Super Bowl XXIX: 49ers vs. Chargers
By Loot, NFL Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Date: January 29, 1995
Site: Joe Robbie Stadium, Miami, Florida
Point Spread: San Francisco 49ers -18.5/San Diego Chargers +18.5
Score: San Francisco 49ers 49, San Diego Chargers 26
MVP: QB Steve Young
Super Bowl XXIX was the team of 80’s trying to make their presence felt in the 90’s, with the San Francisco 49ers winning their record fifth Super Bowl title against the Cinderella Chargers. Joe Montana was gone and now it was time for longtime backup Steve Young to prove his mettle and leave his imprint on the San Francisco superbowl legacy.
Young would end up winning the Super Bowl MVP, throwing for 325 yards and 6 touchdowns and even leading the team in rushing yardage. It wasn’t close and even though San Diego battled back to score 26, the issue was decided quickly--with a surgeon’s precision. Yet somehow, it was entertaining with ten touchdowns and 75 points still being Super Bowl records.
People said Young couldn’t win the big one after two times coming up short in the conference title game. But this looked like the Niners year as they became frontrunners early in the season. Giving the 49ers an added dimension was a defense that was strong in all areas. Free agents and draft picks bolstered the line and secondary.
League MVP Young threw for almost 4000 yards with 35 touchdowns. He added 7 rushing touchdowns into the mix. Jerry Rice caught 112 balls, John Taylor was still getting the job done, and Ricky Watters gave them some versatility on the ground. The 13-3 49ers had the best offense in the league. Pro-Bowl tight end Brent Jones and fullback William Floyd were also productive contributors.
San Diego was in their first Super Bowl and it looked like it. Having knocked on the door many times, they just never seemed to have the “D” to get them to the peak. These Chargers had that. Leslie O’Neal, Chris Mims, and Shawn Lee anchored the line. The late and great Junior Seau was one of the best linebackers to ever play. Throw in a scrappy and clutch secondary with Stanley Richard, Darrien Gordon, and a rookie Rodney Harrison--and they were quite a unit.
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QB Stan Humphries led the San Diego offense--a committee of solid contributors. At the center was big back Natrone Means, with over 1300 yards on the ground. Third-down back Ronnie Harmon caught 58 passes. Receivers Tony Martin, Mark Seay, and Shawn Jefferson were all major contributors. Darrien Gordon and Andre Coleman each had two touchdowns on returns.
San Diego got to Super Bowl 1995 the hard way. First they had to come back from a Miami 21-6 lead to win 22-21. Then they won a heart-attack AFC title game against Steelers, stopping Pittsburgh on a final drive to win 17-13. The 49ers, meanwhile, beat Chicago 44-14 in the divisional playoff, setting up an NFC title game win against the two-time defending superbowl champion Dallas Cowboys 38-28 to get to Super Bowl Sunday.
Super Bowl 29 Recap
First Half: The 49ers took over on their own 41-yard line and on the 3rd play of the drive, Young connected with Jerry Rice for a 44-yard touchdown strike. The ease of the touchdown made it look like an ominous Super Bowl 1995 for San Diego. The Chargers had to punt and San Francisco drove 79 yards on a mere 4 plays, capped off by a 51-yard catch-and run by Ricky Watters to make it 14-0 with less than 5 minutes expired. San Diego then went on an extended drive and when Natrone Means banged it in from a yard out, it was a more manageable 14-7.
That would be the last time this game would be competitive. On the 49ers next drive, they went 70 yards and a 5-yard pass to William Floyd made it 21-7 in the second quarter. After being forced to punt deep in their own territory, the 49ers got the ball at midfield. The 49ers just marched through the San Diego “D” and an 8-yard pass to Watters made it 28-7. The Chargers were the biggest underdog in Super Bowl history and now we began to see why.
Second Half: Forced to punt, San Diego left the 49ers with good field position and on their first drive of the half--stormed down the field again making it look easy. An 8-yard pass to Ricky Watters for his 3rd touchdown made it an unsightly 35-7. Again, the Niners drove and put it out of reach when Young hooked up with Rice to make it 42-7. Electrifying San Diego return-man Andre Coleman returned the kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown and the 2-point conversion made it 42-18.
San Diego turned it over on downs in their own territory and San Francisco scored again on Young’s 6th touchdown pass of the game and his 2nd to Rice. The Chargers scored later in the 4th quarter and added another 2-point conversion to make it more respectable at 49-26, but Super Bowl 29 was all San Francisco. The 49ers would become the only team to win 5 Super Bowls--until the Cowboys tied that mark the following year.