The San Francisco 49ers long considered also-rans in the NFL surprised everybody by beating pout their downstate rivals from Los Angeles for the division crown. In addition surprising many observers by going to frigid Minnesota and upsetting the powerful Minnesota Vikings for the first ever playoff win for the franchise. This is a look back at some of the best wins for Dick Nolan’s squad in 1970.
September 27, 1970 Kezar Stadium San Francisco, CA: San Francisco 34 Cleveland 31: In a back forth game with Cleveland John Brodie hit running back Jimmy Thomas with a 61-yard scoring pass with 8:52 left in the game to put the 49ers up for good. This came after a eight-yard scoring run from Cleveland’s Leroy Kelly. After the 49ers score Cleveland was forced to put and San Francisco ran the clock down 22 seconds left. Brodie had two other touchdown passes in the game when he hit running back Ken Wilard from 5-yards out and Thomas earlier 15-yards out. The another 49ers touchdown came on a Mel Phillips interception of Browns quarterback Bill Nelson in the first quarter a 35-yard return. Willard also had a nine-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter putting San Francisco up 27-24. Nelson of the Browns injured his knee in the fourth quarter and was replaced by Don Gault who guided them on the Kelly touchdown, But threw a key interception to 49ers linebacker Dave Wilcox which setup the winning score. In the first quarter Browns running back Bo Scott scored from three-yards out. Nelson hit Fair Hooker on a eight-yard scoring pass in the second quarter. Kelly in the third quarter broke away for a 33-yard scoring run to give Cleveland the lead going into the fourth quarter. Hooker led all receivers with 157-yards in the air and Willard do so with the runners with 105-yards on the ground.
October 25, 1970 Kezar Stadium San Francisco CA: San Francisco 19 Denver 14: The visiting Denver Broncos making their first trip to San Francisco making themselves unfriendly guests jumped out to a 14-6 halftime lead. The Broncos scored in each of the first two quarters when Floyd Little bolted 80-yards for one score and quarterback Pete Liske hit Willis Crenshaw from 10-yards out. The only 49ers scores came when kicker Bruce Gossett hit field goals from 16 and 20-yards out. In the second hald the 49ers defense shutout the Broncos attack. While the offense for the 49ers woke up when John Brodie hit John Isenbarger for a 61-yard score in the third quarter narrowing Denver’s lead to one. Gossett connected on two more field goals in the second half this timefrom 25 and 13-yards away for the go ahead and clinching points. Denver mistakes in the second half helped out San Francisco like whe Mel Phillips interception of a Liske pass setup the fourth Gossett field goal. Denver had a chance to go ahead in the game. Another moment occurred at 6:54 into the fourth quarter Broncos quarterback Steve Tensi on third-and-two on the 49ers 25 threw an interception in the end one to Jimmy Johnson. After an offside call with no time left on the clock in 49ers territory gave the Broncos on last shot. But liske who came back into the game for an injured Tensi was intercepted by Skip Vanderbundt in the end zone to ice the game.
November 1, 1970 Kezar Stadium San Francisco, Ca: San Francisco 26 Green Bay 10: The Green Bay Packers contributed greatly to this victory for the 49ers with four interception and two fumbles. The 49ers where able to jump ahead of the Packers in the second half when John Brodie hit Jimmy Thomas down the sideline for 53-yards setting up the go ahead touchdown. Two plays later, Doug Cunning ran in from the 6 to make the score 17-10. On the ensuing kickoff Ken Ellis of the Packers fumbled the kickoff and Elmer Collett of the 49ers recovered at the Green bay 24. Bruce Gossett kicked the second of his four field goals this time from 24-yards out. In the fourth quarter Frank Nunley’s interception of a Don Horn pass led to a 41-yard Gossett field goal. With the Packers driving deep into 49ers territory Al Randolph picked off another Horn pass in the end zone. Five plays later Gossett kicked a 36-yard field goal to conclude the scoring. In the first half a Bruce Taylor interception of a Bart Starr pass who ran it back 70-yards to setup a touchdown. Brodie hit Bob Windsor from 6-yards out for the score. The Packers two scores came aboutfrom a Dale Livingston 9-yard field goal and a Horn to Jack Clancy 33-yard scoring pass. Late in the first half Gossett kicked a 12-yard field goal tying the game at 10.
These are just some of the best moments from the 1970 NFC West Champion San Francisco 49ers. The offense was doing the job and the defense led by Hall of Fame players Jimmy Johnson and Dave Wilcox gave the them a tough stout defense in 1970.
1970 San Francisco 49ers John Schaefer
1970 San Francisco 49ers www.profootballreference.com
History of the San Francisco 49ers DVD NFL Films