his offense with the arrival of young Dan Marino who in his second NFL season had become the first quarterback in the history of that league to pass for over 5000 years with 5084 yards and 48 touchdowns. It would be 27 years before two other quarterbacks, Tom Brady and Drew Brees would both pass for over 5000 yards in a season.
His favorite receivers were the “Marks” Mark Clayton with 1389 yards, 18 TD’s and Mark Duper with 1306 yards and 8 TD’s.
The rushing leaders were fullback Woody Bennett with 6606 yards and Tony Nathan with 558 yards as well as 579 yards receiving. They also had former Bengal and Ohio State Buckeye fullback Pete Johnson who had rushed for 9 TD’s.
Uwe von Schamann made 9 of 19 field goal attempts and the defense was led by Glenn Blackwood with 6 interceptions and Doug Betters with 14 sacks.
The Dolphins scored first on a 37 yard field goal by Uwe on Schamann. Montana then found Carl Monroe for a 33 yard TD and Miami scored on a 2 yard TD pass from Dan Marino to Dan Johnson, and the Dolphins held a 10-7 lead after the first quarter.
The second quarter was decisive as the 49ers scored three consecutive touchdowns on an 8 yard pass from Montana to Roger Craig as well as rushing touchdowns from Craig and Montana. The Dolphins answered with two von Schamann field goals and the score at the half was 28-16.
In the third quarter the 49ers continued their offensive barrage with a 31 yard Ray Wersching field goal and Roger Craig’s third touchdown, this one on a 16 yard pass play from Joe Montana to make the score 38-16, and as that was the last of the scoring in the game that was the final score.
In the battle of the two quarterbacks Montana was 22/35 for 3 TD’s and no interceptions while Marino was 29/50 for 1 TD but was intercepted twice, once each by Carlton Williamson and Eric Wright.
Montana got the game MVP and the 49ers would be back against the Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII while the Dolphins have not returned to the Super Bowl since then.
Ron Griffitts a contributing columnist for the Daily Advocate