Pivotal Pro Football Moments
pivotal NFL postseason moment: A decision by a coach or an action by a player that establishes or changes the momentum of a playoff game.
1965: Raise the Goal Posts!
NFL West Playoff: Baltimore Colts @ Green Bay Packers
Vince Lombardi had stewed for nearly three years. Green Bay had not won the NFL West since 1962. Paul Hornung's suspension for gambling for the 1963 season set off a chain of events that caused the Packers to fall short in both '63 and '64. So Lombardi started the first day of training camp of 1965 by giving his players an ultimatum: "This year we are going to be number one! If you don't think we're number one, I don't want you playing for me! If you can't go out there and win, pack your gear and go home!"
Most of the Packers had played in the championship games of '60, '61, and '62. But a number of newcomers were expected to help return the team to the top in '65. Hornung could no longer do the kicking. Having lost his confidence after being out a year, he cost the Pack several games in '64 by missing PATs and field goals, including five of the latter in one game against the Colts.
So Lombardi traded a third round draft choice to the New York Giants for nine-year veteran Don Chandler, whom he knew from his time as an assistant with the Giants. Chandler saved a roster spot by doing both the punting and the placekicking.
One of the reasons the Giants parted with Chandler was that Don pro­posed a novel plan for participating in the 1965 season. With his business interests in Tulsa demanding more of his attention, he asked permission to split his week, taking care of business in Oklahoma before returning to New York for several days of practice. Coach Allie Sherman and owner Well­ington Mara summarily refused his request. When Chandler first met with Lombardi after the trade, he proposed the same arrangement. "I thought I had heard all the coaching speeches," Don recalled. "I was convinced of what I wanted to do, and I told him that when we first sat down. An hour or so later, I couldn't wait to change my plans. I'll say this about Vince Lombardi: he was hypnotic when he wanted to be. I remember the first time I sat in when he delivered one of those pregame speeches. When it was over, I was afraid to miss a field goal, not because we might lose, but because I'd have to face him afterward."

L-R: Don Chandler, Tom Matte, Zeke Bratkowski
The Packers shot out of the gate fast, winning their first six games. But injuries to QB Bart Starr and others ended their momentum, and they sagged down the stretch. A Green Bay loss to the 49ers in the regular season finale allowed the Baltimore Colts to tie the Packers for first place in the West.
Since the Packers had won both regular season meetings with the Colts, they hosted the game the day after Christmas under favorable conditions (32° at kickoff and clear with a 12 mph wind) considering the time of the year in northern Wisconsin.
The Chicago Bears had knocked Colts QB Johnny Unitas out for the season three weeks earlier. Then backup Gary Cuozzo was injured while tackling Green Bay LB Dave Robinson on his interception return a week later. So Coach Don Shula was down to his emergency quarterback, HB Tom Matte. He had played quarterback at Ohio State but was known more for his rushing skills than passing prowess. For the playoff game, Shula put a limited list of plays on a wristband that Matte wore.
The wristband is on display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The quarterback disparity decreased on the first offensive play of the game. In a scenario eerily similar to Cuozzo's injury, Starr passed over the middle to TE Bill Anderson who fumbled when hit by DB Lenny Lyles. 235lb LB Don Shinnick scooped up the ball on the GB 25 and headed for the end zone. The last Packer to have a shot at him was Starr, who tried to tackle him. That was a big mistake because Bart (a) didn't succeed in preventing the touchdown because he was blocked hard by DB Jim Welch and (b) injured his ribs and chest. So Starr retired to the sidelines for the rest of the game. Veteran Zeke Bratkowski replaced him.
Anderson said after the game: "I felt we were going to blow the whole game, and it would be my fault–seven points and the quarterback gets killed and you think the whole thing will be on you. I guess I had the ball long enough, but I had it loose. I never did get a good grip on it."

L: Bill Anderson; R: Bratkowski passes as Lou Michaels rushes
With the Packers ranked No. 1 in total defense in the NFL and the Colts' unit #4, points were at a premium, especially with both starting quarterbacks out of action.
Bratkowski led the Packers close enough for Chandler to miss a 47y field goal in the first quarter.
As one writer put it, "Baltimore's attack, without Unitas, was about as daring as a 1920 lady's bathing suit." Nevertheless, the gutsy Colts extended their lead to 10-0 in the sec­ond quarter. Matte, who would carry 17 times for 57y on rollouts and sneaks, led a drive from his 26 to the GB 7 for Baltimore's only offensive penetration of Green Bay territory in the first half. But they had to settle for Lou Michaels' 15y field goal.
Aided by a long pass interference penalty that put the ball on the nine, the Packers had second-and-goal after Bratkowski flipped to Anderson at the left pylon inside the one. "But from this position, Green Bay's big artillery turned into pop guns." Neither FB Jimmy Taylor nor HB Hornung could crack the Baltimore defense with Taylor fumbling on fourth down. So the half ended with the Colts on top 10-0.

LB Don Shinnick tackles Paul Hornung.
The Packers got a big break early in the third quarter when a high snap to punter Tom Gilburg forced him to run, giving Green Bay great field position at the Colt 33. The key play in the subsequent touchdown march was a pass from Bratkowski to diving WR Car­roll Dale to the one. Two snaps later, Hornung crashed over to make it 10-7 Baltimore.

Zeke Bratkowski hands to Paul Hornung for the Packers' touchdown.
Two interceptions stalled Packer drives in the third and fourth quarters. Bobby Boyd picked off one on his 18, and Jerry Logan prevented what looked like a sure touchdown when he intercepted a deflected Bratkowski pass on the Baltimore eight.

Fuzzy Thurston (63) leads Jimmy Taylor.
With time running out, the Packers started a do-or-die drive from their 28. A younger quarterback might have been shaken by the two interceptions, but it didn't bother Old Zeke, who started hitting his targets. A questionable roughing the passer penalty helped the advance, which stalled on the 15. Then came the most controversial play of the game. Chandler booted a 22y field goal that many observers thought was outside the right up­right. But the official standing behind the middle of the goal post called it good with only 1:58 remaining. Watch the video of the kick and form your own opinion ...
When asked about the disputed field goal, the official said, "It was good by this much" as he held his hands outspread. "It just darn near was wide."
"It was close," said Chandler. "But there was no doubt in my mind it was good."
The dispute caused the league to raise the uprights to 20' for the 1966 season. The rule was often referred to as the "Don Chandler Rule." The NFL would eventually station an official under each post for field goals and extra points.
Since a playoff cannot end in a tie, the game went to overtime for the second time in NFL history.
The Colts also played in the first game, their 1958 championship victory over the New York Giants in what some call "The Greatest Game Ever." And who was the Giants' offen­sive coordinator in that game? Vince Lombardi
Green Bay won the coin toss to start overtime but went nowhere and punted for the first time since the first half. The stingy defenses continued to dominate, forcing three more punts. Finally, the Colts advanced to the Packer 40 before bogging down. It was their first foray into Green Bay territory since the first half. So Michaels lined up for a 47y field goal as the home fans held their breaths. But a high snap messed up the timing and the ball fell short.

Chandler kicks the game-winning field goal.
The Packers were not to be denied on their next possession. Starting from the 20, Brat­kowski called for a pass down the middle to Anderson. Noticing that the tight end the Packers called "Hobo" looked like he was injured with glassy eyes, Zeke asked him, "You all right?" "I'm all right," said Anderson, who had come to Green Bay in a trade with Washington and had played regularly only on rare occasions. "Just get the ball to me." Sure enough, Zeke connected with Anderson for the eighth time on the day, this time for 18y and a first down at the 38. With Hornung sidelined with a twisted knee and a hard hit to his chest, Elijah Pitts ran for six and Taylor for five to move the chains closer to field goal range. Then Zeke connected with Dale for 18. Three snaps later, Pitts went through the left side for four to put the ball in the middle of the field for 4th and two at the 18. Starr was well enough to fulfill his key role as holder. There was no doubt about Chand­ler's field goal this time–right down the middle to put the Packers in the NFL championship game for the fourth time in six years.
After the game, Anderson sat on his stool blinking his eyes, trying to shake the cobwebs out of his head and saying, "What do you mean, overtime? What overtime?"
"There was an overtime, you played in it and caught the pass that started the drive to Chandler's winning field goal," Anderson was told.
He shook his head like a fighter coming out of a knockout. "Everything is vague," he said. "I lost everything somewhere. I got hit somewhere. It must have been late in the game. ... I'm just thankful we could win, so I wouldn't be the goat because I remember fumbling the ball that they grabbed and went for a touchdown on the first play of the game. I was sick, just sick about that."
Chandler was asked, "Were you scared?" when he lined up for the winning field goal.
"Not then," he replied, "but look at me now. I can't get my nerves settled down." He tried to put a cigarette in his mouth, but his hands quivered so badly that he had trouble finding his lips. He held up his hands. "Look at this. I'm still shaking."
As to the winning field goal, Don said, "I knew right away about that one–you can tell when you hit one right."