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The Baltimore Colts were running up a score on the Washington Redskins, and as the sun dropped behind the west wall of Memorial Stadium a roar started to swell through the stands. For the first time this crisp Sunday afternoon the sun's glare was off the scoreboard and the Baltimore fans were able to decipher the news—and what they were reading would eventually be the story of the day in Baltimore, too.
It was already an afternoon of upsets in the Eastern division of the NFL, and now the people in Baltimore were hoping for a whopper in the West. The game between the Vikings and the Packers had just started, however, and there was no Green Bay score on the big board when the Colts left the field with their easy victory. But even as that hoped-for upset was in the making, the Colts in their dressing room were a strangely impassive and quiet crew. Almost as if they were afraid of jinxing the Vikings, they ignored a television set tuned to that game. Most of the players dressed and drifted off to meet their wives or friends.
Three of the Colts remained in the clubhouse. Johnny Unitas, who threw for 342 yards and three touchdowns, was on the trainer's table getting his throwing arm thoroughly massaged. Raymond Berry, who caught 10 passes and scored two touchdowns, stood in front of his locker, hands folded, and spoke quietly to newsmen. Jimmy Orr, who caught five passes and scored one touchdown, walked around placidly smoking a cigar. The rest of the country might be throbbing to the televised encounter in Green Bay, but the Colts were keeping their cool.
And so they had all afternoon. They won very typically, with Unitas throwing touchdown passes and a strong defense harassing the Redskin runners, particularly former Colt Joe Don Looney and Quarterback Sonny Jurgensen. The Colt defense, which blitzed rarely, kept Jurgensen either on his back or off balance most of the afternoon with a furious pass rush, while the Colt offensive line protected Unitas so well that not once was he touched by a Washington defender.
"We usually like to blitz quarterbacks who get shook all the time," said Dennis Gaubatz, the middle linebacker who runs the Colt defense, "and Jurgensen does get shook. But we had such a great pass rush up front that we didn't have to blitz." With plenty of time to locate Berry and Orr, Unitas found them early and often. In the first quarter, both receivers had reported just how they thought they could beat the single coverage that the Redskins had assigned to them, and Johnny responded to their cues. Jim Shorter, who was covering—or was supposed to cover—Berry, intercepted Unitas' second pass of the game when he left Berry to double-team John Mackey down deep, but the interception taught Berry how he could beat Shorter. "He took away my deep patterns," said Berry, "but he gave me everything short." Thereafter Berry caught nine short passes—seven of them on sideline patterns and two on look-ins. "I wish he'd quit tomorrow," said Shorter after the game. "Every time I thought I had him covered he'd cut inside or outside, and then he'd have the ball. He always had the ball, didn't he? He's just the best, that's all I can say."
Orr, though, had a different strategy after his first few encounters with Lonnie Sanders. "Every team we've played this year has given me eight or 10 steps at scrimmage, and with my speed I couldn't go deep," said Orr. "The 'Skins played me only six or seven steps, however, so I told Unitas that I thought I could beat them long." Orr twice beat Sanders on deep passes, although he actually had to retreat to catch the ball each time. "I guess people think I'm really fast now," said Orr.
Fast enough, perhaps, to interest the Packers on Dec. 10.