HUTSON/PACKERS' RECORD 41-POINT SECOND QUARTER IN '45 REMAINS A MAJOR HIGHLIGHT OF 147-GAME RIVALRY WITH THE LIONS
It was not Don Hutson's final game...
It was, in fact, only Week Two of the 1945 season, his eleventh and last in the National Football League.
But, in the context of his remarkable career, it could well have been termed the last hurrah for the Packers' legendary end, who at the close of the '45 campaign would be retiring as the leading scorer and leading receiver in pro football history.
And said "hurrah," indisputably, remains in a class by itself 59 years later.
Certainly, the incredible show Don Hutson put on against the Detroit Lions at Milwaukee's State Fair Park the afternoon of Oct. 7, 1945, was the most singular performance in a Hall of Fame career replete with distinguished performances - including the then-only four 200-yard receiving games in team annals and a club single-game mark of 14 receptions - the latter still a record today.
With productive collaboration from Hutson's teammates on that distant occasion, the contest remains a major highlight in the Packers' 75-year-old series with the Lions, a relationship that spans 147 games and one that rivals the Packers' venerable feud with the Chicago Bears in terms of frequency.
On that sunny afternoon, the Packers were down 7-0 early in the second quarter of the game when, without warning, circumstances changed dramatically.
At that precise juncture, the Packers proceeded to score 41 consecutive unanswered points - 29 of them by the incomparable Hutson, who caught four touchdown passes and kicked five extra points during that explosive span.
Thus on a record roll, the Green and Gold went on from there to smother Detroit, 57-21.
To this day, it is a quarter that remains unsurpassed in the history of professional football with respect to point production. The 41-point eruption has been equaled - once - but never eclipsed in the intervening 58 years.
And it has been a half-century since that second quarter point-fest was matched - on Oct. 29, 1950 - by the then-Los Angeles Rams against, oddly enough, the same Detroit Lions who had been the victims of the Packers' record performance at Milwaukee in 1945.
Surprisingly, considering that the two highest-scoring teams in Packers' history have surfaced in the past decade (in 1996 and 2003), the 57 points they registered in that '45 demolition of Detroit also remain the most they ever have scored in a regular season game.
Hutson's 29-point effusion likewise continues to reign as an NFL record for a single quarter of production.
One pertinent footnote: On that occasion, the Packers' peerless pass receiver might easily have broken the NFL's single-game record - a 40-point outing by the Chicago Cardinals' Ernie Nevers against the Chicago Bears in 1929 - but he did not play a down from his position in the second half.
In fact, Hutson entered the game only twice during the last two periods - to kick an extra point, in each case. And, consequently, he closed out a memorable afternoon with 31 points.
The latter total remained a Packers record for 16 years - until Oct. 8, 1961, when Paul Hornung amassed 33 points in a 45-7 triumph over the then Baltimore Colts in City Stadium, the Golden Boy posting four touchdowns and kicking six extra points and one field goal.
At the other end of the scoring spectrum, the Packers' rivalry with the Lions produced a rare and tightfisted "standoff" in 1934 - the year the Portsmouth, Ohio, Spartans moved to the Motor City to assume their new identity.
In their first meeting with the newly-rechristened Lions, on Oct. 7, 1934, in Green Bay's "original" City Stadium, Detroit ultimately prevailed, 3-0, on a then-NFL-record, 54-yard field goal by Glenn Presnell.
Seven weeks later, the Packers invaded Detroit for a rematch (Nov. 25, 1934) - and an imposing task in facing a Lions team that had outscored its first 10 opponents that season, 215 points to 27.
With a bristling defense spearheaded by future Hall of Famer Mike Michalske, Milt Gantenbein, Ade Schwammel, Nate Barragar and Bruce Jones, the Packers proceeded to shut out the high-scoring Lions.
Clarke Hinkle, another future Hall of Famer, completed the successful project. He kicked a 47-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, which became sufficient to carry the day and "certify" a 3-0 Green Bay victory, matching Detroit's early season success in Green Bay.
Hinkle, a Packers wheelhorse for 10 years (1932-41), remains the 10th-ranking scorer in team history (379 points).
Presnell's 54-yard field goal in that first '34 meeting between the Packers and Lions stood as an NFL record for 19 years - until Baltimore's Albert Rechichar surpassed it with a 56-yard effort in 1953.
Presnell died earlier this season at the age of 99.
Continuing an association with the team that is more than 55 years old, Lee Remmel was named the first official Team Historian of the Green Bay Packers in February 2004. The former *Green Bay Press-Gazette reporter and Packers public relations director, Remmel will write regular columns for Packers.com as part of his new assignment.
In addition to those articles, Remmel will answer fan questions in a monthly Q&A column. To submit a question to Remmel, click here. *