Montana doesn't miss a beat, returns to rout Cards

Updated: October 14, 2005, 4:45 PM ET
By Larry Schwartz | Special to ESPN.com

Nov. 9, 1986

In the opening game of the season, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana had suffered a back injury. Today, 55 days after undergoing a two-hour operation to repair a herniated disk and two days after his doctor indicated that it would be crazy for Montana to play again, he's back.

It looks as if Montana's never been gone, as he connects with Jerry Rice for three touchdown passes, of 45, 40 and 44 yards. Given outstanding protection by his offensive line, Montana completes 13-of-19 passes for 270 yards in a 43-17 rout of the St. Louis Cardinals.

"We've gone to an awful lot of places with Joe," says right guard Randy Cross. "Armies fight hard for Lancelot; they fight even harder for King Arthur."