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Original Issue


DEC. 18, 1965

With the Colts' Johnny Unitas and Gary Cuozzo injured and a
playoff berth on the line, running back Tom Matte shared
quarterback duties with Ed Brown in the season finale against
the Rams. Coach Don Shula simplified the game plan, and Matte,
getting significant action at quarterback for the first time
since his junior year at Ohio State in 1959, wore a wristband
with formations on it. Matte ran for 99 yards as Baltimore won

OCT. 15, 1972

After the Dolphins' Bob Griese went out with a broken right leg
and a dislocated ankle early in a game against the Chargers,
17-year veteran Earl Morrall was pressed into action. Morrall
finished the 24-10 win and then led the Dolphins to wins in
their next 10 games. Griese came back for spot duty during a
20-14 divisional playoff victory over the Browns and didn't
return for good until the second half of the AFC Championship
Game, a 21-17 win over the Steelers. Two weeks later, with
Griese starting, Miami beat the Redskins 14-7 in Super Bowl VII
and became the only team in NFL history to have an undefeated

NOV. 4, 1979

The Rams were sputtering along at 4-5 when Pat Haden broke the
pinkie on his throwing hand in a game against the Seahawks. Jeff
Rutledge finished the 24-0 win, but after a loss the next week
to the Bears, Los Angeles turned to third-year man Vince
Ferragamo against the Falcons. Los Angeles won 20-14 and three
of its last four regular-season games under Ferragamo. The Rams
then beat the Cowboys and the Bucs in the playoffs to earn their
only Super Bowl berth. After leading at halftime, Los Angeles
lost to the Steelers 31-19.

DEC. 15, 1990

After seeing only spot duty for the better part of three
seasons, Jeff Hostetler stepped in for the injured Phil Simms
during the Giants' 17-13 loss to the Bills. With Hostetler in
charge, New York won its final two regular-season games, beat
the Bears in the divisional playoffs and upset the two-time
defending Super Bowl-champion 49ers in the NFC Championship
Game. In Super Bowl XXV, against the seven-point favorite Bills,
Hostetler completed 20 of 32 passes for 222 yards and one
touchdown and directed an offense that controlled the ball for
more than 40 minutes in a 20-19 victory.

JAN. 3, 1993

The Bills were trailing the Oilers 35-3 in the third quarter of
an AFC wild-card game before Frank Reich, starting for the
injured Jim Kelly, led the Bills on five second-half scoring
drives. Then in overtime Reich led Buffalo to the Houston 15,
and Steve Christie's field goal gave the Bills a 41-38 win,
capping the greatest comeback in NFL history. Reich completed 21
of 34 passes for 389 yards and four touchdowns. The following
week he led Buffalo to a 24-3 win over the Steelers and into the
AFC Championship Game, for which Kelly returned.


COLOR PHOTO: WALTER IOOSS JR. Before moving to the Dolphins in 1972, Morrall (left) was the Colts' insurance if Unitas got hurt. [Earl Morrall and Johnny Unitas in locker room]