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Playoff Bowl: Green Bay Packers 40, Cleveland Browns 23

Sunday January 5th 1964 (at Miami)


(MIAMI) - Coach Vince Lombardi and especially the Cleveland Browns were unanimous today in the sentiment that Bart Starr is the most underrated quarterback in professional football. "Somehow the impression has been created that we're a running team," said Lombardi after Sunday's 40-23 manhandling of the Browns before 54,921 witnessing the fourth annual Playoff Bowl in the Orange Bowl. "Well, you saw what happened, and it's not unusual. In our last four games, Starr has been completing 75 percent of his passes and has thrown the ball up to 30 times a game. Do you call that a running offense?" Starr did a thorough job of dissecting the Cleveland secondary as the Packers rolled up the most points of any team to appear in this January fixture. The eight-year pro from Alabama made a pregame billing of a fullback battle between Jim Taylor and Jimmy Brown look ridiculous. Brown carried 11 times for 56 yards. Taylor scored one of the five Packer touchdowns but totaled just 44 yards for 13 efforts. Starr passed 18, completed 15. Three were touchdown tosses - to Ron Kramer for 19 yards and Tom Moore for 99 in the first quarter, and to Max McGee for 15 yards in the second period. Bart set up a third quarter score, to Moore with a 13-yard pass to the Browns' six-yard line. Moore caught this one, and three others for 142 yards. Starr beat Moore in the voting for most valuable player, and the award was richly deserved. Those two figured in the game's great play, the 99-yarder which matched the longest scoring pass in NFL history. On Oct. 15, 1939. Frank Filchock and Andy Farkas collaborated on a 99-yarder for Washington at Pittsburgh's expense. Last Sept. 15, the Redskins' George Izo and Bobby Mitchell teamed up to equal the feat against these same Browns. Lombardi and Coach Blanton Collier of the Browns agreed that this play, preceded by a magnificent Packer goal line stand, broke the back of the Browns. Green Bay led, 7-0, but the Browns had marched to a first down on the Packer two-yard line. Then Willie Davis, Dave Hanner, Urban Henry, Bill Forester, Dan Currie and the rest of the rugged defensive cast dug in. Halfback Ernie Green got a yard. Brown leaped high at the pile, but was driven back a half-yard short. Then it was Green for no gain and Brown again for no gain, and the Packers took over just inside the one.


On the first down, Taylor rammed the middle and was swarmed by Browns. But there was a catch. Taylor didn't have the football. Instead, Starr had faded back, spotted Moore outlegging the drawn-in defense, and led him with a lob. Moore seized it at the 15 and continued fill tilt down the sidelines with the blushing Cleveland secondary in vain pursuit. Now it was 14-0 and the Packers kept getting tougher as the Browns slowed up. Green Bay's margin was 28-10 at the half, 35-10 after three quarters. The Packers had the ball 10 times, scored on six occasions. There were two interceptions, but Starr had long since sat down. Zeke Bratkowski and John Roach were the quarterback victims. The Packers scored first after slugging 90 yards (72 and 18 more because of a penalty) in six minutes, 14 seconds. The penalty was called in the end zone when Kramer, deciding valor was the better part of discretion, simply knocked down and ran over defensive halfback Larry Benz. Instead of a touchdown, the Packers were back at the 19. Starr merely repeated the procedure, and this time Kramer was a good boy as well as a good receiver. Jerry Kramer kicked the first of his five extra points. After the Browns were stunned with the 99-yarder, they managed to reach the Packer 28, where Green Bay's defense stalled Cleveland, so Lou Groza belted a 35-yard field goal. Starr countered by engineering an 83-yard scoring drive. He made sure of the last 15 by hitting McGee in the end zone. A 30-yard sprint by Elijah Pitts was the feature of this assault. The Browns narrowed it to 21-10 when fullback Ernie Green jammed five yards to cap an 80-yard march and Groza kicked the conversion. But the situation lasted about three minutes. The Packers barreled 83 yards in eight plays, with Taylor going over from a yard out. The rest was window trimming. In the third quarter, a Ryan pass was deflected by Jesse Whittenton into the arms of Willie Wood, who scampered from the Packer 35 to the Browns' 19. Six plays later, on fourth down, Moore struggled over from a yard and a half out.


Kramer got in the act with an eight-yard field goal that made it 38-10 in the fourth quarter with 12:40 left. A 20-yard pass from Ryan to Rick Kreitling and a 25-yarder to 

Bob Crespino made the difference look more respectable. But the Packer defense saved up a final indignity for the last two minutes. With the Browns backed up to their seven-yard line, Lionel Aldridge and Urban Henry closed in and bugged Rayan in the end zone for a safety. The Packers got it out with their pride intact and $600 apiece to the losers' $400. Most underpaid operative besides Starr was Ryan, whose 18 for 28 and 310 yards set a record for this game. The most overpaid was Norton. The 10-year man from Southern Methodist found it necessary to punt only once.

GREEN BAY - 14 14  7  5 - 40

CLEVELAND -  0 10  0 13 - 23

                       GREEN BAY     CLEVELAND

First Downs                   27            20

Rushing-Yards-TD        42-231-2      18-108-1

Att-Comp-Yd-TD-Int 21-15-259-3-2 28-18-310-2-1

Sack Yards Lost                               

Net Passing Yards            259           310

Total Yards                  490           418

Fumbles-lost                 0-0           1-0

Turnovers                      2             1

Yards penalized             4-35          3-31


1st - GB - Ron Kramer, 18-yard pass from Bart Starr (Jerry Kramer kick) GREEN BAY 7-0

1st - GB - Tom Moore, 99-yard pass from Starr (J. Kramer kick) GREEN BAY 14-0

2nd - CLE - Lou Groza, 35-yard field goal GREEN BAY 14-3

2nd - GB - Max McGee, 15-yard pass from Starr (J. Kramer kick) GREEN BAY 21-3

2nd - CLE - Ernie Green, 5-yard run (Groza kick) GREEN BAY 21-10

2nd - GB - Jim Taylor, 1-yard run (J. Kramer kick) GREEN BAY 28-10

3rd - GB - Moore, 1-yard run (J. Kramer kick) GREEN BAY 35-10

3rd - CLE - Rich Kreitling, 20-yard pass from Frank Ryan (Groza kick) GREEN BAY 35-17

4th - GB - J. Kramer, 8-yard field goal GREEN BAY 38-17

4th - CLE - Bob Crespino, 25-yard pass from Ryan (Kick blocked) GREEN BAY 38-23

4th - GB - Safety, Lionel Aldridge and Urban Henry tackled Frank Ryan in the end zone GREEN BAY 40-23


GREEN BAY - Earl Gros 11-80, Jim Taylor 13-44 1 TD, Elijah Pitts 5-41, Tom Moore 8-41 1 TD, Frank Mestnik 5-25

CLEVELAND - Jim Brown 11-56, Ernie Green 6-37 1 TD, Frank Ryan 1-15


GREEN BAY - Bart Starr 18-15-259 3 TD, Zeke Bratkowski 2-0-0 1 INT. John Roach 1-0-0 1 INT

CLEVELAND - Frank Ryan 28-18-310 2 TD 1 INT


GREEN BAY - Boyd Dowler 8-188 2 TD, Max McGee 5-98, Tom Moore 3-37, Jim Taylor 2-14

SAN FRANCISCO - Gary Knafelc 3-31, Kay McFarland 3-30, J.D. Smith 2-21, Bernie Casey 2-8, Monty Stickles 1-0


JAN 6 (Miami-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - As all students of Packer football know, Dave Hanner has been 260 pounds of National League tackle for 12 years, all in Green Bay. As dean of the club, he has watched it grow from patsy to champion under the relentless impetus of Coach Vince Lombardi. This season the Packers were second best. But, in the modest tradition of the runnerup car rental agency, they tried harder. That was the story of Sunday's 40-23 manhandling of the Cleveland Browns, according to both Hanner and Lombardi in the dressing room. The Packer effort could be capsuled in a ferocious goal line stand in the first quarter that broke the back of the Browns, behind only 7-0 at the time and threatening to tie. "Goal line stands are not planned, of course," said Hanner, grinning. "Especially when you're dealing with a guy like Jim Brown. You've got to use just plain claw and gristle, and chew your way into the pile. And it helps to get a little lucky, too. You've got to be there with a gang of guys exactly when the ball carrier makes his move. For the defensive player, the goal line land is the greatest thing you can accomplish. When we stopped Brown on second down, just short, I had a hunch he would pull it off. When we got him again on fourth down, I knew this was our day. Even before Starr hit Moore with that 99-yard pass play." Hanner, a ruddy-faced redhead from Earle, Ark., has a reputation around the league for shrewdness, particularly in detecting the screen, traps and draw plays. In the third quarter, Cleveland quarterback Frank Ryan tried to send Brown over Hanner's spot on the draw. Nothing. The burly veteran smacked Brown to the turf for a one-yard loss. "You can 

read the draw often from the blocking pattern," said Hanner. "Usually the guard set up to block you squared

Cleveland Browns receiver Gary Collins and Green Bay cornerback Herb Adderley battle for the football during the 1964 Playoff Bowl in Miami

away between you and the quarterback. But on the draw, most of the time, he'll be turned a little to the inside or outside, inviting you to take whichever route the play calls for. If he sets up to five me an outside route, I fight to the inside." Hanner agreed with a dressing room consensus that the club was mentally fit. "It's one thing to have a good time down here and all that. But you've got to work for the game. It takes a lot of conditioning, especially mental. Lombardi is great for keeping us hustling." "What surprised me," Hanner volunteered, "was the way we won it. I didn't think it would be quite that easy. They seemed to let down a lot after that goal line stand." Hanner, 33, has no plans to retire. "I'll be back," he said, "if they let me." The remark was relayed to Lombardi. "We'll let him," snapped the skipper..."We made some mistakes," said Cleveland Coach Blanton Collier, who said his Browns "broke down a few times." "We made mistakes," echoed Cleveland's defensive back Bernie Parrish. But Lombardi wasn't ready to jump on the bandwagon. "This was an AFL game - no defense," he said. "We started 14 points behind," Collier said, indicating incorrectly that the Packers might have done a little scoring before the kickoff. "After that, it didn't make much difference." Who called the 99-yard Packer TD? "Starr calls everything," said Lombardi. "On that play our safety men missed their assignments," said Collier, who also explained that "we broke down at tackle" at other times during the game. If it was after the Starr to Moore bomb, it didn't make any difference. Lombardi indicated approval of the choice of Starr as the game's most valuable player. "Starr's last four games were like that," his coach said. "I think we must have completed 75 percent of our passes in our last four games."


JAN 6 (Miami) - Sandy-haired, soft-spoken Bart Starr today credited doctors who treated a broken hand with bringing him back "better than ever" for a starring role in the annual NFL Playoff Bowl. Starr was, if not better than ever, at least just as good as he ever could have been in leading the Green Bay Packers to a 40-23 triumph over the Cleveland Browns. There was no argument when he was voted the most valuable player in this Orange Bowl clash between the NFL's runner up teams. The former Alabama star passed for three touchdowns - including a 99-yard record-matcher - and set up two more while completing 15 of 18 passes for 259 yards. It was a promising performance after a disheartening season. For during the past season, Starr suffered a broken hand bone at the base of his middle finger in a game against the St. Louis Cardinals. There were screams from the Packer camp, as Green Bay shot for its third straight world championship and lost, that the Cardinals had been after him deliberately. Starr was lost for four games - in one of which they were beaten by the Chicago Bears - and he still wasn't at peak efficiency when he returned. "But the doctors did a marvelous job," he said after his Playoff Bowl heroics. "The reason I was able to come back as quickly as I did was the fact that they didn't put the hand in a cast and ruin its mobility." "What they did," he added, "was splint three fingers together for a day. Then they put the broken finger in a splint and taped it tight. So I was able to exercise the other fingers the whole time the hand was mending." Vince Lombardi, the Green Bay coach, obviously still had not recovered fully from the fact that Green Bay lost the world championship to the Bears, but he admitted that Starr had played a "good game" in the runnerup bowl contest, which attracted 54,821 paid customers to the Orange Bowl. "His last four games have been good," conceded Lombardi, who apparently figures that if it doesn't count in the standing it doesn't count, period. "Actually, I think that things might have been different if Bart was in good shape all the way." Starr was in good shape Sunday. And the highlight of his performance was when, after Cleveland had been stopped on the Packer one-yard line, he faked fullback Jim Taylor into the line and tossed a pass from behind his own goal line to Tom Moore. The six-foot, one-inch 200-pound quarterback pinpointed Moore on the 25 and Moore legged it all the way downfield for a 99-yard touchdown which matches the best in NFL history even if it doesn't count in the record books. Lombardi was out there driving the Packers all the way, being a man who settles for nothing less than victory. And he gave you-know-hat to defensive halfback Jess Whittenton when the Browns completed a long pass to the 10-yard line just as the half expired. He and Whittenton jawed at each other and Lombardi leveled a $200 fine - which he rescinded later. "There's no fine," he said. "Man, you guys got big ears." Which proved that despite his facade, he was out to settle for nothing less than victory even if this game was in the nature of an exhibition. For he liked what he saw - and what he heard, when Starr summed up the day by saying his hand "feels better than ever." That set Lombardi thinking about next season and how sweet revenge might be.

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