By four points, by three or maybe more, the San Francisco 49ers win.
On the road, at home, in the Super Bowl. In Green Bay. No matter. They win."That's why they are world champions. This is the way they've been winning. Great teams figure out ways to win games, and the 49ers did today," Packers coach Lindy Infante said after a 24-20 loss Sunday.
The Packers (3-5) had been the last team to beat the 49ers, way back on Nov. 19, 1989. But this time, despite an early 10-0 lead, they became San Francisco's 16th straight victim and eighth this season.
Joe Montana threw for three touchdowns and 411 yards - the most passing yards against the Packers in their 71-year history - as the 49ers overcame a slow start for their 14th straight regular-season road win.
Were the 49ers obsessed with a payback for their last loss?
"Oh, not at all," said 49ers coach George Seifert. "I knew that coming in here after they beat us last year it was going to be a real challenge. This is a team on the upswing and we are lucky to come out of here with a win."
Don Majkowski's 20-yard pass to Sterling Sharpe with 38 seconds to go in the first half gave the Packers a 10-0 lead.
That's when the 49ers turned the game around.
"The end of the first half was the key series. We were able to take the ball down the field and score," Seifert said.
Chris Jacke's short squib kickoff after the Packers' touchdown and 19-yard return to the 41 yard-line by Harry Sydney gave the 49ers the lift they needed in the final seconds.
From there, it was vintage Montana. He simply hit three straight passes - seven yards to Tom Rathman, 29 to Jerry Rice and then 23 yards to John Taylor for the touchdown, cutting the lead to 10-7 with 11 seconds remaining in the half.
"First, we got a couple of big plays that got us some field position, which made for us the decision that we were going to go for it, at least for a field goal," said Montana. "We hadn't been doing anything offensively. We got good field position and it changed the momentum for us."
Infante said the Packers tried the short kickoff to prevent a long return, but they ended up giving up good field position.
"We were kicking into the breeze and the ball was getting up. We tried to keep them from organizing a return, but they still made a great drive out of it," he said.
Montana later hit Brent Jones with a 6-yard touchdown pass to give the 49ers their first lead at 17-10 early in the fourth quarter, then connected with Rice on a 64-yarder to move the lead to 24-13 with seven minutes remaining.
Montana also moved past John Hadl into fifth place on the NFL's career passing yardage list by completing 25 of 40 passes for the 411 yards.
"We would cut off the first receiver and he would hit the second one or even the third one or scramble. That's why he's so good," said Infante.
Green Bay got a 37-yard field goal from Jacke to make it 17-13 before Rice caught a pass and raced past the Packers' secondary to make it 24-13. Rice had six catches for 187 yards.
Green Bay came right back, moving 72 yards in just two minutes with Majkowski hitting Sharpe for a 17-yard touchdown, cutting the lead to 24-20.
The Packers got the ball back with 2:12 left and no timeouts, but Green Bay's Perry Kemp fumbled after a pass reception with 1:48 to go - the only turnover of the game.
"We proved we could play with anybody and still be in the game. The 49ers just did not make as many mistakes this year as they did in the game last year in Candlestick," Majkowski said.
"It's just disappointing."
Mike Cofer's 22-yard field goal tied the game at 10-10 with 2:48 left in the third quarter.
Green Bay moved to the 49ers' 13 on its first possession of the game but had to settle for Jacke's 30-yard field goal and an early 3-0 lead.
Majkowski completed 22 of 33 for 274 yards.