The Green Bay Packers have had many magical moments in their 100-plus year history but the greatest quarter in the history of the franchise involved arguably the team’s best player, Don Hutson. The Hall of Fame receiver put together an incredible performance that has never been matched more than eight decades later. Here is a look back at Hutson’s incredible quarter.

The Buildup to the Greatest Quarter in Green Bay Packers History

The Packers were the defending NFL champions this season. Curly Lambeau’s team defeated the New York Giants in the 1944 NFL Championship Game. The Pack entered this game with a perfect 1-0 record in 1945 after beating the Bears 31-21 at Green Bay’s City Stadium. Their opponent was another division rival, the 1-0 Detroit Lions.

This game was to be played in Milwaukee at the Wisconsin State Fair Park. A crowd of more than 20,000 fans packed the place to see this meeting between two of the best teams in the league.

Don Hutson and the Greatest Quarter in Packers History

The quarter didn’t start off the way the Packers wanted. After a scoreless first quarter, the Lions took a 7-0 lead just five seconds into the second on an 8-yard run by Chuck Fenenbock.

Then the greatest quarter truly began. It took just one play for the Packers to answer. The Pack took over after the kickoff at their own 41. New tailback Roy McKay (tailbacks did most of the throwing back then) found Hutson in stride at the Detroit 40. “The Alabama Antelope” caught the ball in stride and ran into the end zone for a touchdown. Hutson booted the extra point, and the game was tied 7-7.

After the Packers took the lead on a touchdown catch by Clyde Goodnight, McKay found Hutson on a 46-yard touchdown toss. The Lions tried to double team him, but Hutson beat both defenders and got into the end zone. The Pack led 21-7.

Hutson Keeps Scoring

McKay and Hutson weren’t done putting up points in this magical second quarter. After the Packers intercepted a pass, the Pack took over at the Detroit 17. McKay found Hutson at the goal line when he separated from the defender and made a diving catch for another score. Hutson again kicked the extra point, and it was 28-7 Green Bay.

After Ted Fritsch returned an interception 69 yards for another score, Hutson caught his fourth touchdown pass of the quarter, a six-yarder pass from McKay. That made the score 41-7 at halftime.

In the quarter, Hutson scored 29 points, four touchdown catches and five extra points. To this day, this remains the NFL record for points in a quarter. The Packers 41 points in a quarter also remains an NFL record.

The Rest of the Game After the Packers Greatest Quarter

The game was obviously out of reach after the second quarter. The Packers added a safety and another long bomb for a touchdown on a 50-yard pass from Lou Brock to Irv Comp.

In the fourth quarter, the Pack scored on another pick six, this one a 33-yard return by Charley Brock. Each time, Hutson kicked the extra point.

The final score was 57-21 Green Bay. The 57 points in a game remains a Packers record to this day. Despite scoring 57 points, the Packers recorded only just seven first downs and were outgained on offense by the Lions 368-346.

The Aftermath of the Packers Greatest Quarter

Lions head coach Gus Dorius was straightforward after the game. When asked why his team lost so badly, he simply said, “Too much Hutson. He’s the same as he always was, incomparable.”

Years later, Hutson teammate Nolan Luhn told Packers historian Cliff Christl, “My gracious! [Hutson] He was a great football player. He could run. He could fake. A good eye on the ball. He had it all.”

The Packers finished the season with a 6-4 record. They opened the season with five home games and were 4-1 but finished 2-3 in their final five games which were all played on the road.

For Hutson, this was one of his greatest games. Some of the records he set still stand nearly 80 years later.

Hutson was the most dominant player in Packers history. The 1945 season would be his last. He led the league in catches that year for the fifth straight season and 8th time in his 11 seasons in the league.  His nine touchdown catches were more than three teams that season.

Hutson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the very first class back in 1963.




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