"We have to get ourselves up," one veteran said. "We're pros. We should. But somehow we didn't."
However, the Packers were up for Baltimore. They opened play with what is an atypical defense for Green Bay, a club that makes almost a fetish of orthodoxy on defense. From the first offensive play by Baltimore until the end of the game, the Packers gambled. They do not blitz often, but on this chill, bright and windy afternoon, they did it well over half the time. In the first half, on one sequence covering two Colt offensive series and nine plays, the Packer linebackers, in various combinations, blitzed all nine times.
"We didn't expect them to come so much," Earl Morrall, the Colt quarterback, said after it was over. "Every time we went into a slot formation they blitzed. I had to audible a lot to take care of it."
The Colts picked up the Green Bay-blitz much of the time. Coach Don Shula varied the Baltimore blocking assignments so that the blitzing linebackers never knew who would take them. And although the Packer ploy worked well enough to spoil Baltimore drives several times deep in Green Bay territory, it cost the Packers a touchdown early in the game.
This happened the second time Baltimore got the ball, after Donny Anderson had fumbled and Colt Corner-back Bobby Boyd had recovered on the Green Bay 28, With second and eight, the Packers blitzed, and Morrall, with strong protection, had time to loft a high trajectory pass to End Willie Richardson in the corner of the end zone. A blitz usually forces the cornerbacks into single coverage on the flanker and spread end. In this case Richardson did not exactly beat Herb Adderley, but he timed his leap for the ball better and took it just behind and over the outstretched fingertips of the Packer defender for the only touchdown of the game.
On other occasions, throwing against the augmented rush, Morrall narrowly missed open receivers on deep patterns. Although he was dropped only twice, he was hurried several times.
"The blitzes were a calculated risk," said Packer Linebacker Lee Roy Caffey later. "If you don't make Baltimore respect the red dog, they'll check backs out of the backfield. We didn't want them putting that many receivers into the secondary. When you come at them, they have to keep backs in to block. That's what they had to do today and it worked out pretty well. It was just one of those days. We've had a hell of a lot of them this year. But I'll tell you one thing. We haven't played a team all season I thought was as good as we are. What was it General MacArthur said? We will return."
Willie Davis, the All-Pro Packer defensive end and captain, took the defeat and the end of the Packer championship string as bitterly as any of the players.
"This will be the first time since I started playing football I was on a team that finished worse than second," Willie said. "All year I've tried not to take the frustration and disappointment home with me or out on the streets with me. I smile and talk to people like nothing is wrong, but I don't know how I can stand the off season now with this to think about. I have to go home to Chicago and think it over for a long time. I've had a good career and maybe now is the time to call it quits. I don't want to just hang around and fill a uniform. The way I feel now I don't think I'll come back unless Coach Bengtson tells me he is in a bind and really needs me next year. I'd come back for him."
Ray Nitschke, who had his usual bristling afternoon at middle linebacker, said, "It's all in the game. We got to forget this year. We got to look ahead, not back."