QB: Peyton Manning
RB: Walter Payton
FB: Tony Richardson
WR: Chad Ochocinco
WR: Terrell Owens
WR: Cris Carter
TE: Antonio Gates
TE: Jason Witten
LT: Walter Jones
LG: Larry Allen
C: Dermontti Dawson
RG: Jerry Kramer
RT: Richmond Webb
DE: Bruce Smith
DT: John Randle
DT: Kris Jenkins
DE: Mark Gastineau
SLB: Wilber Marshall
MLB: Brian Urlacher
WLB: Derrick Brooks
CB: Erich Barnes
SS: Jake Scott
FS: Johnny Robinson
CB: Ty Law
NB: Jimmy Patton
K: Adam Vinatieri
P: Rich Camarillo
RET: Eric Metcalf
San Fran’s front 7 represents a formidable threat. However the secondary looks exploitable. So I will employ the strategy Brown hit on in his early days in Cinncy. Using the pass to set up the run with what would become the West Coast Offence. Steve Young has the high percentage passing to sure-handed receivers like Smith, Smith, Sharpe and Berry. He also has the mobility to buy time in the pocket, roll out on bootlegs and take off with coverage. Being left-handed also gives him the advantage of being able see Bruce Smith coming and has his blind-side covered by Bruce Matthews (arguably the best interior lineman ever) and Ron Mix.
In accordance with a heavier passing attack I will be throwing out Single-back sets. Sanders was able to rack up pro bowl seasons in the Run-n-shoot, which will leave the Niners with the delima of going into nickel or risking receiving mismatches keeping their front 7 on the field. In that case they will have the problem of opening up the underneath or letting Bullet get behind the coverage. Barry will also get the advantage of the downfield blocking and Paul Brown’s bread-n-butter the Draw.
The 2TE Single Back set will also be a match up night mare. Jerry Smith and Sharpe can block or catch making it difficult for the D to anticipate and affording Young the opportunity to audible.
Csonka, being well rested, will be available as a short-yardage hammer.
The one-two punch of Manning and Sweetness is a formidable threat. However, going up the middle Payton has Lilly, Childress, Dennis Smith and Nobis to contend with. The last of whom Csonka said he’s rather play against Budkis. Going to the right he’ll have to escape Too Tall’s wide wing span and Howley’s speed and recognition. On the left there’s the Hangman to contend with.
All three linebackers were smart, fast and hard working players and something to consider about Lilly and Howley, between 1964 and 1972 the Cowboys had the best run defense five times and second best three times.
That leaves Manning to deal with. Peyton is not the most mobile QB and my starting defense averaged together over 3 sacks a game. My front line had career totals of Taylor 126.5, Lilly 94, Childress 76.5, Jones 106 and Fletcher 97.5. Too Tall will be all up in Peyton’s face and Taylor will be going after his blind side.
I also have a ball hawking offense, their cumulative average is 3 turnovers a game and a TD return every 4th game. In my secondary I have the #1, #3, #5 and #11(tied) career INT leaders. Dennis Smith had 30, Howley had 27, Hanburger 19 and Taylor 8, impressive totals for their position. With Young’s efficiency, Sanders’ ball protection and my sure handed receivers I should win the turnover battle.
My secondary should be able to deal with TO and his drops Ochcinco and Cris Carter. Howley and Hanburger are fast and smart enough to cover the double TE threat of Witten and Gates. Dennis Smith is also fast and smart enough to match up with a TE.
With Danny White being a QB and punter I should be able to run a fake punt if needed or confuse coverage packages by lining up in an offensive formation and punting.
With two great return men in Hayes and Cribbs I should be able to win the Field position battle and get some short fields.
On offense I will be doing nothing different than in the first round: Using spread sets to take advantage of my superior skill, size, and athleticism among the skill positions. Berry, Smith, Hayes, Sharpe is a nice group but just does not match up with Carter, Owens, Gates, and Ochocinco in overall production or athleticism. Running back is a wash.
I have the advantage in the QB department. Young is my favorite player of all-time, but most QBs would take a backseat to Manning, who may be the best pure passer ever. Contrary to my opponents belife, I will have no problems protecting Manning - my offensive line has a big size advantage and is athletic to combat speed rushers. Manning is also perhaps the smartest QB to ever play the position. His intuitiveness and great decision making means he will have no trouble getting the ball out.
I also have one of the premier offensive minds to ever be involved in the game. Walsh will be able to combat any defensive scheme thrown at him and make any adjustments if needed.
The secondary is admittedly my weakness. But if you have a pass rush, secondary problems can be disguised or avoided. On the ends, Bruce Smith is one of the best pass rushers of all-time, and Gastineau had a great peak where he dominated the pass rushing category. My interior line can get after the QB as well. Randle was the best pass rushing DT of his era, and Glover had a consistent career as a pass rusher in the middle. Plus, I simply don't think the Showboats have the depth at receiver to truly take advantage of my secondary.
And if the game is close, I have the most clutch kicker in history to lean back on.
49ers escape with narrow 34-31 OT win over Showboats
Memphis (AP)--In what was a back and forth battle, the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Memphis Showboats on the strength of an overtime FG by Adam Vinatieri, after Payton Manning threw 4 TD passes including the game-tying toss with :13 left in regulation.
The first quarter would see each team score a TD. San Francisco opened the scoring when Manning found Cris Carter in the end zone after a quick, 6 play 69 yard drive. Memphis would then respond with Barry Sanders scoring from 18 yards out.
In the second quarter, the defenses would tighten up. Derrick Brooks would make an interception of Steve Young to set up the 49ers in good field position, but on the very next play a botched Walter Payton would cough the ball after a huge hit by Chuck Howley and Rod Woodson would return the ball deep into San Francisco territory. Young would take it in himself a few plays later to put Memphis up 14-7.
Both teams would then trade FGs and the score entering the half would be 17-10 Memphis.
In the 3rd quarter, Payton Manning would take over, with a pair of touchdowns to Chad Ochocinco. The first one would cap a 10 play drive which featured hard running from Payton. The second one showed the 49ers quick strike ability, as, set up by a good return from Eric Metcalf, Manning found Ochocinco for a 56 yard return.
Young would then engineer a huge drive to tie the game as the 4th quarter began. After 2 key 3rd down scrambles, Sanders would finish the drive with an 11 yard run to the corner of the end zone. After the Memphis defense forced a three and out, Young would give Memphis the lead back with a 21 yard strike over the middle to Shannon Sharpe.
That would set the stage for Manning's heroics. Needing a touchdown to tie the game, he faced a critical 4th down with 50 seconds left at the 49ers 47 yard line. A huge conversion to Antonio Gates kept the drive going, followed by completions to Terrell Owens and Ochocinco. Manning would then find Gates in the end zone for the tying score to send the game to OT.
The 49ers won the toss, and would not relinquish the ball. A quick screen to Owens would net 31 yards, followed by a Manning completion to Gates to set up the winning kick from 37 yards out.
With the win, the 49ers advance to the NFC Championship game in Philadelphia against the Eagles.