American Football: Montana is the Chief architect

Click to follow
A FIELD goal in overtime took the Kansas City Chiefs into the second round of American football's play-offs yesterday. The Chiefs beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-24, but needed a touchdown two minutes from the end of normal time to stay in the hunt for a place in Super Bowl XXVIII.

Joe Montana, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers' four Super Bowl titles, worked the same magic for the Chiefs, who now visit Houston to play the Oilers next Sunday. The crucial score, which levelled the game at 24-24, was the climax of a 66-yard drive, which ended with a seven-yard pass from Montana to Tim Barnett on fourth down.

From 32 yards, Nick Lowery then kicked his game-winning field goal 11 minutes into overtime after having missed a chance to win the game in regulation from 43 yards.

Montana's triumph may be a happy omen for two other veteran quarterbacks who will be at the centre of today's action in the other play-off matches.

Jim McMahon, who led the Chicago Bears to Super Bowl triumph in 1985, will be at the controls for the Minnesota Vikings, who travel to face the New York Giants, where Phil Simms is back in charge. Simms was the quarterback in the Giants' 1987 championship side but, under head coach Ray Handley, lost his place to Jeff Hostetler. However, Dan Reeves, the present Giants coach, restored the 37-year-old Simms to the starting line-up.

Hostetler, meanwhile, will be aiming to take his new club, the Los Angeles Raiders, further in the play-offs by beating the Denver Broncos in today's other game at the LA Coliseum. This is a re-match of last Sunday's final regular season game, which the Raiders won 33-30 in overtime.