With the high road closed, Tittle thumped away along the ground. This pedestrian approach gave the Giants a touchdown when Alex Webster struggled over from the one-yard line. Nonetheless, the fact that Tittle had been forced to the ground was the important fact for the Browns. It proved that their defensive strategy was working. It continued to work until, in the third quarter, their defensive club had lost a corner back and two corner linebackers, all on the right side of their defense.
With Huff obviously keying all his moves on Brown, the Giants had held the Cleveland superstar to short bursts. Now, early in the third quarter, he suddenly got away.
"I threw him a flare screen," Ryan said. "They were dropping off on the flare man, so we set up a screen for him." He threw the screen from the Brown 28-yard line, Dick Schafrath took care of the ubiquitous Mr. Huff and Brown, running with the long, sweeping stride which carries him three steps faster than he seems to be running, used his other two blockers to break away from the first wave of Giant tacklers, then outran the Giant ondary down the sideline for a touchdown.
(Later, in the dressing room, Huff was to say, "We had him, we had him, but we let him get away. I think he's a smarter runner now than he was.")
Now the Giants took a leaf from the Collier book and freed Frank Gifford on a double reverse for 12 yards, but Gifford fumbled and the Browns recovered. (Later, asked if there had been a moment when the game changed direction, Sherman said, "When we ran the double reverse, it could have helped....")
The fumble set up Brown's best run. From the Giant 32, he started into the tackle hole at his left. ("The tackle is the option blocker," Collier said later. "If he takes his man in, Jim goes out and vice versa. This time Jim went out.")
Brown met a cluster of Giants as he crossed the line of scrimmage, but he cut sharply toward the other side of the field, ducked behind a couple of blockers and scored easily. Even so, the Browns were to need one more careful drive before they could rest easily.
By now they were suffering on defense. Galen Fiss, who calls defensive signals from his right linebacker spot, had pulled a muscle in his leg. His replacement, Mike Lucci, had suffered a knee injury. Sam Tidmore, who had just recovered from a leg injury, was pressed into service. Jim Shofner, hurrying desperately after his namesake on a long pass, had pulled a hamstring muscle, and young Jim Shorter was now faced with the critical task of containing Shofner. The Browns had to abandon blitzing tactics; Tittle began to nibble at the defense with short passes. He drove the Giants 63 yards in eight passes, the last one to Phil King for a touchdown. That brought the score to 24 for the Giants, 28 for the Browns.
There were 10 minutes left to play in the game when the Browns took charge on their own 20, and the Giant fans began howling "Get the ball!" in a desperate, repetitive chant. If the Giants could get the ball with enough time left, it seemed probable that Tittle could again shepherd them down field for a winning touchdown, striking into the crippled Brown ondary with his short passes.
But Ryan and the Browns responded to adversity by producing almost a carbon copy of the drive which had brought them their first touchdown. Using the option blocking beautifully, Jim Brown slid through cracks here and there, gaining 12 yards outside left tackle once, then five yards inside right guard on the same play as the holes opened in different places. Ryan threw twice; once, when it was third and four, to Rich Kreitling for 15 yards and, finally, to Kreitling again on a similar pattern for 12 yards and the touchdown. "Green was the primary receiver both times," Ryan said later. "But when I dropped back, reading the defense, and saw they were covering him, I went to Kreitling."