Jim Harbaugh has never seemed like a cruel monster, or even slightly mean, for that matter. But at yesterday’s San Francisco 49ers practice, he was the gosh-damned devil. Harbaugh decided that it would be fun for quarterback Alex Smith and the 49ers offense to re-create the classic touchdown pass from Joe Montana to Dwight Clark against the Dallas Cowboys in the 1982 NFC Championship Game. And that does sound fun for the guys, except for one small problem…
It’s Alex Smith.
And you don’t have to be Miss Cleo giving a lap dance to Nostradamus to guess how it turned out. But we’ll go ahead and play dumb and go through the steps first. For starters, the legendary “Catch” looked something like this…
1/10/11: Montana’s pass for Elliott was incomplete.
2/10/11: Elliott went up the middle, stopped by Waters after a gain of 6.
3/4/17: Montana passed to Solomon in the left flat for 6, tackled immediately by Thurman.
1/10/23: Elliott got around RE for 11, Thurman making the tackle.
1/10/34: Elliott gained 7 around the left side, Waters and Thurman making the tackle.
2/3/41: Montana’s pass for Elliott was incomplete, Dickerson covering.
3/3/41: Elliott went up the middle for 4, but Dallas was offside. Play was nullified and Dallas assessed 5 yards (Thornton)
1/10/46: Montana passed to Cooper for 5, Barnes and Fellows making the tackle. 2:00 WARNING.
2/5/49: Solomon gained 14 yards around the left side on a reverse, Fellows making the stop.
1/10/35: Montana passed to Clark going out of bounds for 10.
1/10/25: Montana passed to Solomon for 12, Walls downing Solomon. S.F. TIMEOUT 1:15 LEFT
1/10/13: Montana’s pass for Solomon in endzone was incomplete, overthrown.
2/10/13: Elliott sweep left end for 7, Barnes making the tackle. S.F. TIMEOUT 0:58 LEFT.
3/3/6: Montana rolled right and then passed to Clark in endzone for 6 and the touchdown. Wersching kicked the PAT from Montana’s hold. (89 yards in 13, time 4:03). (Via The San Francisco Chronicle)
For some reason, Harbaugh started Smith and the 49ers off at the 8-yard line, so at least Smith can blame that for what happened next:
1/10/8: A. Smith incomplete pass, probably a wide open screen to Frank Gore.
2/10/8: A. Smith incomplete pass, possibly dropped by Braylon Edwards or Ted Ginn Jr.
3/10/8: A. Smith incomplete pass, more than likely underthrown to a really pissed off Vernon Davis.
4/10/8: A. Smith sacked (two-hand touch style, which makes it sound so much worse).
The crowd, of course, booed the result of this incredibly terrible idea. This is like asking Jason Campbell to recreate the tuck rule play at an Oakland Raiders practice. Just mind-bogglingly dumb.