Off-season Game of the Week

While it may not rank as the greatest or even the most important game in the Packer-Niner series, the Nov. 19, 1989 tilt would certainly have to go down as the most improbable. The Packers entered the game 5-5 and coming off a disappointing loss at Detroit in which they trailed 24-3 at halftime.<p>

The Niners, on the other hand, came into the game 9-1 and expecting their team of high-profile stars and coaches to roll over the visitors from Wisconsin.

Boy, were coach Bill Walsh, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and offensive coordinator Mike Holmgren in for a surprise.

On this day, Packers' coach Lindy Infante, quarterback Don Majkowski and receiver Sterling Sharpe were the best personnel at their position on the field.

This was the zenith of the Infante era and Majkowski's brightest day with the Packers. Playing with sore ribs, Majkowski ran for two touchdowns and threw for another in Green Bay's improbable 21-17 win on Nov. 19, 1989. He was bolstered by a defense that was not intimidated by the galaxy of 49er stars and an arsenal of offensive weapons that consistently delivered.

The Packers immediately showed the 49ers and the 65,706 on hand at Candlestick Park that they weren't going to be a typical patsy. Green Bay took a 7-0 lead on a two-yard run by Majkowski and rookie Chris Jacke's extra-point.

Little did the 49ers and their rabid maroon and gold clad fans know that from that point on the Packers would never trail in this game.

The 49ers tied the game before quarter's end when Montana found running back Roger Craig for a two-yard touchdown.

The second quarter followed the pattern of the first with the Packers scoring and then the 49ers responding. Green Bay took a 14-7 lead on a four-yard toss from Majkowski while the Niners evened the score on a nine-yard pass from Montana to Rice.

After a scoreless third quarter, the Packers took the lead for good on Majkowski's eight-yard diving scramble off a draw into the end zone early in the fourth quarter. The scene of Majkowski being helped to his feet by his teammates and the quarterback wincing in pain is the most indelible of the season.

The 49ers got a 44-yard field goal from Mike Cofer to make it 21-17 but that's where the score would stay.

Montana, who would finish 30 of 42 for 325 yards, tried to rally the 49ers but the Packers denied him.

Defensive tackle Robert Brown put the 49ers in a hole on their final drive when he sacked Montana for a nine-yard loss. Safety Mark Murphy sealed the deal when he made a lunging, last-second interception of a fourth-down pass intended for Rice, who caught nine passes for 106 yards.

The interception touched off an explosion of a celebration on the Packer sideline. The yelps emanating from the green and gold were about the only thing audible in Candlestick at that point. The Montana interception had served as one huge silencer at Candlestick.

Both teams used this game as a springboard.

The Packers went on to finish 10-6 but missed the playoffs by one game. The 49ers would not lose again, capping their season with a 55-10 win over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV.


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