Earl Morrall quarter backed two big games in 1963. Badly injured, the Lions fell from 11-3 in 1962 to 5-8-1 in 1963. Nevertheless, they played back to back games that ruined the title hopes for two teams, one in each division.
Week 12-Thanksgiving Day at Detroit vs the Green Bay Packers.
The Lions were 4-7 and Green Bay came at 9-2. Two weeks earlier the Chicago Bears at Wrigley Field defeated Green Bay 26 to 7. In the opening game, Chicago defeated Green Bay 10 to 3. This was the first time since 1959 that a team beat the Packers twice; and that was in Lombardi’s first year.
Green Bay scored a touchdown with about three minutes left in the first half. Elijah Pitts ran in from three yards. Missing the extra point, Packers led 6 to 3. Earl Morrall, using screens and runs, moved Detroit to the Packer 36. On the last play of the half, Wayne Walker kicked a 42 yard field goal. A six all tie at halftime.
The third quarter was without a score. In the fourth quarter, the Packers capped a good drive with Bart Starr throwing a touchdown pass to Ron Kramer. Green Bay now was leading 13 to 6 with three minutes left in the game. Earl Morrall drove the team to the Green Bay three. Nick Pietrosante ran in from 3 yards with just 30 seconds left.
The 13 all tie virtually eliminated Green Bay from a third consecutive Western Conference Title.
Week 13 Cleveland Browns at Tiger Stadium.
The Detroit Lions, for the second consecutive week, were spoilers. This was an easy victory over Cleveland by 38 to 10. The Browns came in at 9-3 and the Lions were 4-7-1; this was a well coordinated effort from both sides of the line.
For Detroit, Earl Morrall completed 13 of 25 passes for 271 yards and two touchdowns. One for 75 yards to Terry Barr and the other for 29 to Gail Cogdale.
Though Earl Morrall turned in a good performance, the Lion Defense was the real key. Each of these three, Dennis Gaubatz, Tom Hall, and Dick Lebeau, made an interception for 100 total yards. Lineman Darris MCord recovered a fumble in the Browns End Zone. Jimmy Brown gained only 64 yards.