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Colts Top 49ers at Kezar Stadium as Unitas Rallies

Sept. 23, 1963 - Johnny Unitas, working with a patched up offense, rallied the Baltimore Colts in the second half for a 20-14 victory over the San Francisco 49ers yesterday at Kezar Stadium. For the Colts, the triumph was the first of the season and the first ever for new coach Don Shula. The 49ers have now lost both of their starts but proved a more tenacious foe than what the Colts and 31,006 fans had expected. The 49ers played a tough game for three quarters and led the Colts 7-3 at halftime and 14-10 after the third period. But Unitas finally caught up with the 49ers on a short, tricky 2-yard pass to Jimmy Orr early in the final quarter and that was that. Jim Martin, who kicked a 34-yard field goal for the first Colt points in the opening period, booted a 39-yarder after the Orr touchdown for a cushion against the expected but never materializing final surge by San Francisco. Unitas was off his game in the first half. However, he mixed short passes, including screens, with a newfound running game to keep the Colts going. When his accuracy returned, the runs and the screens just helped that much more. Unitas needed all his poise and accuracy in the second half, as injuries depleted the Colt offensive forces down to the bare minimum. Raymond Berry, Johnny’s favorite target, was helped from the field in the first half with a dislocated shoulder. In the Baltimore dressing room, many around the injured receiver were trying to keep their exuberance toned down because Berry had his arm in a sling and could be out of action for 6 to 8 weeks. But Raymond had a smile on his face and there was none of that “curse the luck” attitude expected and accepted for injuries. Only a spiritual person like Berry could accept his injury calmly and with no bitterness. “Thank the Lord the doctor was there,” he said. “It didn’t hurt a bit, and the doctor was able to get it back in place without any trouble.” How did you hurt it? “It happened on Abe Woodson’t interception. I ran back up the field and tried to tear the ball out of his arms when he was tackled. I fell on my shoulder, and that was that.”


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