January 20, 1985
San Francisco 49ers – 38
Miami Dolphins – 16
This Super Bowl was hyped as the battle between two great quarterbacks, Miami’s Dan Marino and San Francisco’s Joe Montana – and indeed this was the first Super Bowl ever in which the starting quarterbacks of each team both threw for over 300 yards. In addition, the two teams combined total of 851 offensive yards was a Super Bowl record (later broken in Super Bowl XXII & Super Bowl XXXVIII). But the 49ers would end up taking the game in dominating fashion. It would be Marino’s only trip to the Super Bowl during his 17 year career.
Montana, who was named the Super Bowl MVP, completed 24 of 35 passes for a Super Bowl record 331 yards and three touchdowns. He also had 5 rushes for 59 yards and 1 rushing touchdown. His 59 rushing yards were the most rushing yards ever gained by a quarterback in the Super Bowl at that time.
Going into the game the two teams had combine for 33 wins – a Super Bowl record.
This Super Bowl was unique in that it fell on the same day that Ronald Reagan was inaugurated for a second term as President of the United States. Because January 20 fell on a Sunday, Reagan was sworn in privately and the public ceremony took place the following day.
The 49ers advanced to their second Super Bowl in team history after becoming the first team ever to win 15 regular season games since the league expanded to a 16-game schedule in 1978.
As the Dolphins advanced to the Super Bowl for the fifth time in franchise history, much of the media focus was on Miami’s young quarterback Dan Marino. In just his second year in the league, he broke nearly every NFL single season passing record. Marino set a record for the most completions in a season (362) and became the first quarterback ever to throw for over 5,000 yards, reaching a total of 5,084. He set the record for the most games throwing for at least 300 passing yards (9) and the most games with 400 yards (4). Marino’s 48 touchdown passes broke the previous record of 36, which was held by both George Blanda for the Houston Oilers in 1961 and Y.A. Tittle for the New York Giants in 1963. And he played the most games with at least 4 or more touchdown passes (6) and the most consecutive games with at least 4 touchdown passes (4).
The Dolphins gained 405 yards of total offense in their 31-10 playoff win over the Seattle Seahawks, and over 500 yards as they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers, 45-28, in the AFC Championship Game. In the victory over the Steelers, Marino completed 21 of 32 passes for 421 yards and 4 touchdowns, with 1 interception.
Meanwhile, the 49ers’ underrated defense allowed the team to blitz through the playoffs. Although Montana threw a combined total of 5 interceptions in their 2 games, they only gave up a combined total of 10 points and zero touchdowns in their victories over the New York Giants, 21-10, and the Chicago Bears, 23-0.
At 33-3, the combined records for the two teams coming into the game were and still are the best in Super Bowl history. The 49ers were 17-1 and the Dolphins 16-2 including their playoff games.
On Miami’s first drive, they got a 37-yard field goal from Uwe von Schamann. But, the 3-0 lead did not last long. San Francisco drove 78 yards in 8 plays, culminating in a 33-yard touchdown pass from Montana to reserve running back Carl Monroe to give them a 7-3 lead. It looked like the game was living up to its hype when Miami retook the lead on the next drive. Marino completed five consecutive passes, hitting Mark Clayton for 18 yards, Mark Duper for 11, Clayton again for 13, and tight end Dan Johnson for 21. On the next play, Marino finished the drive by hitting Johnson for a 2-yard touchdown pass, giving the Dolphins a 10-7 lead with 45 seconds left in the first quarter.
Then San Francisco took over the game. The defense shut Miami down. In the second quarter, the 49ers drove, and Joe Montana threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Roger Craig, giving the 49ers a 14-10 lead. Miami had to punt when they got the ball back. Montana completed a pair of passes to tight end Russ Francis to move the ball 29 yards to the Miami 11-yard line. Craig ran for 5 yards on the next play, and then Montana ran the final 6 yards to the end zone for a touchdown, making the score 21-10. Then, San Francisco struck again scoring on a Roger Craig 2 yard run to make the score 28-10.
With 12 seconds left in the half, Miami got another field goal making the score 28-13. Then Miami caught a break as the 49ers botched the ensuing kickoff. San Francisco lineman Guy McIntyre received Van Schamann’s short kick and was about to down the ball, but then changed his mind at the last second and decided to return it. This turned out to be a big mistake. McIntyre lost a fumble while being leveled by rookie Joe Carter, and Jim Jensen recovered the ball for Miami at the 49ers 12-yard line. After that, Von Schamann kicked his third field goal on the last play of the half, cutting the score to 28-16.
On their first drive of the second half, San Francisco got a 27 yard field goal from kicker Ray Wersching making the score 31-16. On the Dolphins’ ensuing drive, they were forced to punt again after Marino was sacked twice. Starting their own 30-yard line after a 5-yard return by McLemore, Montana completed a 40-yard pass to Tyler, followed up with a 14-yard completion to Francis. Three plays later, Craig scored his third touchdown on a 16-yard reception to make the score 38-16. The score proved to be the last one from either team, as the defenses of both teams took over for the rest of the game – especially the 49ers’ defense, who intercepted Marino twice.