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Colts Hand 49ers 12th Straight Loss

Oct. 13, 1963 - Johnny Unitas pitched the Colts to a touchdown the first time they had the ball today, and the Colts survived a shoddy offensive showing from then on to down the even more inept San Francisco 49ers, 20-3, before 56,962 fans at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium. It was San Francisco’s 12th straight loss, including preseason games. The Colts were unable to score a touchdown again until the third period, and then only after having recovered a fumble on the losers’ 11-yard line. Jim Martin kicked two Baltimore field goals, one after the Colts had been stopped at the 5. The 49ers had the ball nine times in the first half and made only two first downs. In the second half, they had the ball four times before they could make a first down. They had five in the game. They avoided a shutout in the first period after recovering a Colt fumble on the Colt 40 when Tommy Davis kicked a 32-yard field goal. Davis later missed goals from the 21, 53, and 37. Unitas completed only 11 of 25 passes for 159 yards, far below his completion average, but the blame wasn’t his as much as it was his cohorts who fumbled four times — with the 49ers recovering all of them — and dropped numerous passes. Two of the fumble recoveries stopped Colt drives which would at least have produced a field goal if not a touchdown. The Baltimore defense, however, was excellent. Bill Pellington, middle linebacker, made tackles and knocked down passes all over the field. Fred Miller and Jim Colvin gave little ground at tackles and Ordell Braase and Gino Marchetti pressured 49er quarterbacks Bob Waters and Lamar McHan to 10 completions in 26 attempts. Jim Welch came up with the game’s only interception, against McHan, a former Colt quarterback who was used late in the fourth period by San Francisco. Shula had nothing but praise for his players. About his offensive strategy, he said: “We planned to work on the weak side if they rotated their three defensive backs. They did that on Hill’s long reception, and he was guarded deep by only one linebacker. They changed afterwards. We used the double wing and the flood formation. We were willing to try anything to get our offense going. But we still have a long way to go.” The flood formation posts three receivers on the same side. The double wing has two receivers on each side.

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