An Unlikely Monday Night Football Comeback

On October 16, 1972, the resurgent Packers improved their record to 4-1 on Monday Night Football. Although Green Bay was coming off consecutive three-point victories over the Cowboys and Bears in which rookie kicker Chester kicked game-winning field goals in each, this comeback over the Lions was unique.

Green Bay fell behind the Detroit by a 20-7 score in the third quarter, but a Marcol field goal and an 80-yard punt return touchdown by Ken Ellis brought the Packers within three points. The Lions responded with another field goal to bring the score to 23-20 when the Green Bay offense took the field with 9:35 left in the game. From his own 16, Scott Hunter led the team on a methodical 84-yard game-winning touchdown drive that consumed 7:28 and concluded with a 15-yard strike to rookie starting wide receiver Leland Glass. The defense made that one-point margin stand up for the remaining two minutes of the game.

That drive was the only time in Scott Hunter’s Green Bay career that he led the team on a fourth quarter game-winning drive to overcame a deficit. The ground-driven Packers would rank 22nd in a 26-team league in passing yards for the 1972 season. Hunter led the team with six touchdown passes; the only other Green Bay touchdown pass in 1972 was by punter Ron Widby on a fake that resulted in the longest pass play of the season – 68 yards to Dave Davis against the Oilers. Widby actually led the team in passing yards that week against the 1-8 Oilers.

Running back MacArthur Lane led the team with 26 receptions and his backfield mate John Brockington was second with 19. Starting receivers Carroll Dale and Glass had 16 and 15 receptions respectively, although all of the team’s wideouts averaged at least 15.4 yards per catch.

Despite missing the last 12 games of the season, tight end Rich McGeorge led the 1972 Packers with two touchdown catches; there was a five-way tie for second with one touchdown reception each by Brockington, Dale, Glass, Davis and Jon Staggers. McGeorge also caught as many passes in two games, 4, as his successor, Len Garrett, did in the remaining 12 games.

The 1972 Packers won the division title on the strength of its seventh ranked rushing offense, its defense that finished second in both passing and rushing yards, a +22 turnover ratio and excellent special teams. But this Monday Night was a memorable shining moment for Scott Hunter and Leland Glass. After all, it was Leland’s only touchdown of his NFL career.

1972tshunter2  1972tlglass

1972trwidby  1972tddavis

1973tshunter  1973tlglass2

Glass and Davis custom cards are colorized.

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