(GREEN BAY) - The Packers came up with what was
undoubtedly their best game of the season in Sunday's home
finale before an appreciative audience of 20,767. Their best,
unfortunately, was not quite good enough for the simple
reason that they were up against the Detroit Lions, defending
champions and still the best club in pro football. It was close,
painfully close. And once again, Coach Liz Blackbourn's
battlers were in the ball game right down to the wire. But
finally they were forced to accept defeat, 21-17. It was the
Packers' fifth setback in nine league starts and also the fifth
by seven points or less. Their total deficit in losing ventures
now stands at 23 - a remarkably low figure. 
The thrilled eyewitnesses, including many Packer grads
gathered here for the annual homecoming celebration, ran the
complete string in the hope department. First they had
visions of the year's No. 1 upset as the Bays took a quick
7-0 lead on Breezy Reid's short plunge on the seventh play
of the game and Fred Cone's conversion. They switched to 
thinking along "please keep it close" lines early in the
second quarter to move ahead, 14-7, on Bobby Layne's short
sneak and the ace quarterback's 15 yard scoring pitch to Jug
Girard - plus automatic Doak Walker's extra points, of course.
The victory light started to shine more brightly again when
Cone booted a 17-yard field goal shortly before the end of the
half to reduce the champions' margin to 14-10. Layne's
second touchdown pass, this one for 25 yards to Dorne
Dibble, climaxing a fast 69 yard march following the second
half kickoff, caused fears for the worst to rise again among
the home loyalists. The ease with which the Lions swept
goalward was more ominous than the 21-10 score at the
point. But it didn't take the Packers long to warm up those
cold feet - made colder by the
40 degree temperature, incidentally. Four passes by
Rote, a 22 yard end sweep by Al Carmichael, a pass
interference penalty that cost the Lions 15 yards and
put the ball on their two yard line, plus three short
plunges, covered 92 yards and netted a touchdown
that brought down the house. Rote's sneak was the
payoff. And from that third period moment on, the
stout hearted home boys never gave the constituents
any reason to develop the shakes. It was all Green
Bay the rest of the way, with the exception of the
final minute when the Lions ran out the clock deep in
Packer territory following the fumble that finally broke
the Bays' backs.
Twice in that thrilling but scoreless last quarter the
Blackbourns threatened to pull the game out of the fire. In
fact, victory was in their grasps, more specifically, in Max
McGee's grasp - at one point, the big rookie end from Tulane
was all alone in the end zone when he dropped a pass from
Rote on a play that started from Detroit's 33. Val Joe Walker
set up the opportunity by leaping high to intercept a Layne
pass and running it back to midfield. Again in the closing
minutes the Pack was goalward with thanks to some
heroics to Rote who limped back into action after being forced
out by a painful knee injury. Tobin clicked on a 12-yarder to
McGee to move the ball past midfield. Then came one of the
super efforts of the year. Rote stumbled and fell in dodging
away from madly rushing Detroit linemen. So he was flat on
his back when he flipped the ball to Howie Ferguson behind
the line. Howie squirmed and bulled his way to the Lion 35,where he was jolted so hard that he fumbled.
Jim David scooped up the ball and ran it back to Green Bay's 31. That snuffed out the final bid for a big upset. The statistics bear out the fact that the game was as close as the score. Thanks to a tremendous line, as agile as it is big, and some great running by Doak Walker and Bill Bowman, brilliant rookie fullback, the Lions wound up with a sharp edge on the ground, 188 to 74. But Rote made up a big share of the difference in that department by completing 20 of 41 passes for 294 yards. Layne's completion percentage was better (19 out of 30) but he was outgained by the Packer quarterback, 294 to 230. So the Lions had only a scant margin in total net gains, 418 to 368. Rote's chief target was Howton, who snagged seven for 102 yards. Dibble was the champions' top catcher with five for 77 yards. Walker and Bowman picked up 74 and 55 yards, respectively, on running plays. Carmichael led the Packers with 35 on eight carries, Reid had 28 in six tries. The first of David's two interceptions, plus a runback to Green Bay's 34, set the Lions' first touchdown drive in motion. It was on that drive, too, that the Packer defensive line and linebackers - Dave Hanner, John Martinkovic, Bill Forester, Clayton Tonnemaker and company - put on their finest show. A Layne to Hart pass and a 17 yard gallop by Bowman on a tackle trap play gave the Lions a first down only a foot from the goal. It took them three downs from there. Bowman failed to make it on first down. Ditto Bob Hoernschemeyer on the second try. Finally Layne just made it on a sneak. The game came to an end with Stretch Elliott, who played great defensive ball for the Packers again, and Lou Creekmur, 250 pound Lion tackle, swinging vigorously at each other a la Rocky Marciano. But the battlers were separated quickly and all threat of a free-for-all squelched as cooler heads too charge. Rote's passing yardage Sunday boosted his all-time total of 6,761 yards, a new Packer record. The old mark of 6,741 was held by Arnie Herber, who saw the game. Layne's two touchdown passes boosted his season total to 10 and his lifetime mark to 99 which gives him a tie for third place with Bob Waterfield on the all-time NFL list. Sammy Baugh and Sid Luckman are one-two with 187 and 139, respectively.
DETROIT   -  0 14  7  0 - 21
GREEN BAY -  7  3  7  0 - 17
1st - GB - Reid, 1-yard run (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 7-0
2nd - DET - Bobby Layne, 1-yard run (Doak Walker kick) TIED 7-7
2nd - DET - Jug Girard, 5-yard pass from Layne (Walker kick) DETROIT 14-7
2nd - GB - Cone, 17-yard field goal DETROIT 14-10
3rd - DET - Dorne Dibble, 22-yard pass from Layne (Walker kick) DETROIT 21-10
3rd - GB - Rote, 1-yard run (Cone kick) DETROIT 21-17
NOVEMBER 23 (Chicago) - There'll be a new twist to the 1955 College All-Star football game played against the NFL champions at Soldier Field. Instead of using college coaches, the Chicago Tribune Charities, Inc., sponsor of the game, Monday, announced professional coaches would be used. Tribune Sports Editor Arch Ward said Curly Lambeau, veteran pro coach, would head the squad and Hunk Anderson would be the line coach. It'll be the first time since the All-Star game was inaugurated that professional coaches will be used. Lambeau organized the Green Bay Packers in 1919 and was with the club until he resigned in 1950. He coached the Chicago Cardinals for two years and then moved on to the Washington Redskins. Anderson, one-time Notre Dame guard and later Irish coach, served as line coach with the Bears until 1951. Ward said "the decision was made by the fans who were invited to send their recommendations for changes, if any, to WGN-TV's sports page program (a Chicago television show). The response was overwhelming in favor of engaging professional coaches.
NOVEMBER 23 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - Monday in professional football is like Sunday in college ball - it's a well deserved day of rest. But Monday at Green Bay was a day of work as Coach Liz Blackbourn drilled his rambunctious Packers for Detroit again, this time a Thanksgiving Day battle at Briggs Stadium. Packer field captain, guard Buddy Brown, told Blackbourn, following their 21-17 loss to the champion Lions Sunday, that the boys all wanted to work out Monday. There's a feverish desire to beat Detroit this second time. Blackbourn announced that quarterback Tobin Rote, slowed to a walk by a bad charley horse Sunday, was still limping. Rote, however, is expected to start Thursday, triggering Green Bay's attack. Rookie Veryl Switzer was bothered with a pulled leg muscle. Tackle Jerry Helluin and defensive halfback Val Joe Walker were also nursing leg injuries. None was serious enough to sideline the trio. "Offensively the Lions were pretty rough," observed Liz. "They've got so many weapons - good passing, good running. No wonder they're champs." The Packers have one more day of practice before flying to Detroit Wednesday afternoon. Game time is 11 a.m. (Milwaukee time). It will be televised nationally. "It's kind of foolish to point out individual performances in a game like this one," said Blackbourn. "Our gang was fighting all the way. Oh, I thought Billy Howton had a good day catching passes. Howie Ferguson really ran on those screen passes and you've got to figure Rote in, too. He's a great competitor. Defensively, John Martinkovic was really having himself an afternoon. Then, too, Walker and Bobby Dillon looked good against Bobby Layne's passes." The turning point of the game? - "When Clayton Tonnemaker dropped an interception in the second quarter. A few plays later Detroit scored a touchdown," snapped Blackbourn. "I don't know what the result will be like Thursday," added Liz, "but we're going over to win this one."
NOVEMBER 24 (Milwaukee Journal) - The Packers' chances in their NFL rematch with the champion Lions at Detroit Thursday morning received another blow Tuesday when Val Joe Walker, defensive halfback, came up with a bad knee. Walker, who escaped injury in the 21-17 defeat by the Lions at Green Bay Sunday, became a casualty in a movie Sunday night. His knee "locked" when he got up to leave. The speedy defensive ace was limping so badly Tuesday that coach Lisle Blackbourn said it would take a "miraculous recovery" for him to play at all Thanksgiving Day. Veryl Swtizer, rookie who has played mostly on defense, probably will replace Walker. Switzer also has leg miseries but is "playable," Blackbourn said. Only Bobby Dillon of Green Bay's original deep three defenders is in good health, since Gene White, rookie from Georgia, went on the injured reserve list two weeks ago with a bad back. Quarterback Tobin Rote, despite nose, shoulder and leg injuries, will start for the Packers. "He won't be able to run right," Blackbourn said, "but he still can throw the ball." For their second meeting in five days, the Lions ruled 14 point favorites, same as for Sunday's game which they won by only four. Buddy Parker, Detroit coach, hinted it would not be as close this time. "They're a well coached team," Parker said of the Packers. "You won't find better linebackers than Roger Zatkoff and Clayton Tonnemaker. But we have the films on them. We'll play them pretty good Thanksgiving Day."
NOVEMBER 24 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - It's rough going for the Packers down the home stretch. But no matter what fate has in store for them in those final road games at Detroit, San Francisco and Los Angeles, this season of rebuilding under Liz Blackbourn surely will go down as successful beyond all reasonable expectations. Deficits in the five losing ventures in league play ranged from one to seven points - pretty fair sort of proof that they were in each ball game all the way. Even though it would have been miraculous to do so, it's also true that they could have won each of those games. The big thing is that they never were outclassed or disgraced. Of all the elements that made the revival possible, squad and individual spirit ranks at or near the top of the list. The 1954 Packers have great desire, without which no man is worth much in a tough sport like football. So they have played to the limit of their abilities and then some. That spirit is best typified by a little behind-the-scenes incident following last Sunday's thriller with the power-packed Lions. It was passed along by Blackbourn at a homecoming dinner for Packer stars of yesteryear. "What time are we practicing tomorrow?" Captain Buddy Brown asked Blackbourn. "I was flabbergasted to say the least," the coach reported to the old grads. "You remember how you fellows looked forward to an off day each Monday. I assume the boys today enjoy the weekly holiday as much as you did. But with the return battle with the Lions only four days off, they're putting practice ahead of their own pleasure. That's what I call real spirit. They want to be ready for Thursday and figure they have a chance to do what they almost did today - beat those Lions. It's a great gang." It was easy to detect that the alumni - Johnny Blood, Andy Uram, Charlie Brock, Jab Murray and the many others gathered there - were equally impressed. The old grads, in fact, obviously were pleased with the entire new setup at the Bay. Not one single work of criticism was heard during or after the game. Nothing but praise - like this: "Looks like we're really on our way, so it shouldn't be too long before we hit the top again." That's kidding strictly on the square, especially with everybody on the bandwagon.
NOVEMBER 24 (Detroit) - Bobby Layne, the Lions with the buggy-whip arm, is expected to pull all his old pro tricks against the Packers in Thanksgiving Day's annual battle at Briggs Stadium. The incentive is great. The T-formation specialist could join Sammy Baugh and Sid Luckman in pro football's exclusive "century club". Layne needs only one touchdown against the Packers to reach the 100 mark. A capacity crowd of 54,000 is anticipated after the thrilling 21-17 victory which the Lions scored over the Packers last Sunday in Green Bay. The game will start at 11 a.m. (Milwaukee time) and will be nationally televised. Coach Liz Blackbourn's Packers, addicted to the habit of playing any club to a standstill, are 16-point underdogs. The Lions have feasted on the Packers in their last three Turkey Day games, rolling up margins of 35-14, 48-24 and 52-35. Despite the recent Lions' victory success, the Packers still hold a definite edge in the all-time series, winning 26 and losing 16. With only three days to get ready for the rematch, the key to the outcome may be the number of injuries each team suffered last Sunday. The Packers are hurting defensively with Val Joe Walker the most recent casualty. Walker was not injured in the game but was a theater "casualty". He went to a movie following Sunday's game and after the show he tried to get up but found his knee had locked. With Walker out the Packers are without two of their best defensive linebackers, Gene White, injured in the Philadelphia game, will be available until the coast trip. Rookie Veryl Switzer will take over for Walker. Detroit's Dick Stanfel is almost certain to miss the game, having suffered a severe hip injury against the Packers. Lew Carpenter, right halfback and leading ground gainer will return to duty. Co-captain Thurman McGraw also is being counted on for action for the first time in six weeks. Whether Packer quarterback Tobin Rote, bothered with a charley horse and shoulder bruises, is up to par remains to be seen. Rote outdistanced his Lion counterpart, Layne, last Sunday, completing 20 of 41 passes for 294 yards, but the former Texas ace came up with the two important touchdown passes in his record of 19 completions of 30 attempts for 230 yards. Rote added one more all-time Packer passing record against the Lions when he surpassed Arnie Herber with 6,761 yards. He needs 15 more completions to break Cecil Isbell's record of 146 in one season and 294 yards to snap Isbell's 2,021 yards in one season. The Lions need just two victories in their remaining four games to assure themselves a third straight Western Division title. Green Bay has a 4-5 record - but those five losses have been a total of 23 points...Packer halfback Veryl Switzer topped NFL punt return leaders for the second week, with an average of 12.3 yards. Jack Christiansen, Detroit, is second with 10.8. Billy Howton, Packer end, is fourth in pass receiving with 40 caught. The Rams' Norm Van Brocklin held on the top passing spot with a 10.15 yards per pass. Jack Scarbath, Washington, is second with Detroit's Tom Dublinski and Bobby Layne following.
Detroit Lions (7-1) 21, Green Bay Packers (4-5) 17
Sunday November 21st 1954 (at Green Bay)