Wednesday, December 22, 2010

December 22, 1957: Bulletin board material

SAN FRANCISCO - The Detroit Lions were steaming. It was halftime of the Western Conference playoff game, and they were losing. On the road against the 49ers, the Lions were facing a 24-7 deficit. Y.A. Tittle was throwing all over the Lions, and it looked like the 49ers would advance to their first NFL Championship Game.

Then, at halftime, something changed. With the locker rooms at Kezar Stadium right next to each other, the Lions heard the 49ers celebrating their big halftime lead. And they got mad.

San Francisco kicked another field goal early in the third quarter to make it 27-7. And then the Lions roared back. Tom Tracy, who holds the NFL record for most passing yards by a non-quarterback, scored two rushing touchdowns in the third quarter, including a 57-yard run. Gene Gedman added another touchdown in the fourth quarter to give the Lions the lead, and a short field goal provided the final margin. Detroit's 31-27 victory sent them to the NFL Championship game and stunned the San Francisco crowd.

Bouyed by their win over the 49ers, the Lions went on to the championship game against the Browns and kept the momentum going, crushing Cleveland 59-14. It was the Lions' second title in five seasons. They haven't won one since, a drought of 53 years that is the second-longest in the NFL.

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