Jump to content

So You Think Marvin's Clock Mgmt Stinks?


Recommended Posts

For some reason, football outsiders is revisiting the 1987 strike season. Hey, the content monster must be fed, I suppose. And in doing so they bring back one of the franchise's nightmare moments, which naturally came at the hands of Cincy arch-nemesis Joe Montana.

It's week 2 of the 1987 season:


The second game of the season was even stranger than the first. The 49ers went to Cincinnati and were trailing the Bengals 26-20 when they got the ball back with two minutes left. Joe Montana is one of the greatest comeback artists in NFL history, right? He threw two incomplete passes to John Taylor and then took an 8-yard sack, and the 49ers punted the ball back with 54 seconds left. The play-by-play does not list timeouts, but it's clear that the 49ers had two timeouts left when they punted. Their only hope was to somehow get the ball back with less than 10 seconds left for a miracle play.

And then the Cincinnati Bengals somehow screwed up the process of kneeling out the clock.

Boomer Esiason kneeled down for a 2-yard loss, and took five seconds off the clock.


He kneeled down for a 3-yard loss, and took four more seconds off the clock.


On third-and-15, he stepped back really far and took a 5-yard loss and then let the clock run all the way down to six seconds left. The Bengals took a delay of game penalty there, giving them fourth-and-25 from their own 30 with six seconds left.

This is a pretty easy situation, right? It seems obvious the Bengals should a punt, but there's always the possibility of a block. A better option would be to have the punter run out of the end zone for an intentional safety, which would then make the last play of the game a free kick from the 20-yard line.

Sam Wyche did neither of these things.

Instead, he thought keeping the ball on the ground could somehow use six seconds off the clock. The Bengals ran a sweep with James Brooks and he got slammed by 49ers defensive end Kevin Fagan, tackled five yards behind the line of scrimmage with two seconds on the clock. That left room for one play from the Cincinnati 25, and Montana hit Rice leaping in the end zone for a touchdown. The extra point was good and the 49ers won 27-26.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

That game was the highlight game the following Sunday over here, nobody could believe they didn't take the safety and so win the game. Stupid stupid !!!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...