Great Games: Detroit Lions Receiver Cloyce Box

Cloyce Box played five seasons in the National Football League, from 1949 to 1954, all with the Detroit Lions. He was a key player in the team’s early 1950’s success, helping the Lions win NFL championships in 1952 and 1953.

Cloyce Box has an interesting life story, but his greatest NFL game is easy to pick out. It occurred on the road against the Colts in Baltimore on Sunday, December 3, 1950 in the second to the last game of his second year in the league.

After the first quarter ended and the score was 0-0, it looked to be a tough game for the visiting Lions. The second quarter saw the game take another look.

The scoring started in the second quarter with Lions quarterback and future Hall of Famer Bobby Layne hooking up with Cloyce Box on an 82 yard touchdown. Doak Walker added another score for Detroit and then Colts quarterback, and another future Hall of Famer, Y.A. Tittle threw a TD pass of his own to Hal Crisler. At the half, the score was Lions 14 and the Colts 7.

The third quarter opened up with another Tittle to Crisler scroing play, knotting the game up at 14-14. The Lions then ran off three straight third quarter scores, first a 67 yard pass from Layne to Box, then a Doak Walker field goal, and then a Doak Walker touchdown run. At the end of the third quarter, it was the Lions leading the Colts 31-14.

The Colts opened up the fourth with a one yard touchdown pass from Adrian Burk to Paul Salata, bringing the game to 31-21, but it would be their last score of the game. The Lions added two more fourth quarter touchdowns to secure the win, first a 32 yard TD pass from Layne to Box, and then Box would add another, this time from 22 yards out from Fred Enke. The final score would be 45-21 for a great road win for the Detroit Lions.

Quarterback Bobby Layne had a great game for Detroit, finishing with 16 completions on 27 attempts for 341 yards and three touchdowns.

The real star for the team though was Cloyce Box. He finished this game with 12 catches, four of them for touchdowns, and a total of 302 receiving yards. This was the first time in NFL history that a receiver had gone over the 300 yard receiving mark in a game. It stood as the NFL record too until 1985 when it was broken by Stephone Paige of the Kansas City Chiefs. More than 65 years after that incredible performance, only four other receivers had ever hit 300 yards receiving in one game.

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