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Giants Top Colts in Baltimore as Tittle Shines

Sept. 15, 1963 - Leading the New York Giants to a 37-28 victory over the Colts, Y.A. Tittle today played one of the best games of his life on the same field in Baltimore where his illustrious pro career began 15 years ago. Back in 1948, Tittle was a baldish 21-year-old quarterback who threw four touchdown passes for the old Baltimore Colts of the All-America Conference. Today, he was a baldish 36-year-old quarterback who threw 3 touchdown passes for the Giants and bamboozled the opposition with brilliant faking and play-calling. Tittle did not finish what he started in the Giants’ uphill climb from an 18-point deficit. He left the game after scoring the touchdown that put the winners ahead for the first time after 37 minutes of play in the long, tense struggle. The Giants’ senior citizen was hurt when he was tackled in the end zone by Jackie Burkett and Jim Welch following a 9-yard end run. A painful blow to the solar plexus and bruised ribs was the locker-room diagnosis. With 13 games remaining in the NFL season, however, Coach Allie Sherman did not care to risk his most indispensable asset again, and the Giants went on to win without Y.A., by then speechless with pain. The team’s defense shut out the Colts and their great passer, John Unitas, in the second half to assure the defending Eastern champions of victory in their first 1963 game. It was the first time the Giants ever beat a Baltimore team with Unitas at quarterback, it was the first opening-day victory in Sherman’s three seasons as head coach, and it was the first home-opening loss for the Colts since 1954. Afterward, coach Allie Sherman disclosed that New York’s exploitation of a weakness up the middle of the Baltimore defense was premeditated. “According to the films we saw of Colt games, they were zoning a lot, so we figured to go against their middle.” Sure, Lenny Moore’s emergency appendectomy Friday hurt the Baltimore offense because, said Sherman, “He’s as great a halfback as I’ve ever seen.” Dick Modzelewski, New York’s 260-pound tackle, said: “The big thing was our offense got rolling and our defense adjusted.” He then went out of his way to compliment the Colts’ 33-year-old freshman coach, Don Shula. “He’s done a fine job with this Baltimore club in a short time,” said Dick, adding that world champion Green Bay also had lost its Western Division opener, throwing the race wide open from the start.


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