(MILWAUKEE) - The Los Angeles Rams staged one of the most amazing comebacks in all football history to pull victory out of the fire at the expense of the Green Bay
Packers at Marquette Stadium Sunday afternoon. As the fourth
and final quarter got underway, the Packers, after 45 minutes of
the finest football ever played by a Green Bay team in
Milwaukee, had built up a 28 to 6 lead that seemed as safe as
money in the world's strongest bank.
The best the Rams were able to do up to that point was pick up
six points on two second period field goals by the mighty Bob
Waterfield. Harmless points everybody assumed. They had the
ball on the Packer 22 when fourth quarter action got underway.
Fourteen minutes later they had racked up 24 more points on
three touchdowns and Waterfield's third field goal for a 30-28
win - so startling that it had to be seen to be believed. In fact,
the 21,693 paying customers - close to a full house and the
largest crowd ever to jam its way into Hilltop Stadium - as well
as the thousands who watched from the hillside outside the
park, probably aren't convinced to this very minute.
But it did happen. And that was about as cruel a fate as ever
could befall a team as sharp as Gene Ronzani's boys were
Sunday. Razor sharp for three periods that is for they cooled off
both offensively and defensively in that cruel, never-to-be-
forgotten home stretch as noticeably as the Rams swung the
other way. So it was a combination deal - up on one side and
down on the other. There might have been some uneasiness,
but certainly no fear that lightning would strike again and again
after the Rams took seven plays to grind out their first
touchdown in the fourth canto. Deacon Dan Towler's one yard
plunge was the payoff.
Waterfield, whose first half action was limited to the field goal
kicking that ultimately made the difference, booted the first of
his three extra points. Waterfield stayed at the controls when
the Rams got the ball on their own 35 after Babe Parilli's punt.
The defending champs, with the help of an interference penalty
against the Packers and another big one for roughness on the
part of the Bays, were back on the Green Bay 17 in less time
than it takes to tell about it. But three straight passes were
broken up there. Instead of choosing to shoot for the TD,
Waterfield took another field goal whirl, and connected from 25
yards out to reduce the deficit to 28-16. This called for a bit of
squirming. But everybody seemed happy that Waterfield had
elected to go for three. There was still a 12-point cushion and
everything would be all right. So they thought, at least.
Another booming kickoff by Bob Carey gave the Packers the
ball on their 20 on a touchback. Tobin Rote, the hero in
building up the earlier 28-6 lead, ground out a first down in two
tries to relieve whatever little tension existed. But the heat was
on again when Rote, obviously trying to eat up time while going
for first downs, fumbled after a three-yard plunge up the middle.
Jack Myers was there to pounce on the ball for the Rams on
the Packer 33. Vitamin Smith reversed for 11 and then Towler
broke through the middle for six, fumbling as he was waylaid
by the secondary. A most fortunate fumble for the Rams it
turned out to be, for teammate Carey picked up the precious
leather and ran the remaining 16 yards to the goal line.
Waterfield's kick made it 28-23. All eyes turned to the clock,
which showed five minutes and 45 seconds remaining. By their
looks they were asking: "Can we possibly be slicked out of this one?" The answer in most cases undoubtedly was: "Not a chance. A fine rally, but it's gone far enough."
There were misgivings on the first play, after Billy Grimes lugged Carey's kickoff back to the Bay 30, when Parilli elected to drop the conservative pattern and go for the clincher on a long pass. Up popped Jerry Williams to intercept on the enemy 45. But again came a sigh of relief that could be heard downtown when Clarence Self, a fine defensive back, gave the Packers possession again by pouncing on the ball after it squirted out of Tank Younger's hands on the Rams' 46. Younger had just fielded a pass in the right flat from Waterfield when he was racked. The Packers got nowhere in three tries, but Parilli's nifty punt to the Los Angeles eight looked like the game saver. Four minutes and 92 yards to go for the Rams. It was the next things to an impossibility. "Oh, yeah!" Waterfield probably thought. And "Oh, yeah!" it was - in seven plays that will live in the fans' memories for years to come.
Towler went for six and Smith for four and a first down. Then Watefield cranked up for keeps. Three times he fired and three times he connected for a total of 77 yards - 20 to Carey, 30 to Smith and 27 to Fears. A first down on the five yard line! All feeling of uneasiness was gone. Everybody now knew it was going to happen by this time. All they could do was pray it wouldn't. But the prayers went unanswered. Smith hit right tackle for three and Deacon Towler, probably praying himself, blasted through for the final two yards. A 28-6 lead into a 30-28 deficit! Fifty-eight seconds to play! What a sinking feeling. Rote managed to give the good folks in the stands and his coach and saddened teammates a final thrill with a 23-yard run into Los Angeles territory. He was hit so hard that he fumbled the ball and had to be assisted from the field. Oh, yes - as might be expected, Williams recovered on his own 40. One play and it was all over, but the moaning. What a field day for the Ronzanimen had before the roof caved in. Bobby Jack Floyd hit off left tackle for 14 yards and a touchdown to climax a long delayed (by penalties on both sides) drive from their own 31 in the first quarter. Bobby Dillon's pass interception started it. After Woodley Lewis' 49 yard punt return set up Waterfield's first field goal (16 yards) and a short punt gave Bob position for his second three-pointer (32 yards), Rote and Billy Howton collaborated on a 69 yard pass play - the day's No. 1 thriller - to give the Bays a 14-6 halftime lead. Howton beat two defenders to the pitch, just managed to avoid stepping out of bounds and reversed his field to run 58 of the 69 yards.
The Pack almost had a more comfortable margin at the intermission. Parilli's beautiful throw and Bob Mann's circus catch gained 34 yards and a first down on the five. They not only blew the touchdown by failing to gain on three running plays but three points of insurance when Bill Reichardt's 14 yard field goal try on last down sailed wide. No one realized it at the time, of course, but that double failure ultimately was to cost the game. Certainly the lone bog-down was forgotten when Ronzani's boys took the second half kickoff and rolled right on to touchdown No. 3. Rote picked up 23 of the 69 yards running and hit on three straight passes - first to Howton for 16, then to Jim Keane for eight and finally to Mann for the score from 17 yards out. They got the ball back on a punt and then they went into super razzle dazzle that laid the customers in the aisles and spread the Rams around the premises. They swept 85 yards in eight plays (plus making up for a 15 yard holding penalty) to score again, this time with Parilli at quarterback and Rote at right half. Parilli flipped a lateral to Rote, who pitched to Howton for the big gainer of 41 yards. A keeper play, with Parilli tossing another lateral to Rote, picked up 15. Then Parilli fired to Mann for the payoff six yards. Fred Cone booted his fourth straight conversion. Twenty-eight to six! Is it any wonder they rocked as the almost delirious fans went wild in anticipation of a great victory celebration? They were still cheering and not even paying much attention as Younger got away for 38 yards on a wide reverse before the sizzling third period ended. This was it! Just to show you how good the Packers were up to that point, they outgained the Rams for the day, 428 yards to 341, outran 'em and outpassed 'em in spite of the fourth quarter collapse. But that quarter! It was murder - absolutely murder.
LOS ANGELES -  0  6  0 24 - 30
GREEN BAY   -  7  7 14  0 - 28
1st - GB - Floyd, 14-yard run (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 7-0
2nd - LA - Bob Waterfield, 16-yard field goal GREEN BAY 7-3
2nd - LA - Waterfield, 32-yard field goal GREEN BAY 7-6
2nd - GB - Howton, 69-yard pass from Rote (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 14-6
3rd - GB - Mann, 17-yard pass from Rote (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 21-6
3rd - GB - Mann, 6-yard pass from Rote (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 28-6
4th - LA - Dan Towler, 1-yard run (Waterfield kick) GREEN BAY 28-13
4th - LA - Waterfield, 25-yard field goal GREEN BAY 28-16
4th - LA - Bob Carey, 16-yard fumble return (Waterfield kick) GREEN BAY 28-23
4th - LA - Towler, 2-yard run (Waterfield kick) LOS ANGELES 30-28
Los Angeles Rams (1-2) 30, Green Bay Packers (1-2) 28
Sunday October 12th 1952 (at Milwaukee)
OCTOBER 13 (Green Bay) - This was the bluest Monday in a long time for a Packer squad, for coach Gene Ronzani's players, to a man, still can't figure out the cruel twist of fate that deprived them of victory over the Los Angeles Rams at Milwaukee. The most ardent fan can't feel as badly as the Bays, including Ronzani and his assistants. But, as Ronzani pointed out, "there's another game coming up, so there's work to be done." That was the signal to swing into a workout - light but surprisingly spirited - Monday afternoon. The pace will be stepped up Tuesday and Wednesday, the final practice sessions at home. Thursday night the squad leaves by plane for Dallas, where the Texans will be met Saturday night. Plans call for drills in Dallas Thursday night and Friday afternoon. Bobby Jack Floyd, hard running freshman fullback, and Dave Stephenson, rugged guard, were the only casualties in the Ram game. There is still no way of telling if they will be ready to play by Saturday. Bobby Dillon, expert safetyman, continues to hobble a bit as a result of the pulled muscle he sustained in the final preseason game with Pittsburgh. But he is certain to take his regular place on defense. Breezy Reid, who was sidelined last Sunday, also will be in shape, according to reports from the training room.
OCTOBER 13 (Washington) - Angry Washington Redskins officials, believing that several of their players just "laid down and died" in Sunday's defeat by the Chicago Cards, started a shake-up today by firing two players and hiring two others. Coach Curly Lambeau, backed by wrathful owner George Preston Marshall, warned the Redskins that there will be more changes soon unless the players "get your minds out of the second division." Fire by Lambeau were guard Ed Bagdon and rookie fullback Sam Venuto. Hired was fullback Jack Cloud, former William and Mary star who was a member of the Green Bay Packers until two weeks ago. The Skins also signed tackle Ed Ecker, a veteran of seven years of pro football with the Chicago Rockets of the old All-America Conference and the Chicago Bears and Green Bay of the NFL. The 6-foot-7 265-pound tackle was released by Green Bay two weeks ago. Without mentioning any names, Lambeau declared that too many of his players have a defeatist, "second division attitude." Marshall accused his team of "quitting cold" when little Billy Cross ran 15 yards in the final moments of the game for the Cardinals' last touchdown. "Sure, the game was probably lost," Marshall conceded. "But is was still only 10-6 at the time and one fumble could have given us the ball and another chance to score. Some of our guys just laid down and died on the Cross run." Ecker is expected to replace Lou Karras, who is out for the season as the result of an eye injury. Karras, 234-pound tackle from Purdue, who has played topflight ball even though he has had to wear contact lenses, will have an eye operation.
OCTOBER 13 (New York) - The cost of running a professional football club has gone up 400 to 500 percent in the last ten years and only four of the 12 NFL teams are making ends meet, Commissioner Bert Bell said Monday. "This is no longer a sport, it's a rugged business," the squat, husky-voiced NFL nabob told the New York football writers. "A man doesn't get in this for the fun of it anymore. It's sweat and tears. If you get into this business and don't work at it, you can lose $150,000 or $200,000 a year, not just $25,000. And you can't write it all off on income taxes, either." Bell declined to name the four teams which he referred to as in "the black." A good guess is that the four are among the Chicago Bears, New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns. "We have given out 43 franchises in this league," Bell continued. "31 of these have been broken. So you can see what a tough business it is. The Dallas Texans are our newest member. They may have thought they could come in and everything would be rosy. They found it necessary to build up the game with television and radio promotion and a lot of drumming up in the outlying towns." Bell said the Texans' attendance has been disappointing but still the club is doing better than did the New York Yanks, whose franchise they took a year ago. Bell said he expected the 1952 season to be the NFL's greatest, both in the caliber of football and in the size of crowds. "If this close race continues," he added, "we should have our finest year. Only two teams are unbeaten, the Giants and San Francisco. I think a club can win the American Conference title with a 9-3 record. Over in the National Conference I figure an 8-4 record will be good enough to win or tie." Bell said attendance so far this year compared favorably with that of 1951.
OCTOBER 14 (Dallas) - Dallas Texans owners, who were criticized Monday by NFL Commissioner Bert Bell for "not selling the team to fans outside Dallas" were hoping for a bigger turnout here Saturday night against the Green Bay Packers that that which turned out for the previous two games. Texans Vice President Jack G. Vaughn said Monday the owners realize they've got to do a better "selling" job and "plan to do something about it." President Giles Miller was not available for comment on the criticism. He was en route from Chicago where Sunday the team lost its third straight game, 38-20, to the Chicago Bears. Vaughn, one of a score of wealthy Dallas citizens who financed the venture bringing the New York franchise to Dallas, reiterated, however, that the group "had no real hope of the club being a money-maker for at least three years."
OCTOBER 14 (Green Bay) - Tackle Howie Ruetz of the Green Bay Packers underwent an emergency appendectomy here Tuesday. Ruetz, of Racine, was stricken this morning and rushed to the hospital. The loss of Ruetz cuts the third tackle from the Packer roster. Tom Johnson, rookie from Michigan, is still sidelined with preseason injuries, and Dick Logan suffered an injured leg in the game against Washington.
​OCTOBER 15 (Milwaukee Sentinel-Lloyd Larson) - Claim that the Packers blew last Sunday's never-to-be-forgotten game with the Rams by turning too conservative bear some checking. "Why didn't they keep on going for touchdowns like they did in the third
quarter?" is a typical question. The obvious
inference: They played daring football to get each
of those successful TD drives underway deep in
their own territory in the third period, and pulled
in their horns completely after each Ram score
in the fourth. So, first, let's take a look at things
as they actually happened in the third session
when there was great joy in Packerland. Self
returned the second half kickoff to the Bays' 31.
Rote sneaked for eight. Cone added one and
Rote three for a first down. Canadeo lost a yard.
Rote gained three up the middle. That added up
to five running plays. It wasn't until the SIXTH
that Rote passed to Howton for 16 and a first
down on the Ram 39. The next march started on 
the Packer 15 after Waterfield's punt, Cone
gained six (with Ruzich's help via a fumble
recovery). Parilli ran for six and a first down.
Floyd picked up 10 on two tries for another first
down. On the FIFTH play Parilli flipped a lateral
to Canadeo for 12, but the gain was wiped out
by a holding penalty. Then came the Parilli to
Rote to Howton nifty for 41 to set up the score...
Packers got their mitts on the ball again on their
20 after the Rams scored to make it 28-13. Cone
picked up two. Reichardt list two. Then Parilli
lost eight on what appeared to be an optional
pass-or-run play. He had to punt and the Rams,
aided by pass interference and roughness fouls
against the Packers, got position for Waterfield's
third field goal. Score: 28-16. Another booming
kickoff by Carey and the Packers started from
their 20 again. Rote ran for two, then for eight
and a first down. Rote hit center for three - a vital first down gain. Suddenly Jack Myers of the Rams had the ball. "Fumble-Rams' ball," said the officials. "He stole it after Rote was stopped and the ball was dead," the Packers will insist forever. The Rams' ball it was. They scored on second down, 22 yard fumble play, Towler to Carey - the luckiest possible break if accidental; beautifully executed if by design. Score: 28-23. From all this, can anyone possibly detect a difference between the way the Packers got moving in the third quarter and tried to get moving in the fourth? I couldn't Sunday and I can't now in retrospect. So it's brutally unfair to scream, "They turned chicken."...SO THIS TIME THEY PASSED: Grimes lugged the next kickoff back to his 30. On first down Parilli chose to pass. A few feet longer and it could have been a touchdown. But it was that much short and intercepted. "A dumb play," I've heard people say. But isn't that exactly the type of play many others insist should have been tried earlier? Anyway, it turned out all right when Younger fumbled after taking a pass from Waterfield and Self recovered for the Packers on the Ram 46. Canadeo gained two and Cone one. A Rote to Mann pass clicked a fraction of a second too late. Mann had just stepped out of bounds when he caught it. So it was incomplete instead of picking up a first down that undoubtedly would have won the game. That called for a punt, naturally - a fine punt, too, for it went to the Ram eight yard line. What happened after that is history - conversational history. Sure, everybody admits Waterfield did a perfect job on those three clutch passes that gained 77 of the 92 yards. "But why didn't the Packers rush him?" they add. Isn't it possible the Packer linemen were mighty tired after a long afternoon of tangling with Towler, Younger and those huge Ram forwards? Maybe the Rams were much tougher, too, with victory in sight. Angles by the dozen and a second guesser's paradise if there ever was one. Above all, again, it was also the greatest "dollar value" bit of football entertainment anyone can hope to see...YOUNGER'S CLUTCH RUN KEY TO EVERYTHING: In my mind, the vital play of the game - the key to all the late uproar and resulting unhappiness in this state - came as the third period was about to end. Waterfield passed to Younger for nine yards on the first play after Lewis returned the kickoff to the Rams' 33. Bullet Bob grounded a second down pass intentionally for a loss of 15 yards and a down. So it was third down and 16 to go. That was it! Failure to pick up enough for a first down on the next play would mean giving up the ball on a punt from deep in their own territory. It would also mean giving the Packers position to continue the rout, or at least use up valuable time. Bingo! Younger got away for 38 yards on a reverse around the Packers' right flank, thanks to eluding the one tackler who could have stopped him for a harmless gain. That put the ball on the Bays' 35. Towler and Younger took it from there and the panic was on. Those third down situations! That's where football games are won and lost.
OCTOBER 16 (Milwaukee Journal) - Gene Ronzani's Green Bay Packers rate with the leaders in virtually every important offensive classification after three weeks of play, latest National league statistics Thursday revealed. The Packers, who will meet the Dallas Texans at Dallas Saturday night, are second in passing percentage and total points, third in passing yardage, fourth in total yardage and rushing yardage and fifth in first downs. With Tobin Rote and Babe Parilli sharing the passing duties, the Packers have completed 27 of 51 attempts for a .529 percentage. Only the San Francisco 49ers, with 46 out of 78 for .590, have a better record. The 49ers are also the only team to top the Packers in scoring, with 82 points to 77. Green Bay's passes have netted 561 yards, compared to 719 for the pace setting Cleveland Browns. The Packers have rushed for 477 yards to 668 for the leading New York Giants, and have gained 1,038 yards all told in comparison with 1,089 for Cleveland and San Francisco, who share the lead. Their first down total is 47, compared with 59 for the leading Chicago Bears. Defensively the story is different, however. The Packers rank no better than eighth in opponents' point allowed; ninth in opponents' total yardage, rushing yardage and passing percentage, and 10th in opponents' first downs, passing yardage and punting. San Francisco leads in four of the six categories and is second and third in the two others. The 49ers have given up the fewest points, 17; the fewest field downs, 27; the fewest total yards, 495, and the fewest yards in passing, 200. They rank second in opponents' passing percentage with .370 to Cleveland's .314, and third in opponents' rushing yardage with 295 to New York's 282 and Pittsburgh's 290.
OCTOBER 17 (Dallas) - Gene Ronzani's Green Bay Packers will make their Texas debut in NFL competition here Saturday night when they face the Dallas Texans in the Cotton Bowl. The Packers are favored by a touchdown. About 20,000 fans, the largest home crowd of the season, are expected to watch the Texans go after their first league victory. There are no college games here this weekend, so the Texans figure to draw better than the 15,000 that they attracted for each of their first two games at home. The Packers are tied for third place in the National Conference with a 1-2 record. Dallas in in the cellar with an 0-3 mark. The Texans' defeats, however, were suffered at the hands of three of the league's most powerful members - the 49ers, Giants and Bears. Five Texas boys will be in the Green Bay lineup - quarterback Tobin Rote and end Bill Howton of Rice, fullback Bobby Jack Floyd of Texas Christian, tackle Steve Dowden of Baylor and defensive halfback Bobby Dillon of the University of Texas. Chuck Ortmann, former Michigan star from Milwaukee, will start at quarterback for the Texans in place of Bob Celeri. Also a new starter for Dallas will be end Gene Felker of Wisconsin. Posting a definite threat to the Packer defense will be the power smashes of Zollie Toth and the running of speedy fullbacks Buddy Young and George Taliaferro. The Packers will probably counter with the passing of Tobin Rote, the league's leading thrower with a completion percentage of 53.6, and rookie Babe Parilli. Last year, the Packers split with the Texans, then the New York Yankees. The Packers won the first tilt, 29-27, and the Yankees notched their only victory in the second, 31-28. The Packers arrived by plane Thursday and drilled briefly on a high school field.
OCTOBER 15 (Green Bay) - The Green Bay Packers boasted two leaders in statistics released Tuesday by the NFL. Tobin Rote sets the pace for NFL passers with 13 completions in 28 attempts for 311 yards and three touchdowns. His average is 11.11 yards per try. The Packers' Bill Howton, while tied with three other pass receivers with 11 completions, has rolled up 356 yards with his snatches, the league's best mark. He has caught three scoring aerials. Eddie Price of the Giants, the top ground gainer, last season, again leads the pack with 316 yards in three games. He has averaged 5.9 yards in 54 tries. Gene Schroeder of the Bears is the leading pass receiver with 18 completions for 254 yards and three TDs. Although he has yet to score a touchdown, Lou Groza of the Browns in the leading point maker. Seven extra points and six field goals have netted him 25 points.