GAME RECAP (MILWAUKEE SENTINEL)
(GREEN BAY) - It was Santa Claus weather at City
Stadium Sunday afternoon, but there wasn't any merry
jingling of bells or pre-Christmas gifts for the Packers.
Which is to say that they dropped a heartbreaking
24-17 decision to the Detroit Lions on turf partially
covered with snow and frozen to concrete hardness by
18-degree temperatures. Actually, the Bays gave a lot
more than they received in the way of gifts, that is.
Two giveaways in particulate, those damaging third
quarter fumbles along with sharpshooting Bobby
Layne a huge line that gave his almost perfect
protection and a just too big guy by the name of Leon
Hart settled the home club's hash. But the crowd of
18,800, an amazing turnout considering the weather,
didn't go away grumbling. The brave folks were
rewarded with almost unbelievable performances on
both sides, especially in the passing and the receiving
department. Witness the fact that the Lions' three
touchdowns (two by Hart and one by Doak Walker)
and one by the Packers (Jug Girard) came through the
airlanes. Consider too, the Packers' 28 completions in
44 attempts (24 out of 33 for Bobby Thomason and 4
out of 11 by Tobin Rote), and Layne's record of seven
out of 15.
CANADEO NABS SIX
As might be imagined, the receiving was in keeping
with the pitching. Tony Canadeo and Bobby Mann
fielded six apiece for the Bays and Fred Cone five.
Cone, by the way, played terrific all-around ball. Hart
came up with two dazzlers in addition to his brilliant
scoring catches. Pat Harder, still a mighty hunk of a
football man, caught two in addition to winning the
day's ground gaining honors without an argument. Pat
ground out 61 yards in 13 tries for an average of close to five. Add a couple of tremendous interceptions by Girard and Ace Loomis and Girard's 41-yard punting average in the strong win, and you have more evidence that the boys on the field put on a real show, the numbing cold to the contrary notwithstanding. The edge, if any, belonged to the Packers in the 3-3 first half. Cone's 16-yard first quarter field goal was matched by Walker's from 13 yards out in the second period. The home club lost a touchdown, via a 16-yard Rote to Mann pass, because of an offside penalty. Balancing the bad breaks were two place kick failures, from 42 and 36 yards out, by Walker. But the real fireworks, and the Santa Claus business, came in the third quarter when the Lions built up a lead they never relinquished, after the Packers seemed well on their way to scoring against the strong west win and perhaps sewing up the victory themselves.
GRIMES ALMOST AWAY
Billy Grimes almost went all the way with the kickoff opening the second half. He was hauled down on Green Bay's 44 by the last man, Walker, who had booted the ball. Thomason tossed the first of 13 consecutive completions to Carlton Elliott for six yards and then hit Canadeo along the north sidelines. Tony pivoted two tacklers for 26 yards to the Detroit 20 where he was hit so hard the slippery ball popped out of his arms and right smack into the outstretched hands of the Lions' Jack Christiansen. Christiansen recognized a gift when he saw one and promptly rambled toward the right goal for 52 yards before he was knocked out of bounds by Thomason. A third down pass from Layne to Hart, good for 23 yards, cashed in on the big break. Hart juggled the ball going into the end zone, but managed to hang on. Walker added the first of three three conversions.
GRIMES' FUMBLE FATAL
Nothing came of Dom Moselle's fumble after he took a Thomason pass for a first down on the Lions' 41. But it was curtains when Billy Grimes let the ball get away a few minutes later as he was tackled on the Bay 38. Bob Momsen pounced on it for Detroit. Three plays later, two of them passes to Hart and one a 12-yard scamper by Walker, ran the bell was the fourth period got underway. The payoff was a 17-yard toss to Hart, who outreached Girard and Harper Davis in the end zone. That made it 17-3. From then on the Packers more than held their own. They drove 73 yards, with Cone plunging over from the one, to reduce the deficit to 17-10 with 4:45 to play. And, after the Lions had racked up an insurance marker on a Layne to Walker aerial for 47 yards, they came right back to move 55 yards on five straight completions by Thomason for a consolation marker. As Girard made a grand catch in the end zone (the final play started from the Lion 24), the clock showed only 10 seconds to play. The Ronzanimen were still trying despite the almost hopeless situation. Cone's short kickoff was almost recovered - almost, but not quite. If it had been, there would have been time for one shot at a tie. Detroit's real edge came in line play - particularly, as previously mentioned, in protecting Layne so well that he had a world of time on each pass and in rushing the Packer passers so hard that it was impossible to get off the damaging long throws. But, with it all, it was a ball game which would have done credit to a warm, mid-October afternoon.
DETROIT - 0 3 7 14 - 24
GREEN BAY - 3 0 0 14 - 17
1st - GB - Cone, 16-yard field goal GREEN BAY 3-0
2nd - DET - Doak Walker, 13-yard field goal TIED 3-3
3rd - DET - Leon Hart, 23-yard pass from Bobby Layne (Walker kick) DET 10-3
4th - DET - Hart, 17-yard pass from Layne (Walker kick) DETROIT 17-3
4th - GB - Cone, 1-yard run (Cone kick) DETROIT 17-10
4th - DET - Walker, 47-yard pass from Layne (Walker kick) DETROIT 24-10
4th - GB - Girard, 24-yard pass from Thomason (Cone kick) DETROIT 24-17