After the loss to the Vikings, the Chronicle’s Lowell Cohn said: “What was once a clear order of supremacy at quarterback – Montana and then Young – is now muddy. Montana probably has the edge, but if he falters in a game, gets off to a slow start or does not satisfy Walsh’s extreme demands for quarterback play, Walsh will yank him for Young. What’s to prevent Walsh from doing that again when he’s done it once already? Montana now faces a fight for his job.”
Even before the game, Montana said he recognized that Walsh was gradually easing him in the direction of retirement. Dwight Clark, who’d announced his own plans to retire, initially said Walsh pulling Montana for Young was a “bull – – – – move . . . I don’t see how you can put the best quarterback in the NFL on the bench.”
Dwight backed off a little after a few days, and said Montana “wasn’t the only one struggling out there. We were all struggling. We just couldn’t get away from that push up front (by the Vikings).” He added: “There already is a quarterback controversy, it looks like to me.”
Tim McKyer said of Anthony Carter’s performance: “I just got through looking at the tape and I still don’t believe some of the catches he made. Damn, that was awesome.”
The Chronicle’s Glenn Dickey made his own statements on the quarterback controversy: “Walsh also knows that Montana is no longer effective against a team with a great pass rush. Joe showed that in the playoff game against the Giants last year, before he was knocked out with a concussion. He showed that with an ineffective game against New Orleans, the last game the 49ers had lost. He played only three series against the Chicago Bears, but he was sacked twice.
No longer fast enough to consistently evade pass rushers, Montana seems more conscious of the rush now than he was before, and less able to pick out receivers downfield. He was slow mentally and physically against the Vikings, making poor decisions and throwing inaccurately.”
Dickey predicted: “I expect to see Steve Young at quarterback next fall.”