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Tennessee finishes short by one miracle

Rally would have capped one of the most impressive in Super Bowl history, but ends at the 1.

[AP photo]
Tenessee Titans wide receiver Kevin Dyson is tackled just short of the goal by St. Louis Rams' Mike Jones on the last play of the Super Bowl.

By TIMES WIRES

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 31, 2000


ATLANTA -- The Tennessee Titans ran out of miracles on the 1-yard line.

Eddie George's two touchdowns in an eight-minute span of the second half almost sparked one of the greatest rallies ever, but the Titans fell a Tennessee two-step short.

"It was one hell of a ride," he said. "It will always be special to me. We just didn't make enough plays."

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Tennessee trailed 16-0 before George took over.

The 1995 Heisman Trophy winner was a non-factor in the first half, nearly ignored, with seven carries for 18 yards. But then came the third quarter, and he flashed the form that made him one of only four backs to gain 1,200 yards or more in each of his first four NFL season.

First, he capped a 12-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown run with 14 seconds left in the quarter.

That was nothing compared with his fourth-quarter performance.

He carried seven times on the Titans' next possession, the final one a beauty.

Tennessee had second-and-goal from the 1, and George just couldn't be stopped.

He broke three tackles to reach the end zone, getting some help from officials, who failed to rule the play dead when his left knee touched the turf short of the goal line. Another burst put him over the line and the knee was overlooked.

Then George stood up and screamed for his teammates to get going.

But on the final drive, which began with 1:54 remaining, there wasn't enough time for a ground game, so the Titans turned to Steve McNair.

George had one last chance to help. But after catching 47 passes in the regular season, he failed to turn around for a pass from McNair with half a minute left, and the ball bounced off his elbow.

With six seconds left, McNair almost came through, finding Kevin Dyson over the middle just inside the 5 on what would be the final play. Dyson spun toward the end zone, trying and trying to reach it as time expired.

But Mike Jones was there to hook his hip and bring him down. No touchdown. No tie. No more miracles.

George could only watch.

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