By Brian Kalchik @BrianKalchik on May 19, 2014
In the 1983 NFC Divisional playoff, the Lions trailed the 49ers 17-9 in the fourth quarter. Despite two missed FGs by Eddie Murray in the fourth, the Lions would take a 23-17 behind two touchdown runs by Sims.
The 49ers would come back and take a 24-23 lead with just 1:23 remaining. Murray had a chance to win the game on a 43-yard field goal late, but the kick was missed.
Here are five reasons why Murray can't be blamed for the loss.
The Lions' defense, led by players like Doug English and William Gay, gave up the second-fewest points in the league in 1983 and had a chance to seal the win.
Holding a 23-17 lead with just under five minutes left, Detroit allowed Montana to direct the 49ers from their own 30-yard line to Detroit's 27 before the two-minute warning. Detroit then allowed Montana to find Freddie Solomon wide open in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown.
Instead of blaming the Lions and Murray for the loss, credit should be given instead to the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers became the team of the 1980s and perhaps the greatest dynasty in NFL history by playing well when it mattered most in big games.
Despite being outgained by the Lions and giving up the lead in the fourth quarter, the 49ers' defense and Joe Montana made enough big plays throughout the game to end up being victorious.
Despite have a subpar game by his standards (18-for-31 for 201 yards with one touchdown and one interception), Montana was at his finest late.
Down 23-17 and without his top receiver Dwight Clark, who was out with torn knee ligaments, Montana drove the 49ers the length of the field. Montana then connected with Solomon for his only touchdown pass of the game and gave the 49ers the lead with just under two minutes to play.
The loss can't be pinned on Murray because without him, the Lions wouldn't have even been in the game.
Murray accounted for Detroit's first nine points of the game with made field goals of 37, 21 and 54 yards, the latter was the longest postseason field goal make in NFL history at the time. Without Murray's kicks, the Lions would have been scoreless heading into the fourth quarter, without the chance of even attempting a comeback.
Most of the blame should be directed towards QB Gary Danielson and not Murray. Despite being an injury replacement for Eric Hipple, Danielson had one of his worst games ever.
Danielson threw four interceptions in the first half and a fifth in the third quarter. The Lions' offense would move the ball against the 49ers' defense all day, but Danielson's turnovers were ultimately the deciding factor in the loss.
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