(LOS ANGELES) - Liz Blackbourn, a lonely figure
who stayed on the sidelines while 38,939 fans
poured out of the Coliseum, was probably still thinking
of a nighmarish fake punt in the third quarter which
strangled the fighting breath out of his Packers and
gave the Rams a 35-27 NFL finale win on this
beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon. It was a touch and
go battle up to this point. First the Packers, then the
Rams clicked on perfectly executed scoring plays in
a crowd pleaser which saw Los Angeles gain a 28-20
lead midway through the third quarter. The game
hinted anything could happen.
But what happened at 8:05 of that third quarter was
fatal. With fourth down and nine yards to from the
midfield marker, Norm Van Brocklin caught Green
Bay completely napping as he took to the air lanes
instead of punting. The Dutchman's perfect strike hit
defensive end Andy Robustelli, who ran with his first
catch of the season 49 yards untouched. The
Packers were completely stunned as they saw the
Rams move eight points ahead. They proved more
than enough for Los Angeles' sixth league win. It was
the Packers' eight loss and the Bays finished one
place higher than the cellar-dwelling Baltimore Colts.
The clubs traded touchdowns in the final quarter but
the handwriting was on the wall. Even if the Packers
could muster just one more touchdown, they could
not tie the Rams. Bob Griffin took care of that in the
second quarter when he blocked Fred Cone's extra
point try. Green Bay led at this point, 20-14. The
Rams announced immediately after the game that all
four of Hampton Pool's assistants resigned shortly
before the contest. But any signs of dissension were
perhaps deliberately avoided on this - Elroy
(Crazylegs) Hirsch and Don Paul Day. Hirsch, the
former Wisconsin All-American, played his final game
for the Rams and he did it in terrific manner, catching
five passes for 119 yards playing both halfback and
Van Brocklin spearheaded two touchdown drives in
the first quarter as the Rams drove ahead, 14-7, but
then gave way to rookie Bill Wade. Wade showed
that Los Angeles has a real good one just hanging
around should something happen to Van Brocklin.
Wade had a field day against the Packers, passing
for 290 of the Rams' 434 yards through the air. Bob
Boyd was his deadliest target, catching four for 106
yards. But what kept the Green Bay's defense honest
and often confused was the uncanny deception of
Wade, who sprung Skeet Quinlan, Tom McCormick
and Dan Towler loose time and again.
Tobin Rote was the big man in the Packer attack,
hitting 16 of 26 tosses for 178 yards. Bobby Garrett
made a fourth quarter appearance to engineer a
touchdown. But what the Packers counted on the
ground had no resemblance to the Rams' all-around
superiority. It looked good. Packer-wise, before the
sun started dipping into the Pacific Ocean. Green
Bay romped to a first quarter touchdown in six plays.
Rote, a dandy on the keeper play, scampered 16
yards untouched for the payoff. Cone converted and
the Packers and the Rams were on the run, 7-0, with
only three minutes gone. Just three minutes and a
Packer touchdown! But before Green Bay had time to
congratulate Rote on his fine run, they saw the
Rams roar 67 yards in only four plays.
Van Brocklin's long tosses to Bob Boynd and Hirsch
set up Towler's scoring plunge from the one. Les
Richeter made his first of five conversions and the
ball game was tied. The Packers' best play following
the kickoff was Howie Ferguson's 14 yard run. It
gave Green Bay a first down on the Los Angeles 19,
but Bill Sherman intercepted Rote's pass intended
for Bill Howton and ran it back 13 yards to his own
49. It was the start of another Ram touchdown. Van
Brocklin to Hirsch for 14, to Quinlan for 17 and runs
by Crazylegs and Skeet were the major part of a
51 yard drive climaxed by Towler's second
touchdown plunge from the one. Richter was
perfect again on the extra point and the Rams were
out in front for the first tine, 14-7, as time was running
out in the first quarter.
Bobby Dillon was Green Bay's stroke of luck,
intercepting a Van Brocklin pass and returning it to
the Ram 23. Rote hit Max McGee on the five, and
the Packer rookie went over with the greatest of
ease with just 36 seconds of play elapsed in the
second quarter. Cone booted and it was tied again.
Green Bay was in for a lucky one again when
Hirsch fumbled on the two after taking a pass on the
five and the ball rolled out into the endzone. But
the luckiest break was yet to come . The Packers
failed to make yardage and McGee was sent back
to punt from his own 35. Jim Ringo's pass was high
and Max almost lost the ball. But he hung on, saw
an opening and raced nine yards on the fourth
down to set up the Packers' third touchdown. Rote
started to get hot. A 19-yard strike to McGee, 12
yards to Ferguson and 17 to Joe Johnson moved
the ball to the Los Angeles eight. It was from here
Rote uncorked a beauty to Johnson for the score
which was the ninth play of an 80 yard march.
When Griffin blocked Cone's conversion attempt at
this stage it didn't look like as though it would mean
so much at the very end. The Packers were now
ahead, 20-14, and having little trouble scoring.
Dillon was a Ram menace on the next Ram series
of plays, intercepting Wade's toss and running it 19
yards to the Ram 28. Rote was rushed badly on two plays and the Packers failed when Hall Haynes intercepted Tobin's third attempt on the Los Angeles 20.
It was from here that the Rams rolled 80 yards in 11 plays to go out in front for good, 21-20. Towler scored for the third time and Richter added the extra point as the combination of Wade to Fears set up the score. It was still a dog fight before Van Brocklin broke it wide open with his fake punt. It was the only score of the quarter but gave the Rams a comfortable eight-point lead. The Rams began to get in on Rote as the fourth quarter started and the Packer attack sputtered. However, with Wade playing his third straight quarter, the Rams moved 71 yards in nine plays for the clincher. A 12-yard pass to Fears who rolled over Veryl Switzer in the end zone.
It was now Garrett's turn and the Packers moved. Using Johnson and McGee as his favorite receivers, Garrett propelled the Packers to their fourth touchdown. Garrett tried for honors himself, but fumbled when going over. Switzer was the man of the second, falling on the ball for the Green Bay touchdown. Cone booted and that was the ball game - Rams 35, Packers 27. Again it marked a close one for Blackbourn's club - a team addicted to losing them that way. But it showed the thousands here at the Coliseum that a Blackbourn-coached team plays interesting football. They stuck to the very end. There was every indication that things might be rosy next year. The rookies have come through, the veterans have played their best in years and with a good draft spot, the Packers could really come up with something. The Packers disbanded here, a handful flying to Green Bay to pick up their families.
GREEN BAY   -  7 13  0  7 - 27
LOS ANGELES - 14  7  7  7 - 35
1st - GB - Rote, 16-yard run (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 7-0
1st - LA - Dan Towler, 1-yard run (Les Richter kick) TIED 7-7
1st - LA - Towler, 1-yard run (Richter kick) LOS ANGELES 14-7
2nd - GB - McGee, 22-yard pass from Rote (Cone kick) TIED 14-14
2nd - GB - Johnson, 8-yard pass from Rote (Kick failed) GREEN BAY 20-14
2nd - LA - Towler, 1-yard run (Richter kick) LOS ANGELES 21-20
3rd - LA - Andy Robustelli, 49-yd pass fr Norm Van Brocklin (Richter kick) LOS ANGELES 28-20
4th - LA - Tom Fears, 12-yard pass from Van Brocklin (Richter kick) LOS ANGELES 35-20
4th - GB - Switzer recovered Garrett's fumble in the end zone (Cone kick) LOS ANGELES 35-27
Los Angeles Rams (6-5-1) 35, Green Bay Packers (4-8) 27
Saturday December 12th 1954 (at Los Angeles)
DECEMBER 13 (Los Angeles) - The Los Angeles Rams lost all five assistant coaches and one of their star players, Elroy (Crazylegs) Hirsch, lost his shirt Sunday. The five coaching aides confirmed that they would leave the Rams, as had been unofficially reported earlier in the week. Hirsch was relieved of his jersey, shoes, and socks by a mob of hundreds of admirers as he left the field in Memorial Coliseum in his farewell game in football. Hirsch, an outstanding player for 17 years, dating back to high school in Wausau,WI, the Universities of Wisconsin and Michigan, El Toro Marines, Chicago Hornets, and the last five years with the Rams, retired from the game. He and Captain Don Paul, the Rams' popular linebacker, were honored between halves of the game with Green Bay here Sunday. They were presented with automobiles by admiring members of the Ram Fan Club and others. In the dressing room later it was announced that the five coaches, John Sauer, Howard (Red) Hickey, Dick Voris, Ralph (Buck) Weaver) and Bill Battles had tendered their resignation to President Dan Reeves at a meeting at the owner's home earlier in the day. Head coach Hampton Pool was also present, and he confused his critics in praising the five as "the finest in the profession" and wishing them the best of luck. Actually, Hickey, Voris, Weaver and Battles notified Pool last October 11 in Milwaukee that they could not serve with him after the season ended. Since then, and even Sunday, no ill feeling appeared on the surface. It has been known, however, that the coaching situation was not all it should have been. Sauer, 29, who starred on Army's national football champions of 1944-45, Monday accepted a five-year contract to coach football at the Citadel. Sauer will succeed John McMillan, whose teams won four games in two season. McMillan and his four assistants were told a week ago that their contracts would not be renewed for 1955. Sauer, who played quarterback for the Black Knights, also assisted Coach Earl Blaik two years before going to the University of Florida as assistant backfield coach in 1950. After three seasons with the Gators, Sauer joined the Rams in 1953.