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Packers Top Browns in Playoff Bowl

Jan. 5, 1964 - The heralded “battle of the fullbacks” turned instead into a fight for control of the air when Bart Starr passed Green Bay to a 40-23 victory over Cleveland in the Pro Playoff Bowl game Sunday at the Orange Bowl in Miami. A crowd of 54,921 saw the game. Starr riddled the Browns with three first-half touchdown passes, breaking the record for the four-year-old series and sweeping the Packers into a big early lead. The margin was too big for Cleveland’s quarterback Frank Ryan to overcome, but he connected with 18 aerial shots for 310 yards. During this aerial bombardment, Jim Brown of the Browns and Jim Taylor of the Packers, the No. 1 and No. 2 ground gainers of the NFL, were called upon to run the ball only 25 times between them. Brown gained 56 yards and Taylor 44.

Starr, voted the day’s outstanding player, hit Tom Moore with a touchdown pass that went for 99 yards to break the series record, and connected with Ron Kramer on an 18-yard scoring throw in the first quarter. The 99-yard score was launched after the Browns failed in four plays to score from the Packer 2. Afterward, Packer coach Vince Lombardi indicated approval of Starr’s performance. “His last four games were like that,” the coach said. “I think we must have completed 75% of our passes in our last four games.” Still, Lombardi seemed somewhat less than ecstatic about the victory. “This was an American Football League game — no defense,” he remarked.


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