75 for 75: Young's Epic Run

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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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October 30, 1988

Steve Young's wild 49-yard dash through a maze of Minnesota Vikings in a crucial 1988 game stands as one of the greatest quarterback scrambles of all time. It showcased Young's speed, cat-like elusiveness and knack for the clutch play, while adding a taste of comic relief.

The 49ers trailed the Vikings 21-17 with two minutes remaining at Candlestick Park when Young, who was starting for the injured Joe Montana, called for a quick pass to receiver Mike Wilson. 

Young had barely completed his three-step drop when Vikings defensive end Chris Doleman had a hand in his face. Young rolled to his left and began zigging and zagging downfield bouncing like a pinball off of Vikings defenders. In the process, he broke or eluded seven tackles and added a punishing stiff arm to Minnesota linebacker Jesse Solomon. 

"I was running down the field and I was tired," tackle Steve Wallace said. "I was saying, 'Get out of bounds, Steve, before you get hurt.' Then I looked up and I saw someone stumble out of the pile and it was him."

At the 5 yard line, Young appeared to be out of gas but continued to lurch and wobble toward the goal line. 

"I couldn't believe I was having trouble getting into the end zone," Young said. "I was thinking I was going to go down on the three and that would have been embarrassing."

Then, with one last burst of strength, Young hurled himself over the goal line for the game-winning score in the 49ers 24-21 victory.

Once again, 49ers broadcaster Lon Simmons provided the dramatic radio call. "Young back to throw. In trouble. He's going to be sacked. No! He gets away. He runs. Gets away again! Goes to the 40. Gets away again. To the 35! Cuts back to the 30! To the 20! To the 15! To the 10! Young is exhausted. He dives. Touchdown 49ers!"

That much-needed victory helped the 49ers advance to the Super Bowl that season where they defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 20-16.

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