(GREEN BAY) - Sunday was another of those should-have-been days, perhaps the most discouraging of the entire season, as the Packers dropped a heartbreaking
14-7 decision to the Detroit Lions to end the Green Bay phase
of the home campaign. The Lions, looking like anything by the
defending champions they are, certainly were ripe for the kill.
Coach Gene Ronzani's boys rolled up enough yardage to win
almost any game - any game but this one.The exact total was
394, which would have been even more impressive if pass
receivers has been on the beam. And some of those bobbles
were extremely damaging. Their defense, with two notable
exceptions, was more than adequate, too. Yet they lost.
Frustration? That's putting it mildly, as 20,854 eager fans can
and will attest. Six times they saw their favorites really
knocking at the door - on the Lions' 4, 6, 7, 12, 15 and 26. But
only once did that door open. And they had to wait for 50 long
minutes - well into the final quarter - before it finally happened.
Something always happened. A fumble on the six, first down
pass interceptions from the seven and 26, and bogdowns on
the 12 and 15, out of which developed two non-productive field
goal tries by Fred Cone. Only when the Bays reached the four-
yard line on a beautiful 55-yard pass, Tobin Rote to Bobby
Mann, did they manage to cash in two plunges by Breezy
Reid. Cone booted the extra point. The cruelest blow of all was
having a touchdown called back on the fourth play of the
second half. This almost score came on a perfectly executed
pass, Babe Parilli to Bob Mann, good for 23 yards. But the
cheers of the crowd quickly turned to groans when the head
linesman signaled offside against the Packers. The Lions, in
the meantime, ran up a 14-0 lead on two scoring passes from
Bobby Layne - the first in the second quarter to Doak Walker
for a total gain of 83 yards and the ultimate winner to giant
Leon Hart in the end zone from 22 yards out early in the final
period. Walker added the conversions.
Layne, incidentally, completed only six other passes of the 23
he tried. Tom Dublinski, who subbed for him briefly, failed to
connect on the two he tried. Both touchdown shots had to be
seen to be believed. Packer secondary defenders, who did a
generally good job, highlighted by four interceptions, got
themselves so mixed up that nobody was within 20 yards of
Walker when he made the catch near midfield. From there he
could have made it on a fast walk. A big chunk of luck figured in
the pitch to Hart. It seemed Ben Aldridge would intercept in the
end zone when the ball suddenly skidded off this outstretched
hand and right smack into Hart's huge mitts. The Lions has
third and goal to go (22 yards) at the time. Perhaps the true
picture of the game can best be painted listing the frustrating
details in chronological order. So read 'em and weep:
Second quarter - Bob Forte recovered Doak Walkers' fumble on
the Lions' 25, and Rote passed to Elliott to the 12. But nothing came of it but exercise for Cone, whose 30-yard field goal bid sailed wide to the left. A holding penalty was the stopper after Val Joe Walker's interception at midfield. Bill Howton fumbled when tackled only six yards short of a touchdown after an 18-yard gain on a pass from Parilli. The cruncher was preceded by Breezy Reid's 29-yard end sweep and two Parilli passes - to Mann for nine and Howton for 11. Position on the Lions' 38 on Al Carmichael's punt return was lost when the Packers were penalized for roughing the kicker, Bob Smith, on a hurried fourth down boot from his own end zone.
Third quarter - Another missed field goal by Cone, from 25 yards out, followed Aldridge's interception and run back to Detroit's 26, and a Parilli-Mann pass to the 15. The Ronzanimen moved 28 yards to the enemy 26. Then Parilli's first down pass was picked off by Yale Lary. Another Lary interception on first down choked off a possible drive from the champs' 45.
Fourth quarter - The champions' second and winning score was set up on the first play of the final period on Jack Christiansen's interception of a Parilli pass from the Packer 16. Despite a clipping penalty, they made it as previously detailed. The Packers came within seven yards of tying the score when Rote hit Elliott for 19 and Howton for 25 after Lary's short punt of 22 yards. Rote pitched on first down and there was Lary again to field it in the end zone. And that wasn't all. J.R. Boone was in the clear when he juggled and finally dropped Rote's long pass. Then Carmichael missed a chance to become the hero on what would have been a terrific catch. He had the ball in his hands in the end zone, but couldn't hang on. There was still time to draw up even when the usually reliable Howton failed to gather in Rote's pitch for a first down between Detroit's 20 and 25. It was a fourth down try. So the Lions took over and proceeded to run out the clock. Green Bay's best break came on the last play of the first half when Doak Walker's 23-year field goal was nullified by a penalty for illegal procedure. The Lions were fighting the clock at the moment and weren't set when the ball was kicked. Since time expired on the play and it was a foul on the offensive team, there was no replay. Cloyce Box didn't do the Packers any harm either when he dropped a pass with a clear field ahead on the first scrimmage of the second half. This, incidentally, is the least understood foul in the rule book. The Lions picked up more than one-third of their 303 yards on the drives which marked the end of each half. They moved 59 yards to pave the way for Doak Walker's field goal attempt after retaining possession on the aforementioned roughing-the-kicker penalty against the Packers. And they rolled 45 yards on ground plays in the last two minutes. It was Detroit's eighth straight win over the Packers, who meet San Francisco in the final home game at the Milwaukee County Stadium next Sunday.
DETROIT   -  0  7  0  7 - 14
GREEN BAY -  0  0  0  7 -  7
2nd - DET - Doak Walker, 83-yard pass from Bobby Layne (Walker kick) DETROIT 7-0
4th - DET - Leon Hart, 22-yard pass from Layne (Walker kick) DETROIT 14-0
4th - GB - Reid, 1-yard run (Cone kick) DETROIT 14-7
Detroit Lions (6-2) 14, Green Bay Packers (2-5-1) 7
Sunday November 15th 1953 (at Green Bay)
NOVEMBER 16 (Green Bay) - The Packers close the Wisconsin phase of their 1953 season against San Francisco in Milwaukee's County Stadium Sunday. The
Packers came out of their bruising 14-7 loss to the
Champion Detroit Lions in good physical condition and
will be at full strength for the 49ers. Green Bay,
disappointed at losing to the Lions, hopes to take it out
on the flashy 49ers who lost a heart-breaking 23-21
decision to the Cleveland Browns. The 49ers will be
playing their first game in history in Milwaukee. They
joined the league in 1950 and played one game in
Green Bay that season. The two clubs tangled in San
Francisco in 1951 and 1952. The Packers opened
offensive workouts designed to up their point production.
They averaged only 14 in their last two games, including
a 21-21 tie with the Bears. San Francisco will be led
by the pro game's leading ground gainers - Hugh
McElhenny and Joe Perry. The 49er air game is
wrapped around quarterback Y.A. Tittle and end Gordy
NOVEMBER 18 (Green Bay) - The Packers' final
football game in Wisconsin Sunday at Milwaukee
County Stadium with the San Francisco 49ers shapes
up as a real battle. Both teams are primed to bounce
back from heartbreaking losses suffered last week. The
Packers outplayed Detroit but lost, 14-7, while the
49ers were 23-20 victims at the hand of the Cleveland
Browns. The Packers, determined to garner that elusive
third victory, will be attempting to gain their first triumph
over the 49ers since 1950. The Prospectors are equally
determined to notch the victory in an effort to keep
in the running for the Western Conference
championship. The 49ers will display two of the greatest
running backs in the NFL - fullback Joe Perry and
halfback Hugh McElhenny. These rank among the
league leaders in rushing and specialize in keeping all
defenses honest for the passes of courageous Y.A.
Tittle. Tittle's chief receiver, besides Perry and
McElhenny, is Gordy Soltau, the former Minnesota end.
NOVEMBER 19 (Green Bay) - A snowstorm Sunday might help the Green Bay Packers in the NFL game with the San Francisco 49ers at Milwaukee County Stadium, but it seemed unlikely today. The last time the two teams met in Wisconsin - three years ago at City Stadium here - the Packers won, 25-21, in a game played during a heavy snowfall. Since then, in three tilts at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco, the 49ers have won handily. Warm California weather is in prospect for Sunday, too. Both clubs suffered hear-breaking losses in their last starts, the Packers bowing to Dertoit, 14-7, although outgaining the world champions; while the 49ers lost to Cleveland, 23-21, and dropped to third place in the Western Conference. Green Bay was in Detroit territory 10 times and inside the 30-yard line six times, but could only score once. Four pass interceptions, three by Yale Lary and the fourth by Jack Christiansen, halted scoring marches - Christiansen's setting up the winning Lion touchdown. Coach Gene Ronzani worked quarterbacks Tobin Rote and Babe Parilli overtime this week seeking to polish his offense for the 49ers, who held Cleveland to two touchdowns. The defense unit was excused early, despite the threat of Joe Perry's and Hugh McElhenny's running and the passing of Y.A. Tittle. A crowd of 20,000, about two-third capacity of the Stadium where the Milwaukee Braves broke the National League attendance mark last summer, is expected for the Packers' final home game of the season.
NOVEMBER 20 (Green Bay) - A crowd of 20,000 is
expected at County Stadium Sunday to see the
Packers' final home game of the season against the
San Francisco 49ers. Game time has been moved up
to 1 p.m. Both clubs tapered off drills Thursday. Coach
Gene Ronzani apparently satisfied by the Packers'
defense against the Detroit Lions, placed emphasis on
offense. The 49ers, working out at Stagg Field, Chicago,
polished their offensive corps featuring Joe Perry, Hugh
McElhenny and Y.A. Tittle. Perry and McElhenny have
rushed for 1,092 yards between them, only 74 yards
short of the ground production of the entire Packer
backfield. McElhenny is averaging 4.1 yards for eighth
spot in the circuit while Perry is the circuit's top ground
gainer with 637 yards in 126 attempts for an average of
5.0. Bearing the brunt of the Packer defense will be
tackle Dick Wildung and Dave Hanner in the line and
linebackers Clayton Tonnemaker, Bob Forte and Deral
Teteak. Green Bay, out of the title race, is in position to
play spoiler role. San Francisco's 23-21 loss to
Cleveland dropped the 49ers to third place in the
Western Conference. The 49ers must win against the
Packers to stay in the championship contention. Green
Bay almost dumped the Lions from their lofty position
last week and will undoubtedly be keyed to upset San
Francisco's victory plans. Against Detroit, the Packers
were in Lion territory 10 times and inside the 30-yard
line six times, but could only score once. Four pass
interceptions were the stoppers. It will be no picnic
against the 49er defense. It held the high-scoring
Browns to only two touchdowns.
NOVEMBER 19 (Green Bay) - Coach Gene Ronzani said today his last-place Green Bay Packers may face a back-breaking schedule for the rest of the season but "we won't be a pushover for anybody." The Packers lost to the defending champion Detroit Lions
last Sunday and in their next four games play the Lions
and Los Angeles Rams once each and the San
Francisco 49ers twice. "The rough part of it is that those
three teams are in the top three spots in the Western
Conference of the league, and we are in last place,"
Ronzani said. He said, however, that the Packers "have
been improving with every game and we've lost a
number of games on tough breaks." Detroit outscored
the Packers 14-7 last Sunday at Green Bay, although
the Packers outgained, outpassed and outplayed the
Lions. Four pass interceptions hurt the Packers and
probably cost them the game. "We have looked good at
times and not so good at other times this season,"
Ronzani said. "But I still feel we have not reached our
offensive peak yet." Meanwhile he drilled his players for
the final four games, starting with the 49ers at
Milwaukee Stadium. "We will be seeing one of the
finest running attacks in pro football Sunday when the
49ers throw Joe Perry and Hugh McElhenny against
us," he said. Ronzani pointed out, however, that the
Packers have looked better against the strong team
than they have against the second division clubs. Green
Bay lost two games and tied one which might have
been turned into victories. Green Bay has won only two
games, lost five and tied one and is tied for last place
with the Chicago Bears. The one loss and a tie with the
Bears and a loss to Pittsburgh should have been
victories, Ronzani said, "and we should have won from
Detroit." He said the Packers would still be in
contention if they could have come with against San
Francisco with a 6-2 record, "but we had a lot of injuries
early in the season and have just now come back to full strength." But he said, the Packers would be from now on and the top three clubs "won't get anything from us without fighting for it."
NOVEMBER 20 (Milwaukee) - Although attendance at Green Bay Packer home games in Green Bay and Milwaukee is up 19,527 over last year, the average crowds at Packer contests are the lowest in the NFL, an Associated Press survey revealed Friday. The Packers have attracted 110,338 fans at five home games - three in Green Bay and two here. Last year they drew 90,811 in the same number of dates. The Green Bay increase is the fifth largest in the league, yet the Packer average attendance of 22,067 is the lowest. Attendance in the league as a whole is up 20 percent. The Los Angeles Rams, with 278,741 in four home games, are up 84,024. Cleveland, with 209,937 for four dates, is up 33,654. In four games the Baltimore Colts have played to 114,141 spectators. Last year at Dallas the team drew 53,500. The Chicago Bears, despite a losing season, are still the fourth best draw in the league. Their average attendance of 41,506 reflects a gain of nearly 2,400 a game. Only two games noted decreased attendance. The New York Giants are down 32,035, San Francisco 31,044. League attendance as a whole totals 1,688,805 as compared with 1,504,504 in 1952, an increase of 184,301. Here are attendance averages: Los Angeles 69,885, Cleveland 52,484, Detroit 51,236, Chicago Bears 41,506, San Francisco 38,603, Baltimore 28,535, New York 27,162, Pittsburgh 26,215, Washington 25,312, Chicago Cardinals 22,650, Philadelphia 22,481 and Green Bay 22,067.
NOVEMBER 21 (Green Bay) - Hugh McElhenny and Joe Perry, two of professional football's greatest rushing backs, loomed Friday as the biggest "single" problem facing the Green Bay Packers in their NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at County Stadium Sunday. Fullback Perry, nicknamed "The Jet" because of his quick start and speed, is leading the league in rushing with an average of five yards per carry while McElhenny is averaging 4.1 for eighth. Perry has carried 128 times for 637 yards and McElhenny 89 for 365. Perry, in his sixth season of pro ball, is having his best year. The two great backs, who also rated as good pass catchers, will give the Packers' tough defense its stiffest test - especially the linebackers, Clayton Tonnemaker, Bob Forte and Deral Teteak, and tackles Dick Wildung and Dave Hanner. Working with McElhenny and Perry in the No.1 backfield are halfback Pete Scharbarum and quarterback Y.A. Tittle who will wear a mask to protect a tender jaw broken in a game against the Detroit Lions. Also expected to see considerable action is veteran Jim Monachino, who is just out of service. The 49ers, who are best known for their rushing power, can throw up a formidable passing game. Tittle's chief receivers are ends Gordon Soltau and Billy Wilson and halfback McElhenny. Wilson is having his best season at end, thus keeping the talented rookie, Harry Babcock, on the bench.
NOVEMBER 22 (Milwaukee) - The Green Bay Packers will put the NFL's third-best defense against the league's second-best rushing attack Sunday when they meet the San Francisco 49ers in Milwaukee. The Packers have given up 973 yards on the ground to eight NFL opponents this fall, and last week held the champion Detroit Lions to 130 yards rushing. However, the 49ers have piled up 1,385 yards on the ground with fullback Joe Perry and halfback Hugh McElhenny the main threats. Perry led the NFL in rushing and McElhenny is eighth. The Packers, who averaged only 14 points per game in their last two starts, worked to polish their offense this week. The Sunday game will be Green Bay's last "home" game. The Packers play Detroit in the Motor City Thanksgiving Day and then travel west to meet the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco to wind up the season. Meanwhile, Cleveland's unbeaten Browns get a chance to all but clinch the Eastern Conference flag Sunday while Detroit, Los Angeles and San Francisco continued their spirited struggle for the Western lead. The Browns are 8-0 in the East and Philadelphia's Eagles second with 5-2-1. The Eagles entertain the winless Chicago Cards 0-7-1 tonight and should pin another defeat on the Chicagoans. The Eagles massacred the Cards in their first meeting 56-17. If the Cards should surprise the Eagles, however, and the Browns knock off the Steelers (4-4) in Pittsburgh Sunday, as expected, the Eastern race officially will be over. Cleveland whipped Pittsburgh 34-16 earlier in the season. After the weekend, all clubs will have three games to play. The Western race is as complicated as ever. Detroit leads with 6-2 followed by Los Angeles (5-2-1) and San Francisco, 5-3. Sunday's schedule finds Detroit at the Chicago Bears, Los Angeles at Baltimore. In the other game on the Sunday program, Washington's Redskins (3-4-1) engage an Eastern foe, the Giants (2-6), in New York. This is the only game on the card without any significance in the races.
NOVEMBER 22 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - The San Francisco 49ers will be prospecting in County Stadium 
which must be "panned" if a Western conference championship it to be "ored". But to gain that victory the 49ers must get by the puzzling Packers from Green Bay. It appears to be an interesting battle looming before an expected 20,000 at the Stadium starting at 1 p.m. "Always a title contender but never a champion" seems to be the appropriate caption for the invading 49ers. San Francisco was perennially runnerups to the Cleveland Browns in the All-American Conference and has carried over those tendencies in the NFL. The Packers, six times National pro champs, haven't come near that perfection since their last crown in 1944. But they still have been delivering knockout "punches" to any opponent. San Francisco must win and Detroit and Los Angeles must lose Sunday if the 49ers are to regain their lofty position. If this occurs, the 49ers should have the easier road to the title playing Green Bay once more and the Baltimore Colts twice. The Lions face the Bears in Chicago Sunday and Los Angeles meets the Colts at Baltimore. The probability of a bitter battle at the Stadium is likely because both the Packers and 49ers lost close games last week. Green Bay lost a one touchdown decision to the Champion Lions while the 49ers dropped a two point verdict to the Browns. San Francisco rests its chance on victory on an almost "dream" backfield including fullback Joe Perry, halfbacks Hugh McElhenny and Joe Arenas, and quarterback Y.A. Tittle. Green Bay can counter with the passing sharpness of Tobin Rote and Babe Parilli and the running ability of Al Carmichael, Breezy Reid, Fred Cone and Co.