JANUARY 12, 1969
JETS 27, COLTS 26
At the Orange Bowl, attendance 75,389. This game was a signature moment for Joe Namath, being outplayed by Earl Morrall and made to look ordinary by the Colts defense, he was extraordinary in leading a 24-point fourth quarter come from behind victory for the greatest upset in the history of professional sports.
The game began with both defenses controlling the tempo; each offensive squad had two possessions with the Colts gaining 30 yards compared to the Jets 18. On the Jets third possession, Winston Hill and Bob Talmini sealed the left side of the line of scrimmage and Matt Snell rambled for a 60 yard gain to reach the 6. Emerson Boozer and Matt Snell again tried the left side earning only a yard. Joe Namath’s third down pass to Don Maynard was off target resulting in Jim Turner kicking a 12 yard field goal with 3:14 remaining in the first quarter. With 0:04 seconds remaining, Colt punter David Lee pinned the Jets at the -3 with a perfect coffin corner punt.
On 2nd down and 10 from the -3, defensive pass interference was called on an incomplete pass at the 50-yard line; Jerry Logan was called for un-necessary roughness resulting in an additional 15-yard penalty. Faced with a 3rd and 5 from the 30, Joe Namath tossed a 16 yard completion to Don Maynard. On 3rd and 12 from the 16, Joe Namath could not find an opening in the Colts zone defense and forced a pass towards Don Maynard that was intercepted by Don Shinnick. The Colts responded with a 10-play, 64 yard drive that ended with a 23 yard field goal by Lou Michaels to tie the game at 3-3. Earl Morrall was 3 of 5 on the drive with completions of 8, 14, and 20 yards. The Colts defense forced a three and out and began their next drive at the -41. On 2nd down and 1 from the -45, Jerry Hill gained 14 yards on a flare pass to reach the 41. Tom Matte gained 11 yards on a power sweep. After a 5 yard penalty against the Jets, Earl Morrall and Willie Richardson connected on a 13 yard sideline pass to reach the 12; however, they were penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness on the following play. Jimmy Orr gained 19 yards on a slip screen to reach the 8. On third and goal, John Mackey caught a 5 yard pass but was immediately tackled at the 3. Lou Michaels put the Colts up 6- 3 with a 10 yard field goal with 1:30 remaining in the first half.
The second half began with a combined four consecutive three and outs. On the Jets third possession, Don Shinnick sacked Joe Namath for a 7 yard loss forcing a 3rd and 17 from the -30. The Colts zone coverage forced Joe Namath to check down to Emerson Boozer on a swing pass, however, he fumbled after gaining three yards and Jerry Logan fell on the loose ball. Looking for an explosive play after the turnover, Earl Morrall found Jimmy Orr for a 28 yard gain resulting in a first and goal from the 5. The Jets defense stiffened forcing a 12 yard field goal to increase their lead to 9-3. The Colts defense limited the Jets to 19 yards in 6 plays and forced another Curley Johnson punt. The Colts took over at the -12 and gained four yards resulting in a 3rd and 6 from the -16. Jimmy Orr caught a quick slant pattern, split the defenders and raced for an 84-yard touchdown with 1:47 remaining in the third quarter.
The Jets opened the final quarter faced with a 3rd and 6 from the 45, when Lenny Lyles jumped an out route to Don Maynard a split second to late resulting in him turning up field and gaining 41 yards. Three plays later, Don Shinnick once again made his presence felt by intercepting a pass intended for George Sauer at the -1. On first down, Jerry Hill gained 7 yards on a bruising inside run and Tom Matte gained 7 more yards on a hard fought outside run. Earl Morrall froze the Jets linebackers with a gorgeous play action fake resulting in a 50 yard completion to John Mackey. Six plays later, Gerry Philbin sacked Earl Morrall resulting in Lou Michaels kicking his fourth field goal from 30 yards out to increase their lead to 19-3 with 8:48 remaining. The Jets sideline was completely demoralized until Earl Christy returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards to the 7. One play later, Joe Namath threw a perfect flag route to George Sauer for a 7 yard touchdown to pull within 9 points. On the Colts next possession, Tom Matte lost a yard on first down and Al Atkinson intercepted a screen pass intended for Jerry Hill and returned it to the 8 yard line. Once again, it only took Joe Namath one play to find Don Maynard in the back of the end zone for the touchdown with 7:00 remaining in regulation. Preston Pearson provided the Colts with outstanding field possession with a 45 yard kick return. Three plays later, Earl Morrall threw a 12 yard completion to Tom Matte on a 3rd and six from the -46, however, the Colts were flagged for holding. Faced with a 3rd and 16, the Jets came with an all out blitz resulting in the Colts being forced to hold resulting in another 10 yard penalty. After a 5 yard punt return by Bill Baird, the Jets took over at the -39. Joe Namath’s first down pass to George Sauer fell incomplete; however, his second down pass went for a 61-yard touchdown to Don Maynard with 4:07 to re-take the lead 24-19. The Colts began their final drive at the -21 and Earl Morral’s first down pass to John Mackey was broken up for an incompletion. Earl Morral and Willie Richardson once again executed a perfectly timed out route for a 9 yard gain. Jerry Hill bulled into the interior of the Jets defense for a two yard gain and a first down. On the next play, John Mackey gained a step on Jim Hudson and Earl Morrall delivered a perfect seam pass for a 23 yard gain. Three plays later, the Colts were faced with a third and 10 when Earl Morrall and Willie Richardson combined for a 45 yard touchdown pass to re-take the lead with 1:46 remaining. After a Lou Michaels touchback, the Jets began their final drive at the -20 with their full compliment of timeouts. On second and 10, Joe Namath threw a deep out to George Sauer for a 33 yard gain and stopped the clock with a timeout. On the next play, Don Maynard caught a 25 yard post pattern to reach the 22 and the Jets used their second timeout. Matt Snell gained 5 yards on an off tackle run to reach the 17. With one timeout remaining the Jets elected to keep the ball on the ground, however, it was a broken play resulting in Joe Namath running for an eight yard gain and the Colts being penalized for face masking resulting in a first and goal from the 5. The Jets burned their last timeout and Jim Turner walked onto the field with 0:04 remaining. Babe Parilli fielded the snap, placed the ball down with the laces outward, and Jim Turner’s kick barely remained inside the left upright for the most improbable win in football history.
New York (3-0-0-24=27)
NY – FG Turner 12
BA – FG Michaels 23
BA – FG Michaels 10
BA – FG Michaels 12
BA – Orr 84 pass from Morrall (Michaels kick)
BA – FG Michaels 30
NY – Sauer 7 pass from Namath (Turner kick)
NY – Maynard 8 pass from Namath (Turner kick)
NY – Maynard 61 pass from Namath (Turner kick)
BA -Richardson45 pass from Morrall (Michaels kick)
NY – FG Turner 12
First Downs…… 16 12
Rushing Yardage….. 94 104
Passing Yardage… 354 227
Return Yardage…… 78 183
Punts………………. 7/43.5 6/51.0
Fumbles/Lost……… 1/0 2/2
Penalty Yardage…… 124 33
Sacked/Yards Lost… 2/11 2/9
BA: Morrall 22 of 38 for 354, 3 TDs and 2 INTs.
NY: Namath 11 of 23 for 227, 3 TDs and 2 INTs.
BA: Matte 16 for 57; Hill 11 for 37.
NY: Snell 19 for 82; Boozer 8 for 14; Namath 1 for 8.
BA: Richardson 6 for 83, 1 TD; Orr 4 for 142, 1 TD; Mackey 6 for 109, 1 TD; Matte 1 for 9; Hill 4 for 22, Morrall 1 for -11.
NY: Maynard 6 for 160, 2 TDs; Lammons 2 for 24; Sauer 2 for 40, 1 TD; Boozer 1 for 3.