Starting the third quarter, the Colts pulled off a surprise. They put Tom Matte at quarterback, used two tight ends and ran from the old-fashioned T formation. With Tim Brown at left halfback, Baltimore began to eat up yards on the ground. Brown would carry the ball on a straight dive play or on a sweep, or Matte would keep it on a run-pass option, and the Jets were obviously bewildered. A 70-yard drive in 11 plays provided a touchdown, with Brown scoring from the six, and Baltimore was ahead 14-13.
The Jets had been worried how their rook'e tackle, Sam Walton, would fare against Bubba Smith. But Smith had not done much until a third and eight shortly after the Baltimore touchdown. Smith hurled Walton to the grass, bowled over Mathis and crashed into Namath—way too late, an official said. The 15-yard penalty put the Jets on their 35. On the next play there seemed to be a confusion about assignments in the Baltimore secondary. Lammons popped out all by himself, Namath lobbed him the ball, and suddenly the Jets were back out front by 20-14.
Baltimore then began another long drive that used the rest of the third quarter and lasted well into the fourth, ending with a fumble that Al Atkinson recovered for New York on the Jets' three. Throwing from his end zone, Namath hit Maynard coming across the middle at the 30. Namath twice connected with Sauer on sideline patterns against Lyles. Snell picked up 12 on a draw. The march was halted at the Baltimore 28. Turner entered to kick a field goal that would give the Jets a more than one-touchdown lead. Instead, Parilli, the holder, leaped up and passed to Lammons, who scored his third touchdown of the day. Jets 27, Baltimore 14.
The Colts decided to get serious. They abandoned their slow-moving T formation, and Unitas returned at quarterback. Mackey gained 21 on an end-around. Orr eluded Cornell Gordon for an 18-yard pass. Then Tim Brown took the ball on a halfback draw, seemed to get lost for a moment in the midst of a lot of milling bodies, reappeared and ran 33 yards for a touchdown. Jets 27, Baltimore 21.
I had a strong feeling Baltimore would win. But Namath was never better. He stayed with the short passes, got a nice gain on a screen to Boozer, and with one minute remaining it was third and five at the Baltimore 43. Everybody expected a pass—which probably should have been the call—but Mathis plunged for four. Fourth and one with 48 seconds on the clock. Ball on Baltimore 39. Turner tried a 46-yard field goal which was blocked by Fred Miller. Ball on Baltimore 42 with 41 seconds left. I knew what was going to happen. My only question was whether the pass would be caught by Richardson, Orr or Mackey. So who do you suppose caught it? Johnny Sample, the man who claims-the NFL blacklisted him. Sample ran back and forth across the field, and time was over before another play could be gotten off. The Jets had won 27-21. They nearly drowned Ewbank in the shower. They might have done it had the scene not been on TV, his gurgles audible to millions. Your wife was sobbing. "If the Jets can beat Baltimore, Max can beat the jungle," she said. Women have a keen sense for the upset.
Enclosed is the $50 I owe you for betting on Houston.