GAME RECAP (MILWAUKEE SENTINEL)
(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.
TWO RAM FIELD GOALS
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.
KEEN EDGE DULLED
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.
MAKES EXTRA POINT
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.
PACKER FIRST DOWN
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.
FAIL TO GAIN
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