Tue, 07 Dec 2021

75 for 75: Turkey Day Party

San Francisco 49ers
26 Nov 2021, 04:44 GMT+10

Joe Hession

"75 for 75" is an article series from the 49ers Museum highlighting legendary moments in 49ers history as part of the team's 75th Anniversary celebrations in 2021.

-- November 23, 1972

Thanksgiving is always a day of celebration. On Turkey Day in 1972, nobody showed more jubilation than 49ers linebacker Skip Vanderbundt. Playing at Texas Stadium against the bitterest of rivals, Vanderbundt helped eviscerate the Dallas Cowboys with a pair of defensive touchdowns in the 49ers 31-10 win.

His first score came early in the second period after All-Pro linebacker Dave Wilcox crushed Cowboys quarterback Craig Morton on a blitz. Morton coughed up the pigskin and Vanderbundt scooped it up and bolted toward the goal line.

"I could hear all these footsteps behind me but I didn't dare look back," Vanderbundt said.

It turned out to be a convoy of 49ers hoping to lay a block on any Cowboy that got in the way. There were none. Vanderbundt skipped into the end zone untouched and the 49ers tied the game at 7-7.

After running back Ken Willard and tight end Ted Kwalick posted touchdowns, and the 49ers increased their lead to 24-10 in the fourth period, Vanderbundt added the coup de grace. Morton tried to connect with Cowboys receiver Lance Alworth in the flat, but Vanderbundt had it sniffed out. He stepped in front of the future Pro Football Hall of Famer, picked off Morton's pass at the 21 yard line, and waltzed into the end zone. Again.

Vanderbundt joined the 49ers as a third-round draft choice from Oregon State in 1968. He played nine seasons in San Francisco from 1969 to 1977.

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