The 2-1 Lions under new Coach Gus Dorais came to Green Bay to face the 1-0-1 Packers on this October 1943 Sunday, but they were never in the ball game. Tony Canadeo, who would be married the next day, had a great game with tough runs, big punt returns and three touchdown passes thrown in a Packer rout.
Green Bay kicked off and quickly forced the Lions to punt. Canadeo returned the punt 25 yards to the Lion 42 and on the first play from scrimmage hit end Harry Jacunski for 38 yards to the Detroit. The ball bounced when Jacunski hit the ground and would be ruled an incompletion today, but counted then. On the second play from scrimmage, Ted Fritsch punched it in. 7-0 Packers.
The Packers were very lively on defense. Jacunski made a nice stuff behind the line of scrimmage. Buckets Goldenberg dropped out of the line to play middle linebacker on third down and Larry Craig put on a heavy rush to force another punt by Detroit. Craig has been impressive in every game I’ve watched, maintaining the edge on defense and leading the blocking for every running play on offense.
Lou Brock returned the Lions punt 15 yards. Three hard runs by Canadeo and another catch by Jacunski took the ball to the seven, where Canadeo tossed a TD pass to Brock to make it 14-0. Green Bay continued driving the football the next two times they had possession, but both times Ted Fritsch missed field goal attempts.
Detroit finally scored on their own two-play drive in the second quarter when Chuck Fenenbock hit Ned Mathews for 30 yards, and Mathews lateraled to trailing guard Riley Matheson who traveled another 24 yards to the Packer 21. Mathews then threw to Fenenbock for the score. 14-7.
However, before the end of the half, Canadeo, while in the grasp of a pass rusher, slipped a pass underneath to Andy Uram who zigged and zagged for a 20-yard score behind a nice downfield block by Don Hutson. 21-7 Packers. An interception by Uram then led to the Packers driving down to the Lion two, but they turned the ball over on downs right before the half.
Following the kickoff to open the second half, Green Bay drove down the field on a furious ground attack that culminated in a two-yard touchdown run by rookie Irv Comp. Later in the quarter, Fritsch missed another field goal, but in the fourth quarter, an interception by Hutson led to a 39-yard touchdown pass from Canadeo to Uram to bring the score to 35-7. With just 20 seconds to play another Detroit hook-and-lateral play completed the scoring: Frankie Sinkwich hit Bill Fisk for 30 yards, and Fisk lateralled to Harry Hopp who ran the remaining 75 yards to make the final score 35-14.
1943 was the first year the free substitution was instated for the duration of the War. Don Hutson lined up for 51 plays on offense and was spread wide or flexed on 27 of them. On the other 26 Packer plays, only six times was a Green Bay end spread out, although halfback Joe Laws was used as a flanker a few times. Hutson also lined up as a defensive end on one play in the fourth quarter and forced a lateral in the backfield before Larry Craig returned to the field on the next play.
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