You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Bengals fell 34 seconds shy of title


Editor’s note: The 2013 season marks the 25th anniversary of the Cincinnati Bengals’ Super Bowl XXIII run, and each weekend Bengals reporter Jay Morrison has helped readers relive that season with a recap of the corresponding game from 1988.

There were 157 plays run in Super Bowl XXIII, but 25 years later only three come immediately to mind for most Cincinnati Bengals fans.

The first was the broken leg nose tackle Tim Krumrie suffered midway through the first quarter.

The second was Stanford Jennings’ 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that gave the Bengals a 13-6 lead with 34 seconds left in the quarter.

And the third, obviously, was San Francisco quarterback Joe Montana’s 10-yard touchdown pass to John Taylor with 34 seconds left, sending the Bengals to a 20-16 loss.

“I’m disappointed we lost, but I’m disappointed in the way we played,” Cincinnati coach Sam Wyche said afterward. “Offensively and defensively we played a whale of a game. I don’t ask anything more of them than the effort they gave today.

“Sometimes you win with that kind of effort,” Wyche added. “This one we didn’t. What hurts is we came so far this season. But losing is hard. We were 34 seconds away.”

The Bengals took a 16-13 lead on Jim Breech’s third field goal with 3:20 remaining.

But Montana drove San Francisco 92 yards in 11 plays, completing 8 of 9 passes for 97 yards. Three of those passes went to Jerry Rice for 51 yards, helping him finish with a Super Bowl record 215 yards and the MVP award.

And it was the added attention the Bengals gave Rice that allowed Taylor to sneak up the seam and into Super Bowl immortality with his only catch of the game.

“Our defense played real well, but on that last drive they just made some helluva catches,” said Bengals cornerback Lewis Billups, who many Cincinnati fans still regard as the goat of the game.

Not only was Billups the one assigned to Rice on his record-breaking day, but he dropped an interception in the end zone one play before Montana hit Rice with a game-tying TD pass early in the fourth quarter. And Billups also missed a tackle on Rice’s 27-yard catch that set up the game-winning TD pass to Taylor.

The heroes of the game for the Bengals were Krumrie, who refused to go to the hospital after breaking the tibia and fibula in his left leg so that he could talk to his teammates at halftime, and Jennings, whose kick return provided the team’s only touchdown.

“I think it gave us a little bit of a lift for a little while,” Jennings said of his big play. “It would have been great with a victory, but without that it’s hard to give it much.”

The Bengals came into the game with the No. 1-ranked offense in the league, but they managed 229 total yards. Offensive coordinator Bruce Coslet refused to shoulder any of the blame afterward.

“The play calling by me and Sam (Wyche) was excellent,” Coslet said. “They have to execute the plays.”

In addition to the anemic offense, the other big disappointment was the plight of running back Stanley Wilson, who suffered a cocaine relapse the night before the game and then disappeared from the team hotel. Well after the game, none of his teammates or coaches knew where he was.

“Stanley Wilson didn’t screw up,” Wyche said. “The cocaine overtook him. Our country is going to hell in a handbasket and we don’t know it. This is a symptom of it. I still love the man. I’m still pulling for his life.”

From the Wilson situation to Krumrie’s injury to an ineffective offense to a remarkable effort by Rice, everything seemed to work against the Bengals that day, and yet they still came within 34 seconds of pulling out the victory.

“All year long the ball has been bouncing our way, but tonight it didn’t,” safety David Fulcher said. “A few plays here and there and we might be the ones jumping up and down and saying we’re the Super Bowl champions.”

Super Bowl XXIII

Jan. 22, 1989

San Francisco 49ers 20, Cincinnati Bengals 16

At Joe Robbie Stadium

Cincinnati Bengals 0 3 10 3 — 16

San Francisco 49ers 3 0 3 14 — 20

First Quarter

SF: Mike Cofer 41 field goal, 11:46

Second Quarter

C: Jim Breech 34 field goal, 13:45

Third Quarter

C: Breech 43 field goal, 9:21

SF: Cofer 32 field goal, 14:10

C: Stanford Jennings 93 kick return (Breech kick), 14:26

Fourth Quarter

SF: Jerry Rice 14 pass from Joe Montana (Cofer kick), 0:57

C: Breech 40 field goal, 11:40

SF: John Taylor 10 pass from Montana (Cofer kick), 14:26

PASSING

Cincinnati – Boomer Esiason 11-25-1-144; San Francisco – Joe Montana 23-36-357

RUSHING

Cincinnati – Ickey Woods 20-79, James Brooks 6-24, Stanford Jennings 1-3, Boomer Esiason 1-0; San Francisco – Roger Craig 17-74, Tom Rathman 5-23, Joe Montana 5-9, Jerry Rice 1-5

RECEIVING

Cincinnati – Eddie Brown 4-44, Cris Collinsworth 3-40, Tim McGee 2-23, James Brooks 1-20, Ira Hillary 1-17; San Francisco – Jerry Rice 11-215, Roger Craig 8-101, Tom Rathman 1-16, John Frank 2-15, John Taylor 1-10


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

H.S. Results for 1/17: Franklin boys avoid upset

Connor Black scored all of his game-high 14 points in the second half Tuesday as Franklin remained unbeaten in the Southwestern Buckeye League boys basketball by fending off upset-minded Eaton, 58-57. Payton Knott added 11 for Franklin (11-1 overall, 6-0 SWBL), which missed a free throw with 3 seconds to play. Eaton (5-9, 0-5) rebounded and got off...
Shawnee beats former conference rival Stebbins
Shawnee beats former conference rival Stebbins

Stebbins may be in a new conference but still couldn’t figure out Shawnee on Tuesday night. The Braves beat their old conference foe 54-47 with strong defensive play and timely shooting. It’s a familiar result for Stebbins, which left the Central Buckeye Conference last summer to join the Greater Western Ohio Conference. Though the Indians...
Dayton Flyers coach Green shocked by Northwestern player’s death
Dayton Flyers coach Green shocked by Northwestern player’s death

Dayton Flyers coach Shauna Green will attend a visitation service for Northwestern player Jordan Hankins on Thursday in Indianapolis. Hankins, a sophomore guard who appeared in 11 games this season, died Jan. 9. Her body was found in her dorm room. Her death was ruled a suicide. Green was an assistant coach at Northwestern last season and got to know...
UD Arena ranks among nation’s top venues
UD Arena ranks among nation’s top venues

Writers at Scout.com’s Stadium Journey ranked the stadium experiences at 761 venues across the nation in 2016, and UD Arena finished in the top five percent, No. 37 to be exact. “Among the impressive college basketball history, incredible game atmospheres, and enjoyable and affordable fan experience, Dayton’s UD Arena should be on...
Shauna Green says Dayton Flyers turned the corner over winter break
Shauna Green says Dayton Flyers turned the corner over winter break

With a new coach at the helm and not much time to get used to her system, the Dayton Flyers faced a tall challenge in the opening month of the season, and from a win-loss standpoint, it proved to be too tall. Shauna Green started her UD career with a 3-6 record. That’s where the Flyers stood on Dec. 9 after a 76-72 loss at home to Toledo. They...
More Stories