At last, at least the Baltimore Colts did not lose.
In the snow and rain today, they tied the Green Bay Packers, 20-20, after neither team was able to score in a 15-minute overtime period. In the extra period, both teams had a chance to win on field goals, but Packers tight end Gary Lewis blocked Dan Miller's attempt from 44 yards and Jan Stenerud's kick from 47 yards went wide right.
The Colts, fighting for their first victory of the season, were behind, 20-6, in the fourth quarter. But they tied the game on a 12-yard scoring pass from Mike Pagel to Matt Bouza and a one-yard plunge by Curtis Dickey.
The crowd of 25,920 cheered both teams in the overtime period as they move the ball up and down the field.
Colts Coach Frank Kush praised his defense but called the offense "a calamity of errors."
"We had so many opportunities we just didn't cash in," said Kush. As for the tie, Kush said, "No, I'm not satisfied. As far as I'm concerned we still haven't won one yet."
Some of his players were more philosophical. "It's better than a loss," said Bouza. "It's an improvement."
The Colts' comeback began with 7:08 remaining in regulation. The Packers' Cliff Lewis was called for a face mask penalty on a punt and the Colts began a three-play drive on the Packer 19.
After a three-yard run by Dickey and a four-yard screen to Zachary Dixon, Pagel threw a 12-yard scoring pass to Bouza cutting across the middle of the end zone. With the help of a sturdy Colt defense and an offensive pass interference call on John Jefferson, Baltimore got the ball back on its own 45 with 4:44 remaining.
Pagel started throwing again, hitting Bouza for 15 yards and Dickey for 17. On third and six at the Packer 18, Pagel found Dickey, who barely passed the first-down marker. After two incompletions, Pagel passed to Bouza, who was stopped one yard short of the touchdown.
Cleveland Franklin failed to score on first down, but Dickey dived over the line for the touchdown with 1:30 left. Miller's conversion tied the game and the following Packers' drive ended on the Colts' 45-yard line.
With 6,932 no-shows and Green Bay-like weather, it was clear the Colts would be playing with a meager home field advantage.
Nevertheless, they showed early signs of life when linebacker Johnie Cooks sacked quarterback Lynn Dickey, forcing a fumble on the 10-yard line. Green Bay recovered, but the short punt by Ray Stachowicz was returned by Larry Anderson to the Packer 23.
But the Colts could not score a touchdown. Miller, obtained last week after his unsuccessful attempt to replace Mark Moseley with the Redskins this summer, kicked a 23-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead with 6:05 left in the first quarter.
Early in the second period, an eight-yard swing pass from Dickey to Gerry Ellis and a 27-yard sideline pass to tight end Paul Coffman put Green Bay in field-goal range and Stenerud tied the score from 40 yards out.
The Colts, on the strength of their running game, drove to the Packer 25, but Green Bay, led by nose tackle Terry Jones, ended the drive at the 19. At 8:01 on fourth down and two, Miller set up for a 29-yard field goal attempt, but, on instructions from the sideline, holder Rohn Stark tried a shovel pass to Barry Krauss. Krauss dropped the ball and, on the sideline, Kush waved his arms and screamed his displeasure at the foiled fake.
Green Bay closed the half with an 88-yard scoring drive, highlighted by two passes to James Lofton and a holding penalty against cornerback James Burroughs. The drive ended with Dickey's one-yard scoring pass to John Thompson.
In the third quarter, the Colts continued to falter. They could not capitalize on a fumble recovery deep in Green Bay territory and the teams exchanged field goals to make the score 13-6.
At 8:15, the Colts began a drive that typified their season-long offensive struggles. Starting from his 14, Pagel led a 12-play drive, throwing to Dickey, Bouza and Tim Sherwin for big gains. On fourth and one at the Packers' 17, Pagel faded back to pass, stumbled slightly and dropped the ball. Packers linebacker Mike Douglass recovered.
On the next play, Dickey passed to Lofton behind the line of scrimmage and Lofton completed the flea-flicker to Jefferson for a 43-yard gain. Four plays later, Dickey completed a short pass to Lofton and a face mask penalty advanced the ball to the Colts five. Eddie Lee Ivery scored from one yard out to give Green Bay a seemingly comfortable 20-6 lead with 13:21 left.
"We let it get away in the fourth quarter," said Packers Coach Bart Starr. "We didn't lose, that's the only consolation."