(MILWAUKEE) - The Packers went down to a 23-17
defeat before San Francisco on a slippery, half muddy
County Stadium field Sunday, but not before giving the
power-packed 49ers the scare of their lives. The Bays,
in fact, came mighty close to turning Liz Blackbourn
Day into a super homecoming for their coach, and
coming up with an unexpected reward for the 15,571
faithful fans who braved the elements on a dreary day.
They overcame a first half 10-0 deficit and went into
the lead with a dazzling third quarter countercharge
that netted 17 points. It wasn't until the clock showed
three minutes and 23 seconds to play in the final
period that they fell behind again for keeps.
Despite the setback, third in a row in league
competition, the Bays had the satisfaction of putting
on their best Milwaukee performance in years. It very
likely would have been a winning show, too, but for
one man - Y.A. Tittle, one of the finest quarterbacks
in pro football. The 49ers were down, 17-10, and
apparently headed for disastrous defeat when Tittle,
handicapped by a broke, cast-covered left hand, was
called into action for the first time a couple of minutes
after the fourth quarter started. The Packers had just
permitted a golden opportunity to slip away. They had
the ball on Frisco's 47 when Tobin Rote's hurried pass
was intercepted on the 29 by Billy Mixon.
Coach Buck Shaw gave Tittle the nod and the
complexion of the game changed immediately. In nine
plays, the quarterbacking magician had his stumbling
mates back in the ball game with a 71-yard drive
climaxed by Joe Perry's eight-yard touchdown thrust
down the middle. Tittle hit on three of four passes - 
to Hugh McElhenny, Billy Wilson and John Henry
Johnson - to eat up 45 of those yards. Then came
what appeared like the break for which all Packerland
has been praying. Placekicking expert Gordie Soltau
failed to convert,the ball hitting the left upright and
bouncing back into the field. So the Packers led,
17-16, with something over nine minutes to play. But
it just wasn't meant to be. Tittle saw to that with a
terrific pitch to McElhenny who made a catch to
match in the mud on Green Bay's 16, a back breaking
gain of 53 yards. From there, the 49ers ground it out
the hard way against a tiring but still gallant Packer
line which had just about played itself out. Perry and
Johnson lugged the ball to the two in five tries. Tittle,
broken hand and all, sneaked it over from there.
Soltau added a superfluous point. The Packers got
off to a nightmarish start that seemed to spell rout in
capital letters. Frisco scored the first time it had the
ball and required only a bit more than three minutes to
make it. The 57-yard sweep was accomplished on just
three plays. First it was Johnson for 25, then Perry for
15 and McElhenny for 17 and the TD. If the visitors'
bench chucked in satisfaction as Soltau converted, it
was understandable. It looked so easy. Five minutes
later Soltau drilled a place kick between the uprights
from 37 yards out to make it 10-0. From that point to
the end of the first half, the Bays stepped up the pace
defensively and managed to fight off those smooth
 hard-running 49er backs, directed by reserve
quarterback Jim Cason. But even that heartening bit
of tightening up raised no serious victory hopes, for
the Bays showed no signs of moving the ball
effectively themselves. They didn't get past midfield
under their own steam in the first half, and they were
limited to two short pass completions and total gains of 60 yards. So it was totally without warning that they struck back. Rote, who had been booed time and again in the first half, quickly silenced the "we want Garrett" calls from the stands by clicking on five out of eight passes after Veryl Switzer had returned the kickoff to his 34. The last of three flips to Switzer ate up the last five yards for the touchdown.
Stretch Elliott, Clayton Tonnemaker, Steve Ruzich, Dave Hanner and the rest of the defenders were equally fired up. As a result, they kept the 49ers pinned back and kicking from their own territory. A punt exchange between Pete Brown and Max McGree set the stage for another joyous bit of cranking up by Rote. He hit on three more passes - to Bill Howton for 14, to Howie Ferguson for 13 and to Ferguson again for 11 - to gain position for a field goal shot by Fred Cone. The stocky fullback, who also converted after both touchdowns, came through with a nifty from 45 yards to tie the score. Now the Packers were a gang possessed. Elliott and Tonnemaker threw Cason for a 14-yard loss in the muddy baseball infield half of the gridiron. On the next play Perry was jolted so hard that he fumbled. Val Joe Walker recovering on the Frisco 19. Before the cheers died down, the home club cashed in. One play, a 19-yard pass from Rote to McGee, did it. Blackbourn's operators, actually in the lead after a humiliating start! Hard to believe, but true. And it looked like they just wouldn't let those 49ers off the hook as they forced another punt early in the fourth quarter. Switzer's fine return, plus a 15-yard roughness penalty against the visitors, gave the Bays excellent position in grassy territory. Came the damaging pass interception previously mentioned and the desperation call to the injured Tittle. From there on, the Packers' stirring bid for an upset was doomed to failure.
Although Tittle's sharpshooting finally broke up the ball game, Frisco's big edge in total gains, 393 to 158, was made possible by its devastating ground attack, which netted 269. McGee outkicked Brown slightly with a 42 yard average to 41. Outstanding kickoff returns by Al Carmichael and Switzer also helped the Packers in the running and cut down the 49ers' advantage from scrimmage. Rain fell throughout the first quarter. The downfall ceased and the skies brightened in the second quarter. But it was necessary to turn on the lights at the start of the second half and keep 'em on to the end.
SAN FRANCISCO - 10  0  0 13 - 23
GREEN BAY     -  0  0 17  0 - 17
1st - SF - Hugh McIlhenny, 17-yard run (Gordie Soltau kick) SAN FRANCISCO 7-0
1st - SF - Soltau, 37-yard field goal SAN FRANCISCO 10-0
3rd - GB - Switzer, 5-yard pass from Rote (Cone kick) SAN FRANCISCO 10-7
3rd - GB - Cone, 45-yard field goal TIED 10-10
3rd - GB - McGee, 19-yard pass from Rote (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 17-10
4th - SF - Joe Perry, 8-yard run (Kick failed) GREEN BAY 17-16
4th - SF - Y.A.Tittle, 2-yard run (Soltau kick) SAN FRANCISCO 23-17
hold a 13-3 edge over Green Bay since the all-time series was inaugurated in 1947. The Rams have a string of 11 straight victories over the Packers with the last Green Bay win being in 1948, a 16-0 shutout. Since that game the Rams have averaged more than 38 points a game against the Packers. It'll probably develop into quite an aerial battle Sunday - Ram Norm Van Brocklin is the league's best, having completed 43 of 81 attempts for 783 yards and four touchdowns. The Packers' Tobin Rote is ranked 14th in the league. Rote has completed 29 of 79 tosses for 419 yards and three touchdowns. Tom Fears, one of the most devastating ends ever to play with the Rams, is the only doubtful player for Coach Hampton Pool's club. Fears broke his left wrist in an exhibition game against the Redskins and it's been in a cast ever since. The Rams showed up at Greenfield Park Thursday morning, shifting from Grant Park to get away from the crowd. Where they will be Friday, heaven knows. Pool made no bones that the Packers' Art Hunter and Max McGee were really wanted by the Rams. "Hunter was going to be our first choice, too," said Pool, "and, oh, we wanted McGee."
OCTOBER 16 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - Guess what? It isn't going to rain Sunday. At least that's the weatherman's prediction who promises a fair, mild day for Sunday's football clash between the Packers and Rams. With a forecast like that the Packers are expecting their top home crowd of the season - and with an attraction like Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch and the Rams in town - it could be 30,000. The Stadium turf, which was mauled during the 49er game, is reported to be in excellent shape. To keep it that way a tarp is covering the infield portion. A fast, dry field is exactly what the aerial-minded Californians want Norm Van Brocklin will be out to prove to Milwaukee fans why he's the league's best passer. On the receiving end with Hirsch will be Bob Boyd, Skeet Quinlan and Paul Younger - four big reasons why Van Brocklin can hardly miss. And four big reasons why the Rams are a solid 13 1/2 point favorite to beat the Packers. Up in Green Bay the report is that rookie Veryl Switzer, the Packers' No. 3 draft choice from Kansas State, will start at right halfback in place of veteran Al Carmichael who is still bothered by an injured knee sustained in the 49er game. It is doubtful if Carmichael will see any action.
OCTOBER 17 (Milwaukee) - Losing the first three games by only 14 points has been a starvation diet for the Packers but it probably is the best sort of tonic going into the Ram game Sunday at County Stadium. Kickoff time is 1:30 p.m. If ever the Packers have been hungry for victory it's now. They've come so close three times, with last Sunday's defeat by the 49ers showing they can keep pace with the fastest competition in the league. Los Angeles, of course, is a solid 13 1/2 point favorite. That, too, will add fuel to the Packers' fire. Defensively, the Packers are better than par and offensively they're starting to roll. New lineman like Art Hunter, Al Barry and Jerry Helluin have bolstered Green Bay's forward wall to be one of the league's best. The Steelers, Bears and 49ers found out. With halfbacks Breezy Reid and Al Carmichael having the best seasons in the pro ranks, the Packers are not hurting in capable runners. Then, too, the addition of rookie Veryl Switzer has provided the breakaway type wanted for a long time. The weak departments have been passing and pass defense. Quarterback Tobin Rote has been both hot and cold, with those cold periods at the most inopportune times. Rookie Bobby Garrett has come around slowly. His ball handling has looked good but the passing just fair. Yet, Garrett is getting the confidence needed in pro ball and he may develop into one of the best. Heaven knows, he has an outstanding background. Pin-point passing by Steeler Jimmy Finks, Bear George Blanda and 49er Y.A. Tittle have made Green Bay's aerial defense look poor. But they're learning the hard way and will have to be razor sharp against the best in the game when Norm Van Brocklin winds up. Yet, the Lions showed how to bottle up Mr. Van Brocklin - just blanket his intended receivers. The result the Rams were held without a touchdown - the first time such a tragedy occurred to a Los Angeles club in 67 games. But watch out for the California gang after what happened in Detroit. They've been in trouble but they're still in contention. Coach Hampton Pool indicated rookie Bill Wade will be given a thorough workout against the Packers' pass defense patterns. And it could be Pool would like a Van Brocklin-Wade situation to develop in succession to the old Waterfield-Van Brocklin double barrel punch.
San Francisco 49ers (2-0-1) 23, Green Bay Packers (0-3) 17
Sunday October 10th 1954 (at Milwaukee)
OCTOBER 12 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - "They're coming along good now, but oh how they want to win!" That was Coach Liz Blackbourn talking Monday in Green Bay of his Packers who dropped a heartbreaking 23-17 decision to the 49ers at County Stadium Sunday in the muck. This was the third straight loss for Green Bay, but only 14 points in the three week span have brought the defeats. It was the same story during the exhibition season when the Packers were losing the close ones. In fact, Blackbourn compared the 49er game to the non-league contest against the Browns last August. "Losing like this has probably made our boys tighten up somewhat in the clutch," observed Liz. "They certainly wanted to upset those 49ers. Maybe they can give the Rams a rough time." What did Blackbourn tell his squad at halftime that fired them to a 17-10 lead in the third quarter? "Nothing," chuckled Liz. "We just went over some patterns and they wanted to play some football." Blackbourn figures his club played equally well against the Steelers and Bears. "You know, we're getting plenty of experience playing in the mud and rain," quipped Liz. "We've played and practiced under those conditions for two weeks now and it's paying off - we fumbled only once against the 49ers." But the disturbing problem is at quarterback. With Tobin Rote hot and cold, Blackbourn has tried rookie Bobby Garrett. "Garrett's a $64 question," said Blackbourn, "and I think 64,000 people have asked me what he's worth." Was Y.A. Tittle the deciding factor? "Tittle came in and did the job he was supposed to," snapped Blackbourn. "And that 49er backfield! But I think our boys played a real fine game. They really showed they could come back." Tackle Jerry Helluin and halfback Al Carmichael were the Packer casualties. Helluin sprained his ankle and Carmichael injured his knee. "It's one way or the other whether they'll be ready for the Rams," said Liz.
OCTOBER 12 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - For the first time since playing in Milwaukee, the Rams will spend the whole week drilling here in preparation for Sunday's game with the Packers at County Stadium. The Rams arrived from Detroit Monday afternoon after bowing to the Lions, 21-3. Los Angeles will practice at the Wauwautosa field all week, starting at 10 a.m. The customary procedure for a western club playing in Milwaukee or Green Bay was to hold a week long drill in Chicago's Stagg Field and travel the remaining distance the day before the game.
OCTOBER 13 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - This is a fable about what happened to the missing Rams Tuesday morning. The California club, which flew in Monday from Detroit, was all set to begin brisk drills at Wauwautosa field in preparation for Sunday's clash with the Packers at County Stadium Sunday. But alas; The Rams never showed up at the 'Tosa field. In fact, they were given a sight-seeing tour of greater Milwaukee before a practice area was found. Wauwautosa didn't want their field marred by the bruisers from the West Coast and rightly so. Coach Hampton Pool then took the squad to the County Stadium where they suited up. But after the 49er-Packer duel in the muck Sunday, the stadium turf (?) was hardly ready for another beating so early. So it was out to the open acres - the Rams finally found a suitable site. Grant Park! Los Angeles will drill the remainder of the week on the Lake Michigan shore park. After taking a 21-3 beating by the Champion Lions Sunday, Pool was anxious to get his Rams up for the Packer scrap. Pool believes his club is stronger than the one which won eight, lost one and tied one last year. But at the same time the Ram head man believes the whole league has been strengthened. Los Angeles opened with a rousing 48-0 shutout over the Colts. Then came the bruising 24-24 deadlock with the 49ers and Sunday's loss at Detroit. The Rams must win Sunday to keep pace with Detroit and San Francisco. New additions have strengthened the Rams' defensive backfield. In fact, the defense is practically brand new. Six rookies are the most noticeable improvements. It'll be Norman Van Brocklin, Skeet Quinlan, Paul (Tank) Younger and Dan Towler as offensive guns. Old familiar faces true, but the same old dynamite. Van Brocklin has lost none of his aerial strategy, completing 43 passes in 81 attempts for a .543 average. Understudying Brocklin is Bill Wade, the club's bonus choice in the 1952 draft. Wade started this season after two years in the Nacy and has shown he's definitely big league caliber. The former Vanderbilt flash is Pool's choice to see plenty of action against Green Bay. End Bob Boyd is the team's top receiver, catching 17 passes for 406 yards. But then Elroy Hirsch is still around and is hardly a slouch. The former Wisconsin All-American has caught 13 passes for 226 yards. Quinlan has looked the best as a runner, gaining 117 yards in 23 attempts. Younger has 83 in 22 carries and Towler 75 in 25. The Rams are in good physical shape. Tom Fears is the only doubtful player. He broke his hand in an exhibition game against the Eagles in August and it's been in a cast ever since.
OCTOBER 14 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - It's the Packer defense which has Ram Coach Hampton Pool worrying this week. Maybe he has something to think about. Green Bay has held three opponents to only 54 points, an average of 18 a game. Sunday the Packers get a whack at the Rams' famed aerial show at County Stadium. They've seen glimpses of what the Bears and 49ers could do in the muck, but on a dry field Sunday, watch out for Norm Van Brocklin and company. Pool had just returned from a morning drill at Grant Park Wednesday and took time off before a staff meeting to discuss his pending problem. "The Lions' defense beat us last Sunday," said Pool, "and we're going to bump into another tough defensive club when we meet the Packers." Actually, Detroit had two weeks to prepare for the Rams, having a break in the schedule. This gave Buddy Parker's gang plenty of time to concentrate on Los Angeles plays. In fact, Detroit actually scrimmaged Ram plays. "It was something strange to watch," added Pool. "Every time Van Brocklin went back to pass Detroit linemen would race back to cover up on passes." This resulted in a four-man line. It wasn't a case of rushing Van Brocklin, just covering his intended receivers like a blanket. And what happened? Detroit held the highly explosive Rams to three points. It was the first time Los Angeles had failed to make a touchdown in the last 67 games. Pool indicated that he would toss his aerial works at the Packers. By that he meant rookie Bill Wade will be pitching along with veteran Van Brocklin. "Wade, our bonus pick three years ago, looked good during the exhibition season. I only regret not using him more. But don't count out Van Brocklin," added Pool, "he's one of the soundest game callers in the business and of course an outstanding passer." Incidentally, the Rams decided to practice in secret Tuesday. More than 250 Milwaukeeans surprised the club by showing up at Grant Park to watch morning drills. "We didn't know who was in that crowd," quipped Pool. "Liz Blackbourn's brother-in-law could have been there for all we knew." Meanwhile, at Green Bay Blackbourn sharpened the Packers' offense in an extensive workout. The Packers weathered the 49ers battle in good physical shape with only Jerry Helluin, defensive tackle, as the biggest question mark. Helluin suffered an ankle injury while halfback Al Carmichael and tackle Len Szafaryn suffered severe bruises. Carmichael and Szafaryn should be ready for the Rams. In case Helluin is unable to play his spot will be taken by Dick Afflis and Steve Ruzich. Linebacker Deral Teteak should be available for the Colt game one week off.
OCTOBER 14 (Milwaukee Sentinel-Lloyd Larson) - The presence in town of the Los Angeles Rams - here to do battle with the Packers at County Stadium come Sunday - recalls one of the most thrilling and also the most painful (to the Packers) bits of pro football history. To this day, it is difficult for the 21,693 eyewitnesses to believe what they saw the afternoon of October 12, 1952 at Marquette Stadium. That was the day of the football miracle of Milwaukee - the comebacks of top all comebacks. As the third quarter was running out, it looked like an absolute cinch for the boys from the Bay, then coached by Gene Ronzani. They were ahead by the comfortable margin of 28-6. Strictly on merit, too, for they had performed like champions. No matter what they may say today, I'm sure the Rams themselves felt it was all over but the shouting. Then came what proved to be the turning point on the last play of that third quarter. The Rams had a long yardage, third down situation when Tank Younger got outside of the Bays' right end and wide secondary on that side for something like 35 yards. That put the ball well into Packer territory and apparently gave the Rams at least an idea that all was not lost. From then on, things happened fast and, when Bob Waterfield at the controls, the Californians got up a head of steam that had to be seen to be fully appreciated...A 'ROCK' MAKES THE DIFFERENCE: They cashed in on the opportunity set up by Younger's run, of course. They suddenly to life defensively - had to, in fact, in order to give them enough time for the necessary offensive maneuvering. Which is to say that the Bays didn't keep the ball very long after the kickoff following each Los Angeles score. When the Packers fumbled, the Rams recovered. When the Rams fumbled, they not only recovered themselves but also turned the bobble into a touchdown, via a lucky bounce. When only a perfect pass would suffice, Waterfield uncorked just that - a perfect pass - time and again. The combination of happenings added up to a 24 point last quarter on three touchdowns, three conversions and a field goal. That field goal was one of the most remarkable parts of the whole deal. The score was 28-13 against his team when Waterfield tried and made it. "What a rockhead! He's the Packers' best friend. What good are the three points at this stage of the game?" was typical reaction at the time. Waterfield was positively prophetic or very lucky, for those three points finally made the difference. The Rams won, 30-28....OH, WHAT A VITAL RALLY!: There's more to the story than just that one game. Much more. The Rams, be it known, came to Milwaukee in anything but a happy, winning mood. They had dropped their first two league contests. One more, especially a bad trimming from the Packers, could have wrecked the club beyond repair. Fortunately for them, all the repairs they needed came in that never to be forgotten last quarter at Marquette stadium. They went on from there to tie Detroit with a 9-3 record, only to lose to the Lions in the divisional playoff. Two of those three regular season defeats also came at the hands and feet of the Lions. So from the standpoint of total benefits, the comeback of two years ago against the Packers might very well rate top billing on the all time list. Significantly, the Rams are a hungry gang again as they approach the annual renewal of the Packer series in Milwaukee. Somewhat burned up, too. Following a 24-24 draw in the opener with San Francisco, they were knocked off by the Lions last week, 21-3. It was the first time in six years that L.A. had failed to score a touchdown in a league game. To lose is bad enough, but fail to rack up a TD - well, that's an insult to a pro club, especially a high powered offense like the Rams. All of which hints strongly that the even hungrier Packers have another rough assignment on their hands Sunday.
OCTOBER 14 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - What's all this talk about Elroy Hitsch quitting the Rams at the end of the season for a movie star career? "Not so," said the former Wisconsin All-American Thursday afternoon at the Schroeder Hotel, "not as long as I'm playing good football." Is Hirsch really slowing up? Hardly. He's the NFL's fourth best receiver, catching 13 passes for 226 yards. Hirsch was the whole Ram offensive show against the Lions Sunday as he bagged six passes for 105 yards. Always a menace to the Packers, Hirsch will be back to plague Green Bay at County Stadium Sunday. "Crazy Legs" has made a handsome financial harvest in his first Hollywood acting job. So why stay in football? "I can't get it out of my system," said Hirsch. The Rans are a 13 1/2 point choice to beat the Packers. San Francisco has been a comparable opponent - the Rams tying the 49ers, 24-24, and the Packer being edged, 23-17. Los Angeles