There are times when Mile High Stadium in Denver actually shakes from the pounding and roaring of Bronco fans. That's what it was like when Joe Montana led the Kansas City Chief offense onto the field with 1:22 left in the Monday night game that concluded Week 7. Ahead 24-21 the Chiefs had been trying to run out the clock with 2:45 left when the redoubtable Marcus Allen fumbled the ball away. A minute later Bronco quarterback John Elway scrambled for a touchdown, giving desperate 1-4 Denver a 28-24 lead. The Broncos seemed to be on their way to their 12th straight home win over Kansas City. But it was not to be.
Beginning on his own 25-yard line, Montana dumped a pass off to Allen on first down for eight yards and then let Allen ramble for 10. After a timeout Montana connected with tight end Derrick Walker at the right sideline for eight. Montana threw to back Kimble Anders for two and the first down. Then he found Anders again, but Anders dropped it. Now 36 seconds remained. The Chiefs, at the Denver 47, had one timeout left.
Montana dumped the ball in the left flat to Anders, who gained 11 yardsbefore stepping out and stopping the clock. Then Montana cocked his arm, aiming at wideout Willie Davis deep. Suddenly Davis fell. Adjusting in an eye blink, Montana found Walker 12 yards up the right sideline. Walker came up hurt and waved for rookie Tracy Greene, who had yet to make an NFL catch, to enter the game.
Montana sent the kid on a post and rifled a spiral past the left hand of lunging linebacker Elijah Alexander into Greene's numbers. First down at Denver's five. Timeout. Thirteen seconds left. Montana, who earlier had thrown a TD pass to tackle Joe Valerio (73) while the latter lined up at tight end, wanted a tight end again: Walker or Greene. Greene ran a post. Montana looked. Too well covered. Walker ran a crossing pattern. Montana looked.
Blanketed. Montana looked right and saw Davis streaking toward the flag, trailed by two defenders. It was a perfect throw. Davis stretched and finger-tipped the ball to his chest, then ducked into the end zone.
Mile High fell quiet. Allen, smiling, went up to Montana and hugged the quarterback. "Thanks for bailing me out," he said.