Off-season Game of the Week

While their names are not frequently linked to his era, it was Don Chandler and Tom Brown who played key roles in Vince Lombardi's final regular-season victory as coach of the Green Bay Packers.<p>

Brown recovered a fumble to set up Chandler's clinching field goal with eight seconds left which lifted the Packers to a 30-27 win over the Minnesota Vikings Dec. 3, 1967 at Metropolitan Stadium.

"I don't think the game will go down in history as an artistic one," Lombardi said following the last of his 89 regular-season triumphs with the Packers.

The victory was barely meaningful as well.

The Packers entered the game with the Central Division championship in the fold. Green Bay clinched its sixth division crown in eight years with a 17-13 win over the Chicago Bears at Wrigley Field the previous week.

Still, the Packers stayed focused enough to win their fifth in a row en route to their third consecutive NFL Championship and second straight Super Bowl victory.

Chandler and wide receivers Boyd Dowler and Carroll Dale were the offensive heroes for the Packers while the defense had to fend off a spry performance by a Minnesota team that would be playing in the Super Bowl two seasons later.

Chandler gave the Packers a 3-0 lead in the first quarter of this back-and-forth affair with a 30-yard field goal. Minnesota countered with 10 unanswered points on a 24-yard field goal by Fred Cox and a 43-yard run by Dave Osborn, who would rush for a Viking record 155 yards.

The Packers came back with 10 points of their own to forge a 13-10 lead at the break. Dowler pulled the Packers even with what the United Press International report termed a "circus catch" on a 57-yard strike from Bart Starr.

Chuck Mercein then gave the Packers the first big break of the game when he pounced on a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. The Packers couldn't parlay the turnover into a touchdown but were able to get a 34-yard field goal out of Chandler to account for their halftime advantage. The lead didn't last long, however.

Scrappy Vikings' quarterback Joe Kapp put the Vikings back on top when he hit John Beasley with a six-yard scoring toss early in the third quarter.

Lombardi's charges appeared to restore order with 10 straight points to close out the quarter. Starr's 34-yard TD pass to Dale and Ben Wilson's 1-yard scoring run put the Packers up 27-17.

The Vikings, who entered the game 3-6-2, forced the final tie of the game with the third 10-point run of the contest. Kapp's 7-yard toss to Red Phillips and Cox's 27-yard field goal made the score 27-27 with five minutes to go.

A tie looked imminent until Brown, a defensive back, fell on Kapp's fumble at the Viking 28 with about two minutes left in the game.

The Packers played it conservatively leaving Chandler enough time to boot through the game-winner from 19 yards out with eight ticks left.

"A field goal was enough to win, so there were no foolish chances taken," Starr said. "Sure, we'd take the touchdown if we got it but we were playing field goal all the way."

The last-second victory was hardly a springboard for the team. The Packers dropped their final two regular-season games to the Rams and Steelers before righting the ship in time to make their record third consecutive championship run in a campaign Starr called "arguably the most the most rewarding season for the fans, the players, and Lombardi" in his 1987 autobiography "Starr" My Life in Football."


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