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First NFL Doubleheader in History Draws 83,218 in Cleveland

Aug. 17, 1963 - Johnny Unitas and his Baltimore Colt cohorts ruined what otherwise was a rousing reception by a record Cleveland crowd of 83,218 for doubleheader football by pasting the hometown Browns, 21-7. In the first attraction, the New York Giants defeated the Detroit Lions, 24-21, behind ageless Y.A. Tittle. Unitas’ only lapse in the finale, a fumble, presented the Browns with one of their few threats. They capitalized on it by pushing 14 yards for the score with Jim Brown driving the last half yard. However, before Cleveland’s touchdown, Unitas had guided an 80-yard advance into the end zone with J.W. Lockett getting the six-pointer. After that lapse, Unitas drove the Colts 75 yards to put Baltimore ahead, 14-7, at halftime. Dick Bielski was the touchdown man on the receiving end of a 21-yard pass from Unitas. With the Colt offense getting the points and the Colt defense, led by defensive end Ordell Braase, smothering all Brown efforts, the game lost a lot of interest and the outcome was assured early. Unitas completed 14 of 19 passes for 225 yards and 2 touchdowns. Gary Cuozzo, a rookie quarterback who took over the offense late and nearly got the Colts a fourth touchdown, threw 6 times and completed 4 for 56 yards. With Raymond Berry on the sidelines with an injury, top receiving honors for the Colts went to his replacement, Alex Hawkins, who had four catches.


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