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1987 San Francisco 49ers season

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Record  13–2
Head coach  Bill Walsh
Home field  Candlestick Park
Division place  1st NFC West
Start date  1987
1987 San Francisco 49ers season
Playoff finish  Lost NFC Divisional Playoff (Minnesota Vikings)
Similar  1987 New Orleans Saints se, 1988 San Francisco 49ers sea, 1984 San Francisco 49ers sea, 1989 San Francisco 49ers sea, 1980 San Francisco 49ers sea

The 1987 San Francisco 49ers season was the team's 38th year with the National Football League. The 49ers won the division for the second consecutive season, and ended the season as the top seed in the NFC playoffs. The season ended with an upset loss to the Minnesota Vikings in the divisional round of the playoffs.


The season

The 49ers lost the first game of the season to Pittsburgh. It appeared that they were going to start the season 0–2, down by 6 points with just seconds to play. But quarterback Joe Montana threw a 25-yard pass to wide receiver Jerry Rice as time expired. The 49ers used the victory as a springboard to a 13–1 run to end the season with the best record in the NFL.

The 49ers scored 459 points, the most in the NFL in 1987; they also scored 206 more points than they allowed, best in the league as well. The 49ers gained the most total yards (5,987), the most rushing yards (2,237) and second most passing yards (3,750) in the NFL in 1987.

Wide receiver Jerry Rice was named NFL Offensive Player of the Year and the Bert Bell Award (for Player of the Year). Rice caught 22 touchdown passes in a strike-shortened 12 games, a record that stood for twenty years(with the 23rd reception occurring on the 16th and final game of the season). Rice led the league in receiving yards per game (89.8), total touchdowns (23), and points scored (138). Quarterback Joe Montana led the league with 31 touchdown passes. He also led the league in passer rating (102.1) and completion percentage (66.8%).

The San Francisco defense was also very strong, surrendering the fewest total yards (4,095), fewest passing yards (2,484) and fifth-fewest rushing yards (1,611) in the NFL in 1987. The 1987 49ers have the best passer rating differential (offensive passer rating minus opponents' combined passer rating) of the Live Ball Era (1978–present), with +52.4.


When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected quarterback Vinny Testaverde first overall in the 1987 NFL Draft, Tampa Bay quarterback Steve Young was traded to the 49ers on April 24, 1987. The Buccaneers received 2nd and 4th round draft picks in the trade, which they used to draft Miami linebacker Winston Moss, and Arizona State wide receiver Bruce Hill.

NFL Draft

  • Harris Barton was the first offensive lineman selected in the first round of the NFL Draft by the 49ers since Forrest Blue was selected in 1968.
  • Roster

    Steve Young & Joe Montana

    Regular season

    In 1987, Jerry Rice led the NFL with 22 Touchdown receptions. The runner-up was Philadelphia Eagles receiver Mike Quick with 11. This marked the first time in NFL history that a category leader doubled the total of his nearest competitor.

    NFC Divisional Playoff vs Minnesota Vikings

    The 13-2 49ers suffer one of the biggest upsets in playoff history as the 8-7 Vikings came into Candlestick and beat the 49ers 36-24. Vikings QB Wade Wilson throws for 298 yards, and Anthony Carter catches 10 passes for 227 yards. Joe Montana struggled so much, that Steve Young came in to relieve him. Though he played better, it wasn't enough. The Vikings took a 20-3 halftime lead, and held on for the major upset.

    Awards and records

  • Jerry Rice, Franchise Record, Most Touchdowns in One Season, 23 Touchdowns
  • Jerry Rice, Franchise Record, Most Points in One Season, 138 Points
  • Jerry Rice, NFL Leader, 23 Touchdowns
  • Jerry Rice, Bert Bell Award
  • References

    1987 San Francisco 49ers season Wikipedia

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