Young passes crown to 49ers QB's record 6 TDs exorcise ghosts, Chargers, 49-26

January 30, 1995|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Writer

MIAMI -- The San Francisco 49ers finally passed their Super torch from Joe Montana to Steve Young last night.

Young, who has been the team's starting quarterback for the past four seasons but still was playing in Montana's shadow, finally eclipsed him.

Young threw six touchdown passes to break Montana's Super Bowl record of five while leading the 49ers to a 49-26 victory over the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX before 74,107 fans at Joe Robbie Stadium.

Young's performance helped the 49ers become the first team to win five Super Bowls as the NFC collected its 11th straight victory.

But for Young and the 49ers, this was almost as emotional as their first one, back in 1982.

Young held the gleaming silver Vince Lombardi Trophy with both arms in the locker room and said, "I can't describe the feeling . . . it is unbelievable."

Owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., whose father died a few weeks ago, was choked up as he accepted the trophy from commissioner Paul Tagliabue and said: "This is a very, very important victory. This one's for dad."

3 Young, who was unanimous choice as the MVP, shared the spotlight with wide receiver Jerry Rice and running back Ricky Watters, who each tied a Super Bowl record by scoring three touchdowns. It was the second time Rice had done it.

Rice, who was battling a bad cold and suffered a slightly separated shoulder in the first half, and Watters both endorsed the Young selection.

4 Rice, who had complained he didn't get enough attention when he won MVP honors in the 49ers' 20-16 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII, said of Young: "He's going to be placed up there with one of the best quarterbacks ever to play the game. He deserved to be the MVP today. I'm just happy for him."

Rice said that when he hugged Young at the end of the game, he told him: " 'Hey, man, I love you. You deserve this.' "

Coach George Seifert said: "Joe Montana was phenomenal and established the standard. And Steve Young is talented enough and works hard enough so that he can maintain the standard. Whatever critics he may have had . . . the way he has played, he has got to be one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time to play a game as he did tonight and to play the way he has this season."

Watters was asked whether he should have been the MVP and replied, "The man who won it is the guy who should have gotten it."

Watters added: "You couldn't have written a better script. Steve Young just played a flawless game. He was just unbelievable. After all the scrutiny and everything. How would you feel reading in the paper you're no Joe Montana?"

The 49ers also faced the pressure of being one of the two biggest favorites in Super Bowl history.

Oddsmakers made them an 18-point choice after they beat the Chargers, 38-15, on Dec. 11.

They were reminded all week about Super Bowl III, when the Baltimore Colts were 18-point favorites over the New York Jets and lost, 16-7.

But the Colts started quarterback Earl Morrall, who was intercepted three times before being yanked. The 49ers had Young, who played the best game of his career.

"Under the circumstances, with what it meant and everything else, it has to be [my best game]," Young said. "It was the kind of performance under the pressure of the Super Bowl that you have to feel very good about, so I'll always remember this."

Young noted that his critics "always had this game to fall back on," to point out that he had never won a Super Bowl. "It's nice to put that away because it's really the ultimate experience as a football player."

Flamboyant cornerback Deion Sanders, one of the many free agents the 49ers brought in to rebuild their defense, said there was never any doubt it was going to be a rout.

"Those guys didn't have a chance to beat us, man. Let's be realistic," he said. "We can't talk like that before a game. The real Super Bowl was against Dallas. Those guys were talking junk all week long. They were talking junk on the field. I'm just frustrated they didn't respect us enough. . . . We knew we were going to kick their butts."

Sanders, who intercepted a Gale Gilbert pass late after Stan Humphries was hurt, even got a chance to run a fourth-quarter pass pattern, but Chargers safety Stanley Richard knocked it away. It was one of the few plays the Chargers made all day.

Throwing touchdown passes of 44 yards to Rice, 51 yards to Watters, 5 yards to rookie William Floyd and 8 yards to Watters, Young was 17 of 23 for 239 yards going into the locker room at halftime.

Young wound up completing 24 of 36 passes for 325 yards, falling 32 yards short of the record of 357 passing yards Montana set in Super Bowl XXIII.

The four first-half touchdown passes tied a Super Bowl record set by Doug Williams of the Washington Redskins.

In Super Bowl XXII, Williams completed 13 of 21 for 306 yards in the first half when the Redskins scored five second-period touchdowns to take a 35-10 halftime lead en route to a 42-10 victory over the Denver Broncos.

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