GAME RECAP (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL)
(MILWAUKEE) - How to win a football game, lose it, and then
win it again, all in the space of 60 minutes, was delightfully
demonstrated by Gene Ronzani's Green Bay Packers at State
Fair Park Sunday afternoon as they nosed out John
Michelosen's Pittsburgh Steelers on a soggy turf, 35-33. A
mere handful of 8,324 turned out to watch the event, which is
certainly nothing to brag about, drizzle or no drizzle, and they
were rewarded with one of the finest games Green Bay has
played in years and one of the most exciting the West Allis
field has ever had. In a rocking mood in which everything they
did was right, the Packers roared off to a 28-0 lead in the first
20 minutes, saw it whittled away until they lost it early in the
third quarter, 33-28, and then came back to win in the last 4
1/2 minutes. A pass from Tobin Rote to Bobby Mann from the
16-yard line settled the game.
It was sharp, exciting football from the beginning to the end, if
not by the offense, then by the defense, and at game's end the
8,324 let out a collective "whew" - maybe 8,397 for the players
and coaches must have joined in too. The victory was Green
Bay's first in the league race. A week ago the team lost to the
Bears. There was no stopping the Packers in those first 20
minutes - flaming minutes that were almost hard to believe
Billy Grimes ran 18 yards for the first touchdown. Rote and
Mann completed a 48-yard pass for the second. Bobby
Thomason passed 25 yards to Ray Pelfrey for the third and
Rote sneaked over center from the one for the fourth. On four
of the first five times the Packers had the ball they scored.
STEELERS ROAR BACK
Once this opening onslaught had spent itself, the Steelers
picked themselves out of the mud and for the next 20 minutes
there was no stopping them, either Chuck Ortmann,
Milwaukee's gift to the city of steel, passed 34 yards to Lynn Chandois for the first touchdown. Chandois ran two yards for the second. Jack Cloud fumbled a deflected hand-off in the end zone for a safety. Frank Rogell plunged from the two for the third touchdown. Jim Fink ran back an intercepted pass 30 yards for the fourth and Joe Geri kicked a field goal from the 26. The jubilation which had greeted the Packers' early surge turned to growing anguish, of course, as the Steelers rubbed away at the deficit and finally wiped it out completely on Fink's touchdown. "Of course, of course," the sadly wagging heads in the crowd seemed to say, "It figures to be this way." Didn't the Packers bow to the Steelers in the exhibition only three weeks ago, 35-6? Didn't the Steelers just tie the mighty Giants, 13-13? Didn't the Steelers go into this game as a 7 1/2 point choice?
STEELERS ARE STOPPED
But the Steelers never could add to their 33-28 lead and with only 4 1/2 minutes left, the Packers cut loose with their winning wallop. Rote passed to Mann, again, and the Packers had the rock around Pittsburgh's neck for keeps. There was even an extra wallop to the winning pass, for it had to be completed twice to count. The first time the head linesman detected offsides and the touchdown was recalled. The second time, on the very next down and on the very same pattern, it was good. There were two well-matched, well-coached teams and they threw everything in the book at each other. The Packers, using the spread they had employed so widely against the Bears a week ago sparingly, mixed good hard running with good sharp passing, and the Steelers, predominantly a running team, surprised with the same concoction and with a variety of passers. Ortmann, Chandnois, Geri, Rogell, all threw for the single wing Steelers and completed eight of 20 for 133 yards. Rote and Thomason hurled for Green Bay and completed 12 out of 24 for 252 yards.
WIND A FACTOR
The wind, which blew rather sharply out of the north was no small factor in the game and significantly almost all of the scoring was done by the team which had it. Green Bay had it in the first and fourth quarters, Pittsburgh in the second and third. The Packers went 49 yards the first time they had the ball, actually 64 yards after a 15-yard penalty, and the fans blinked. Rote picked up 25 yards on one play, Grimes 22 on three, Cloud 15 on two, and Canadeo two on one. The payoff occurred on Grimes' dazzling 18-yard run inside Pittsburgh's right end. The Packers also scored the next time they got the ball, and this time by way of variety, they did it through the air. A punt left them with the ball on Pittsburgh's 48, and in two plays they put the scorekeeper to work again. A first down pass was incomplete, but a second down pass, on which Bobby Mann made a spectacular catch, brought the ball home. Mann leaped high to snag the ball while on the run, eluded the few tacklers who surrounded him, and then got a key block from Tony Canadeo to cross the goal with ease.
BOOST LEAD TO 28-0
The third time the Packers had the ball in this flaming first quarter they failed to gain and had to punt, but the fourth time they scored on two plays. A pass which Loomis intercepted and returned 22 yards on a nifty run left them with the ball on Pittsburgh's 26, and away they went. Grimes picked up a yard on first down, and Thomason pitched a perfect strike to Pelfrey in the end zone on second. And still they came. The fifth time they got the ball, they scored once more. Geri's poor punt out of bonds against the win left them with the ball on Pittsburgh's 33 and, on seven plays, a combination of runs and passes, they brought it home. Rote sneaked over from the one. Up to this time, the Steelers had been completely smothered. They had made only one first down. With the score 28-0 against them, however, they suddenly struck, not on the ground as expected, but on two brilliant passes. The first, Chadnois to Ortmann, carried them from their own 48 to Green Bay's 34. The second, Ortmann to Chadnois, who was all alone in the deep flat, brought the ball home.
PITTSBURGH GETS SAFETY
It was just the hit the Steelers needed, too, after their bad start, and they went all the way again in this free-wheeling game the next time they got the ball. Ortmann passed to Jansante for one first down, Chadnois ran for another, and Chadnois passed to Ortmann for the third on the one-yard line. Chadnois easily went around right end for the touchdown on the first play. A good defensive maneuver gave the Steelers the next two points on a safety a minute later. They rushed Thomason badly on a pitchout and when Cloud fumbled the slightly deflected ball into the end zone, he had no chance except to fall on it. Grimes' fumble on a punt, which Allen recovered on Green Bay's 30 a couple of minutes later, let the Steelers set the scoring wheels in motion once more. Ortmann ran 10 yards for one first down and passed to Jansante on the six for another. The rest was simple. On three plays, Rogell rammed over center for the touchdown. So the half ended 28-23. It took the Steelers only 40 seconds as the third quarter got under way to take the lead, 30-28, in this amazing comeback. On second down after the kickoff, which the Packers took on their 20, Finks intercepted a pass in the flat and easily crossed the goal 25 yards away.
MANN TAKES WINNING PASS
The Steelers had scored the next points, a field goal, making it 33-28 a couple of minutes later. They drove to Green Bay's 21, before the Packers head. On the fourth down, Geri stepped back to the 26 and booted a field goal. So the game remained without further event until the fourth quarter when the Packers threatened after a spectacular 85-yard pass, Rote to Moselle, which put the ball on the six. A touchdown looked like a cinch, particularly after Grimes, on two plays, had rammed to the one. But that was all. Cloud made only a foot on third down, and Rote failed to gain on a sneak. The Steelers took over. But the Packers, held scoreless since early in the second quarter, could not be denied again, and after the Steelers had been forced to punt to their own 35, they finally scored to take the lead. Rote passed to Cloud for one first down on the 22, to Moselle for another on the 11, and, then, after one touchdown passe to Mann had been nullified because of offside, tossed right back to Mann for the touchdown.
PITTSBURGH - 0 23 10 0 - 33
GREEN BAY - 21 7 0 7 - 35
1st - GB - Grimes, 18-yard run (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 7-0
1st - GB - Mann, 48-yard pass from Rote (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 14-0
1st - GB - Pelfrey, 25-yard pass from Thomason (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 21-0
2nd - GB - Rote, 1-yard run (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 28-0
2nd - PITT - Lynn Chandois, 34-yd pass from Chuck Ortmann (Joe Geri kick) GREEN BAY 28-7
2nd - PITT - Chandois, 2-yard run (Geri kick) GREEN BAY 28-14
2nd - PITT - Safety, Cloud tackled by Charley Mehelich in the end zone GREEN BAY 28-16
2nd - PITT - Fran Rogel, 2-yard run (Geri kick) GREEN BAY 28-23
3rd - PITT - Jim Finks, 25-yard interception return (Geri kick) PITTSBURGH 30-28
3rd - PITT - Geri, 26-yard field goal PITTSBURGH 33-28
4th - GB - Mann, 16-yard pass from Rote (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 35-33