The Green Bay Packers scored their second straight comeback win of the 1982 NFL season when they defeated the New York Giants 27-19. This was a truly strange game for several reasons, but it was also a memorable one for the Packers. James Lofton gained 184 total yards and scored the touchdown that turned the tide in favor of the Packers. The game had an almost surreal feel in front of Howard Cosell and a national television audience on Monday Night Football.

The Strange Circumstances Surrounding the Packers Win Over the Giants

This game was unusual before it even started. The NFL Players Association had called for a strike that would begin just after this game was completed. As the Monday Night Football game, the Packers and Giants were competing in the final contest of Week 2 of the 1982 NFL campaign. Once the final gun sounded, the strike would officially begin.

Before the game, all the players on both teams met at the 50-yard line and shook hands in solidarity. The fans, who didn’t want to be without their favorite sport, booed when the players did this.

Nobody knew it at the time, but once this game was over, there would be no NFL games until mid-November.

Turn Out the Lights, The Party’s [Almost] Over

To make matters worse, the lights at Giants Stadium went out twice during the second quarter of the game. The contest was delayed for about 25 total minutes during two delays while staff tried to restore the lights. The official cause of the outage was a “blip in the main feeder.”

The players joked it was something else. “I can’t believe the power failures,” joked Giants union player rep Beasley Reece. “Guys were making jokes to each other on the field like [players’ union chief], ‘Ed Garvey’s pulling the switch’ or [Giants owner] ‘Wellington Mara is pulling the switch.’”

The blackout gave the game an almost surreal feeling.

The Packers Fall Behind the Giants Early

The first three quarters of the game was nearly all Giants. They built up a 19-7 lead on touchdown runs by Joe Morris and Cliff Chatman, a safety, and a 37-yard field goal by former Packers kicker Joe Danelo. The safety came when long snapper Larry Rubens snapped the ball over the head of punter Ray Stachowicz and it went out of the back of the end zone.

While backup quarterback Scott Brunner of the Giants was able to move the ball well in the first three quarters, the Packers offense struggled. Quarterback Lynn Dickey was sacked four times in the game including 1.5 by future Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor.

The only points the Pack managed for the first 42 minutes came in the second quarter when Dickey found fullback Jim Jensen for a seven-yard touchdown pass.

James Lofton Spurs the Packers Comeback Over the Giants

The Packers trailed 19-7 late in the third quarter and faced a 3rd-and-7 situation at their own 17. That’s when Dickey handed the ball to Jensen on what seemed like a simple run to the left. But Jensen handed the ball to Lofton who ran back to the right. The former Stanford sprinter got blocks from Dickey and wide receiver Phil Epps and went untouched for an 83-yard touchdown run.

“That’s a great call and extremely well executed,” Packers head coach Bart Starr said. “It just popped the way you draw it up on the board.”

“I know that gave us a tremendous lift,” Dickey told reporters after the game.

“It seemed to turn the tide against us,” Taylor admitted.

After that, the Packers defense limited the Giants to just 12 yards on their final four possessions of the game.

The Packers Pull Away from the Giants in the Fourth Quarter

The Packers took the lead for good in the fourth quarter when running back Eddie Lee Ivery scored on an 11-yard run. The key play in the drive was a 26-yard pass to tight end Paul Coffman. That made the score 21-19 Green Bay. Ivery finished the game with 94 yards rushing on 28 carries and a score.

The Packers picked off two passes in the fourth quarter and both led to Jan Stenerud field goals. Safety Maurice Harvey and linebacker Rich Wingo did the honors.

The Aftermath of the Packers Comeback Win Over the Giants

The win improved the Packers record on the season to 2-0 while the Giants fell to 0-2. The previous week, the Pack overcame a 23-0 halftime deficit against the Rams and beat them 35-23.

The Pack played this game without wide receiver John Jefferson who was dealing with a hamstring injury.

The Packers didn’t play again November 21, two months after this win. Each team played only nine games in the regular season and the Packers finished 5-3-1. They made their only playoff appearance that year in Starr’s nine-year coaching tenure in Green Bay and beat the Cardinals in the first round before losing to the Cowboys in Dallas.

For Lofton, this was a great moment. He caught four passes for 101 yards and then scored on the 83-yard reverse. The reverse stood out in his mind. “I had a couple of good blocks,” he said with a smile after the game, “and I had the wind at my back.”



Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

Click here for more great Packers coverage