1998 San Francisco 49ers season

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1998 San Francisco 49ers season
Head coachSteve Mariucci
Home field3Com Park
Division place2nd NFC West
Playoff finishWon Wild Card Playoffs (Packers) 30–27
Lost Divisional Playoffs (Falcons) 18–20

The 1998 San Francisco 49ers season was the team's 49th year with the National Football League.

The season saw the return of Jerry Rice, who missed most of 1997 with a major knee injury.

After defeating the Packers in the Wildcard round, thanks to a game-winning catch by young Terrell Owens, San Francisco's season ended with a defeat to the Atlanta Falcons the following week. The Falcons then defeated the 15–1 Minnesota Vikings in the title game, but they lost to the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl.

The Divisional round was Steve Young's final playoff appearance as he suffered a concussion in Week 3 of the next season, ending his 15-year NFL career.


NFL Draft[edit]

1998 San Francisco 49ers draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 28 R. W. McQuarters  Cornerback Oklahoma State
2 58 Jeremy Newberry *  Center California
3 89 Chris Ruhman  Tackle Texas A&M
4 119 Lance Schulters *  Safety Hofstra
5 151 Phil Ostrowski  Guard Penn State
6 180 Fred Beasley *  Fullback Auburn
7 215 Ryan Thelwell  Wide Receiver Minnesota
      Made roster    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career




1998 San Francisco 49ers roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists


Practice/Taxi squad {{{practice_squad}}}

Rookies in italics

Regular season[edit]


Week Date Opponent Result TV Time Attendance
1 September 6, 1998 vs New York Jets W 36–30 (OT) CBS 1:00 pm PT
2 September 14, 1998 (Mon) at Washington Redskins W 45–10 ABC 6:00 pm PT
3 Bye
4 September 27, 1998 vs Atlanta Falcons W 31–20 FOX 1:00 pm PT
5 October 4, 1998 at Buffalo Bills L 21–26 FOX 10:00 am PT
6 October 11, 1998 at New Orleans Saints W 31–0 FOX 10:00 am PT
7 October 18, 1998 vs Indianapolis Colts W 34–31 CBS 1:00 pm PT
8 October 25, 1998 at St. Louis Rams W 28–10 FOX 10:00 am PT
9 November 1, 1998 at Green Bay Packers L 22–36 FOX 1:00 pm PT
10 November 8, 1998 vs Carolina Panthers W 25–23 FOX 1:00 pm PT
11 November 15, 1998 at Atlanta Falcons L 19–31 FOX 10:00 am PT
12 November 22, 1998 vs New Orleans Saints W 31–20 ESPN 5:15 pm PT
13 November 30, 1998 (Mon) vs New York Giants W 31–7 ABC 6:00 pm PT
14 December 6, 1998 at Carolina Panthers W 31–28 (OT) FOX 1:00 pm PT
15 December 14, 1998 (Mon) vs Detroit Lions W 35–13 ABC 6:00 pm PT
16 December 20, 1998 at New England Patriots L 21–24 FOX 10:00 am PT
17 December 27, 1998 vs St. Louis Rams W 38–19 FOX 1:00 pm PT

Game summaries[edit]

Week 1: vs. New York Jets[edit]

1 234OTTotal
Jets 3 14760 30
49ers 7 7976 36

The game lead tied or changed eight times in regulation as the Jets under Bill Parcells came to Candlestick Park. Jets quarterback Glenn Foley matched Steve Young's three touchdowns and one pick with three scores and one pick of his own; Foley put up 415 yard to Young's 363 yards. The two teams traded punts in overtime; the Niners had to start at their four-yard line and coach Steve Mariucci called "90 O", a run play intended to get away from their own endzone. Garrison Hearst burst through a hole and raced 96 yards straddling the sideline, getting key blocks from Dave Fiore despite an injured leg, and from Terrell Owens for the touchdown and a 36–30 Niners win.

Week 2: at Washington Redskins[edit]

The Niners crushed the Redskins 45–10 with 504 yards of offense and three touchdowns by Steve Young. The Redskins coughed up the ball three times in the loss.

Week 3: Bye[edit]

Bye week

Week 4: vs. Atlanta Falcons[edit]

Hosting the 2–1 Falcons, the Niners picked off Chris Chandler three times and won 31–20 behind 387 passing yards, 50 rushing yards, and three touchdowns from Steve Young. |Weather= 62 °F (Light Rain)

Week 5: at Buffalo Bills[edit]

The Niners traveled to Rich Stadium to face the Bills and crashed hard 26–21 despite 21 fourth-quarter points. The Niners committed 22 penalties eating up 178 yards (compared to Buffalo's 12 fouls for 106), while the two teams' punters Chris Mohr and Reggie Roby combined for 323 punting yards.

Week 6: at New Orleans Saints[edit]

Still smarting from their poor performance at Buffalo, the Niners traveled to the Superdome and crushed Mike Ditka's Saints 31–0. The game was another penalty-laden affair with a combined 24 fouls eating up 240 yards. The Niners shut down Danny Wuerffel and Billy Joe Tolliver, limiting them to 15 completions for 174 yards and a pick.

Week 7: vs Indianapolis Colts[edit]

The Niners hosted the Colts and their new quarterback Peyton Manning. The Colts immediately served notice for the future as they raced to a 21–0 lead behind two Manning scores to Marvin Harrison and a 65-yard score from future Ram Marshall Faulk. The Niners clawed back as Steve Young threw three touchdowns and ran in a fourth; a botched point-after kick led to a Jerry Rice two-point conversion catch from Young to tie the game, then Wade Richey's 24-yard field goal won it 34–31 for the Niners. |Weather= 68 °F (Sunny)

Week 8: at St. Louis Rams[edit]

Hitting the TWA Dome, the Niners cruised to a 28–10 win over the Rams as Steve Young overcame two picks with three touchdowns and budding superstar Terrell Owens ran in a 21-yard score. The Niners picked off Tony Banks three times.

Week 9: at Green Bay Packers[edit]

For the fifth straight time the Niners fell to the Green Bay Packers, this time 36–22 at Lambeau Field. The Niners overcame a botched punt snap for a safety and erased a 16–0 Packer lead to take the lead 22–19 in the third quarter. From there, despite three Brett Favre interceptions, it all fell apart for the Niners as the Packers unleashed 17 unanswered points.

Week 10: vs. Carolina Panthers[edit]

Ty Detmer took over for Steve Young against the 1–7 Panthers, throwing for 276 yards and three touchdowns (to J.J. Stokes and Terrell Owens), but three interceptions kept the Panthers in the game and they took a 23–22 lead before Wade Richey's 46-yard field goal capped a 25–23 Niners win. |Weather= 57 °F (Cloudy)

Week 11: at Atlanta Falcons[edit]

The battle for the NFC West had now become a true battle as the 7–2 Falcons hosted the 7–2 Niners and things got ugly for San Francisco. Steve Young managed 342 passing yards but only 21 completions; the Falcons grabbed a fumble at the Niners goalline for a Jessie Tuggle touchdown and when Young connected on long-range scores to Terrell Owens and Jerry Rice, Chris Chandler put the game away on his 78-yard strike to Terance Mathis. The 31–19 Falcons win marked the end of the Niners' hold on the division crown that season.

Week 16: at New England Patriots[edit]

Following four straight wins the Niners traveled to Foxboro Stadium to face a struggling Patriots squad. Regular starter Drew Bledsoe was out for the year with a broken throwing hand so backup Scott Zolak took over. The Niners scored 21 second-quarter points (including a touchdown from backup Ty Detmer), but the Patriots battled back and tied the game, then won it in the final seconds on Adam Vinatieri's 35-yard field goal. Terrell Owens was held to three catches for 61 yards; a pass for Owens was intercepted by Ty Law.


NFC West
(2) Atlanta Falcons 14 2 0 .875 442 289 W9
(4) San Francisco 49ers 12 4 0 .750 479 328 W1
New Orleans Saints 6 10 0 .375 305 359 L3
Carolina Panthers 4 12 0 .250 336 413 W2
St. Louis Rams 4 12 0 .250 285 378 L2


NFC Wild Card vs Green Bay Packers[edit]

NFC Wild Card: Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Packers 3 14 01027
49ers 7 3 101030

at 3Com Park, San Francisco

  • Date: January 3, 1999
  • Game time: 1:25 p.m. PDT
Game information
First quarter

Second quarter

Third quarter

Fourth quarter

For the first time in the Brett Favre era the 49ers pulled off a victory over the Packers. After a late Packers touchdown the Niners trailed 27–23 and a continuing issue during the game was dropped passes by receiver Terrell Owens. In the final ten seconds Steve Young dropped back in the Packers redzone, stumbled but stayed on his feet, then heaved the ball to the endzone where Owens caught it, landed in the endzone with four seconds left, and the Niners had pulled out one of the most dramatic wins in their history. This play is often referred to by 49ers fans as "the Catch II", the 1st "Catch" being the touchdown from Joe Montana to Dwight Clark in the final minute against the Cowboys in the 1981 playoffs. It's the final playoff win that Young would achieve.

NFC Divisional Playoff at Atlanta Falcons[edit]

NFC Divisional Round: San Francisco 49ers at Atlanta Falcons – Game summary
1 2 34Total
49ers 0 10 0818
Falcons 7 7 3320

at Georgia Dome, Atlanta

  • Date: January 9, 1999
  • Game time: 12:30 p.m. EST

The game started poorly for the 13–5 49ers, who lost 1,500-yard rusher Garrison Hearst to a broken bone in his left leg on the first play of the game. Backup Terry Kirby was able to only rush for 46 yards. With their running game hobbled, the 49ers trailed 14–0 at the half, and 20–10 going into the fourth quarter. With 2:57 remaining, Young scored on an 8-yard run and the team converted a two-point conversion after a botched snap, to bring the score to 20–18. The 49ers had one more chance to win with the ball deep in their own territory but Young threw a pass that was picked off by the Falcon's William White.[1]

Awards and records[edit]

  • Franchise Record, Most Rushing Yards in One Game, 328 Rushing Yards (vs. Detroit Lions on December 14, 1998) [2]
  • Led NFL, Total Yards, 6,800 Total Yards [3]
  • Garrison Hearst, Franchise Record, Most Rushing Yards in One Season, 1,570 Rushing Yards[4]
  • Steve Young, Franchise Record, Most Touchdown Passes in One Season, 36 Touchdown Passes[4]
  • Steve Young, Led NFL, Touchdown Passes, 36 Passes[5]


  1. ^ "Dirty Birds Soar To Victory". CNNSI.com. 1999-01-10. Retrieved 2013-08-08.
  2. ^ NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 248
  3. ^ NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 456
  4. ^ a b NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 142
  5. ^ NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 450

External links[edit]