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Lions Crush Rams in L.A., 23-2

Sept. 14, 1963 - The Detroit Lions rolled up 20 points in the first half, highlighted by a 70-yard runback of an interception by Dick LeBeau, and went on to crush the Rams, 23-2, tonight before 49,342 disgruntled customers at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. In doing so, the Lions solved the mystery of the Rams’ “mystery quarterback.” Ram coach Harland Svare had kept the quarterback of his choice a secret all week. It made little difference as it turned out. The Lions simply chewed up Baker and his teammates in the NFL opener. And they did it in familiar fashion, using their own defense as an offensive weapon. The Lions, mainly on the strength of punt returns and pass interceptions, built up a 20-0 halftime lead and then won the “baseball game” second half, 3-2. It maybe a long, long season for the Rams, who finished in the Western Conference cellar last year with a 1-12-1 record. Baker lasted only one half as three of his passes were picked off by Lion defenders — one for a 70-yard touchdown. Roman Gabriel, last year’s late starter, did somewhat better in relief. The veteran Zeke Bratkowski, who didn’t play, may inherit the position by default. Defeat aside, the Rams may have suffered a more serious blow. Defensive tackle Merlin Olsen limped off the field in the first half, and X-rays will be taken today to determine the extent of the injury, which looked serious. The Rams try it again next Saturday night, meeting the Redskins in L.A.


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