75 for 75: Over 90 Yards to Pay Dirt

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"75 for 75" is an article series from the 49ers Museum highlighting legendary moments in 49ers history as part of the team's 75th Anniversary celebrations in 2021.

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December 11, 1989

Wide receiver John Taylor entertained a "Monday Night Football" audience in 1989 with one of the NFL's greatest single-game receiving performances by posting two touchdowns of over 90 yards. Los Angeles Rams owner Georgia Frontiere may have unwittingly ignited the 49ers scoring barrage.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Rams seemed to be cruising along with a comfortable 27-10 lead. Sensing victory, Frontiere strolled onto the Anaheim Stadium sideline with a glass of wine to the delight of the hometown crowd. When she raised her glass in a toast to the fans, players on the 49ers bench took notice. They quickly responded with three touchdowns in 10 minutes. Taylor was the catalyst.

Earlier in the game, Taylor seized a short pass from quarterback Joe Montana and sprinted 92 yards to score. Midway through the fourth quarter, he did it again.

This time Montana found Taylor on a crossing route at the 16 yard line and the shifty receiver broke two tackles before making a beeline for the right sideline. Wide receiver Jerry Rice provided interference and Taylor followed it, outrunning a herd of Rams defenders for a 96-yard touchdown.

"John Taylor had a wide receiver's dream tonight," said Roger Craig in the locker room postgame.

Taylor finished the night with 11 receptions for 286 yards, the second-most single-game receiving yards in team history. The 49ers went on to erase a 17-point deficit to beat the Rams, 30-27.

Taylor's achievements as a 49ers receiver and kick returner from 1987 to 1995 were rewarded in 2021 when he was selected to the Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame. During his nine seasons with the club, the wideout recorded 347 receptions, averaged over 16 yards per catch and posted 43 regular season touchdowns. His most important catch came at Super Bowl XXIII when he snagged the game-winning touchdown pass with 34 seconds remaining to lift the 49ers to a 20-16 victory over Cincinnati.

As always, Taylor was modest and reflective after being notified of the 49ers Hall of Fame honor.

"I always played the game not looking for awards but rewards of the soul, like even being mentioned with such great players as Joe Montana, Roger Craig and Ronnie Lott, who are already enshrined in the 49ers Hall of Fame. This is truly awesome."

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