40 years ago on January 10, Dwight Clark made ‘The Catch’

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  • Dallas Cowboys
    Dallas Cowboys
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Dwight Clark
    American football player and executive (1957-2018)

There are plays that stand by themselves in sports. One is “The Catch,” which happened 40 years ago on Jan. 10, 1982.

The play saw Joe Montana find Dwight Clark for the game-winning touchdown in the NFC Championship Game played at Candlestick Park.

The Catch and Ray Wersching’s ensuing PAT gave the 49ers a 28-27 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

The game was broadcast on CBS and the call was made by the great Vin Scully.

Coincidentally, 40-plus years later, the same teams will play on CBS this Sunday in an NFC Wild-Card Game.

The Catch happened when Montana called “Change Left Slot – Sprint Right Option.”

Clark was not the intended receiver on the play call. It was supposed to be a pass to Freddie Solomon, who scored on the play earlier in the game.

The Cowboys had Solomon covered. So, Montana had to improvise.

Just before being chased out of bounds, and after a pump-fake caused the 6-foot 9-inch Ed “Too Tall” Jones to leave his feet, Montana threw a high pass to the back of the end zone that seemed to be heading out of bounds until Clark, closely covered by Cowboys defender Everson Walls, made a leaping catch with his fingertips in the back right corner of the end zone to tie the game with 51 seconds left.

The Cowboys did have a last chance for victory. With the ball in 49ers territory after a long pass to Drew Pearson, Danny White was sacked by Lawrence Pillers and fumbled.

AP Photo/Dallas Morning News, Phil Huber)

Jim Stuckey recovered for the 49ers and the rest is history.