(GREEN BAY) - Apparently licked, Lisle Blackbourn's Green Bay Packers rose in a mighty last minute effort and accomplished the almost impossible in their NFL opener here Sunday. They beat the Detroit Lions, 20-17, on an 18 yard pass, Tobin Rote to
Gary Knafelc, with only 20 seconds to go. The
winning touchdown, climatic touch to one of the
most frantic finishes ever, caused swarms of
spectators, mostly youngsters, from the crowd of
22,217 to descend on the playing field, even though
the game was not yet over. They carried Knafelc
from the field on their shoulders. Police pushed
back the intruders long enough for Fred Cone to
add the point, his eighth in his contribution to the
upset. Then back they swarmed, this time to
surround Rote, pushing and jostling and
congratulating him as he tried to make his way
to the sidelines.
Again the field was cleared, Charlie Brackins
kicked off. Jug Girard, former Packer whose
excellent punting had helped the Lions stay ahead
for most of the game, got the ball on the three. He
zigged and zagged, trying to pick up blockers to
go all the way. All he accomplished was a return to
the 17. Precious seconds had ticked away in the
meanwhile and before the Lions could try a play,
the gun sounded. Accomplished the almost
impossible, you say? Here's why. The Lions,
seeking their third straight Western Division
championship, had beaten the Packers 11 straight
times. Not since their first meeting of 1949 had
Green Bay defeated the blue shirts. The Packers
never had won from anyone at Green Bay under
Blackbourn. Three times in league games and
twice in exhibitions they had been licked before
the home folks. Blackbourn, whose only Packer
"home" victories, three of them, were acquired in
Milwaukee was beginning to think he might never
win here. The last time the Packers won in Green
Bay was over the Baltimore Colts almost two years
ago, when Gene Ronzani was coach.
Buddy Parker's well-endowed Lions, nine point
betting favorites, beat the Packers twice last year,
each time by four points. Until Rote guided the
Packers on their last ditch march, it seemed that
Detroit would surely win, again by four points,
or even more. Certainly Detroit was afforded every
opportunity to sew up the game earlier. The Lion offense, with Bobby Layne "shot putting" his passes because of a sore shoulder, wasn't much. The rough Packer defense contained it rather handily for the most part. But Green Bay mistakes, mostly in the way of fumbles, more than made up for that, until Rote and his teammates rolled down the field to victory. Behind 14-6 at the half and 17-6 early in the third quarter, the Packers did not get their offense really straightened out until late in the third quarter. Then a recovered fumble helped them pull within four points and set the stage for the see-saw final period. Green Bay's smashing defense, with rookie Nate Borden plugging a leak at defensive end, kept the Lions deep in their own territory early in the last quarter, but Girard's booming punts, against the win, kept the Packers at bay, too. 
Midway in the final quarter, Rote connected with Billy Howton for 19 yards and a first down on Detroit's 33. Howie Ferguson, who with Breezy Reid made Green Bay's running game go surprisingly well, punched his way to the 28. Here Rote laid the ball into Howton's hands on the 15, but Jack Christiansen hit the Packer end hard, jolting the ball loose. Linebacker Joe Schmidt, one of the best in the league, was right there to grab it. He ran the fumble back to Detroit's 31. Only 6:30 remained. Green Bay's last chance apparently had gone out the window, another of those typical misfortunes. By this time, the crowd was so noisy that the Lions claimed they could not hear their signals. The officials asked the fans to be quiet. They hollered all the louder. Finally, the Packers themselves waved for silence as they prepared to defend against the next play and order was restored somewhat. The Lions moved to the Packers 49, but here they were stopped. Girard punted, against the wind, 44 yards out of bounds on the Packer 5. Only 3:45 remained. On the very next play, Ferguson fumbled and the ubiquitous Mr. Schmidt was right there to fall on it. Again the Packer defense arched its back and on fourth down the Lions were back four yards, to the nine. Walker, who because of a leg injury was in for only one play aside from place kicks, tried a field goal from the 16. He missed much to his own and the crowd's surprise. The Packers took over, 80 yards from the goal, and only a minute and 55 seconds to make it. Rote passes to Switzer for a first down on the 34: 1:40 to go.
Rote, back to pass, found an opening to run instead and drove and fought his way 28 yards to Detroit's 38. Time out with 1:15 left. A screen pass was incomplete. Only five seconds wasted. A screen pass, Rote to Joe Johnson lost six yards when Schmidt sensed the play. Another time out with 58 seconds to go. Rote to Switzer gained 17 yards, first down on the 27. Switzer didn't get out of bounds so the clock kept running. With 35 seconds left, Rote passed nine yards to Howton. When he was hit, Howton threw the ball out of bounds, stopping the clock. Only 25 seconds and 18 yards to go. Now Rote rifled one down the middle. Knafelc, practially buried in Detroit defenders, leaped up somehow and caught the ball on the three. Schmidt, Christiansen, Karilivacz - all clawing at him and at the ball. The youngster from Colorado, a second year man who had never lived up to his promise, lived up to it here. He bulled over the goal, carrying Schmidt and Christiansen on his back and the Packers were tied for the division lead. Detroit got away to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter when Jim Doran caught Layne's deflected pass with one hand, was knocked down, got up and scored on a 38 yard play. A 22 year punt had given the Lions position.
Cone's 30 and 34 yard field goals in the second period pulled the Packers to within a point, but Rote was hit by Walt Jenkins as he tried to pass late in the half, the ball squirted away and Gil Mains, just back from Canada, fell on it in the end zone for an easy touchdown. At the start of the second half, Detroit made its only real march of the afternoon. Bill Stits, brought over onto offense to replace the injured Dave Middleton, picked up 46 yards on his first four carries and led the Lions to a first down on the Packer three. Here the Packers rose up on the first of two great goal line stands. After three plays, the Lions were back on the five, so Doak Walker booted a 12 yard field goal and Detroit led, 17-6. Green Bay's chances appeared slim, indeed. Now the Packers got a break. Lew Carpenter, the Lions' leading ground gainer, fumbled and Val Joe Walker recovered on Detroit's 30. Six plays later, Rote bolted over from the four. Then the wild fourth quarter - and victory.
DETROIT   -  7  7  3  0 - 17
GREEN BAY -  0  6  7  7 - 20
1st - DET - Jim Doran, 38-yard pass from Bobby Layne (Doak Walker kick) DETROIT 7-0
2nd - GB - Cone, 30-yard field goal DETROIT 7-3
2nd - GB - Cone, 34-yard field goal DETROIT 7-6
2nd - DET - Gil Mains, recovered fumble in the end zone (Walker kick) DETROIT 14-6
3rd - DET - Walker, 12-yard field goal DETROIT 17-6
3rd - GB - Reid, 4-yard run (Cone kick) DETROIT 17-13
4th - GB - Knafelc, 18-yard pass from Rote (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 20-17
SEPTEMBER 26 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - Joy continued in Green Bay Monday, the last few tickets for Sunday's Bear game gobbled up to insure a sellout and the Packer office hummed with preparation for the Bruins. "We really enjoyed winning this one," was
coach Liz Blackbourn's first reaction to the Packers'
20-17 upset over the Lions, "but we understand,
perhaps better than anyone else, how a team can lose
by two or three points. Detroit played a lot rougher this
time," continued Liz, "but the club was not near as
clever as a year ago. Perhaps it was because Bobby
Layne had a rather poor afternoon." For the record,
Layne completed eight of 18 passes for 155 yards and
one touchdown. He had one intercepted. By
comparison, Tobin Rote hit 15 out of 27 for 163 yards
and one touchdown and also had one pass intercepted.
"Oh, Rote didn't have a very good day, either," added
Blackbourn. "That Lion defensive line is murder and it's
going to give any quarterback a rough time. Rote was
rushed badly, They hurried him to such an extent that
he couldn't set up may pass patterns." Blackbourn,
however, called Rote's 28-yard run to the Detroit 38 as
the key play to the winning touchdown. "It put us in
position, and it must have bothered the Lions intensely.
They were puzzled, not knowing whether Rote would
pass or run on the next play." What about that
sensational shot to Gary Knafelc down the middle?
"Knafelc was the target, all right. That was sure a
beauty, wasn't it?" Blackbourn pointed out "key" spots
here and three. He wasn't too happy the way Jim
Doran, 6-2, 200 pound end, bolted through the middle
to snare Layne's quick passes. Doran caught three of
this variety for 86 yards and one touchdown. "I think
our defense did a whale of a job, though. Rookie Nate
Borden helped tremendously at right end and John
Martinkovic came up with his usual good play." A
check with Jack Vainisi, who scouted the Colt-Bear
tussle, brought out these observations: "Al Ameche's
quick start seemed to be his biggest asset," said
Vainisi. "His 79-yard touchdown run was on a quick
trap through the middle. Once he popped through he
couldn't be caught. And he's quite a blocker. That gives a big assist to runners like L.G. Dupre and Royce Womble. The Bears were caught napping and found themselves on the short end of a 17-0 count. Ed Brown came in to quarterback Chicago and he hits Harlon Hill and Bill McColl time and again, but Baltimore had too much of a head start. Old George Halas was furious after the game. This was supposed to be the Bears' big year. It should be quite a scrap here Sunday."
even began announced that this would be his last as coach. Dripping with the finest material they have had since their last championship year in 1946, except maybe for a really first rate quarterback, they even boasted about what the season might be. But then came Baltimore in the first league game a week ago, and a guy by the name of Alan Ameche and a bunch of other Colts who obviously had never heard anything about all of the fine designs. Ameche, the former Badger Horse, making his debut as a pro, gained 194 yards himself rushing, including one touchdown of 79 yards, and the Bears were a crushed team with the season only one game old. It is such a team, still badly hurt that the Packers must face Sunday. The game will be the 73rd in the bitter rivalry begun in 1921 and renewed at least twice each season since, some years three times. The Bears have won 42, the Packers 24. Six games were ties. Green Bay has not won since 1952. Like all visits the Bears make to Green Bay this one is already assured of a capacity crowd of 24,668. The ticket situation has become particularly acute the last few days because of what the Packers themselves did in their own league debut last week when they beat the Detroit Lions in the last 20 seconds of play, 20-17. Green Bay has been up in the clouds all week. It was the first victory at home in two years. The odds favor the Bears. On paper they have depth the Packers cannot match. They have a big, rugged line with men like Wightkin, George, Jones, Kreamcheck, Clark, Bishop, Hoffman and Adkins, fine running backs like Casares, Watkins, Jagade, Drzewiecki and Fortunato, and excellent receivers like Hill, Schroeder, and McColl. Their one difficulty has been at quarterback where Brown, Blanda and Williams have taken turns directing the team and passing and doing only a fair job. Brown in recent games has been the most successful although he is far from last year's Bratkowski, who is now in service. Despite the difficulties at quarterback, the team under the influence of Assistant Coach Clark (Space Helmet) Shaughnessy has remained completely pass crazy. The fine runners have been frequently ignored in order to throw the ball. Against Baltimore last week, the Bears tried 43 passes, completed only 21. It is still a strong, explosive team, though, and in it's present mood certainly will be exceedingly tough to handle. Whether the outmanned Packers will be able to pick up where they left off in their spectacular finish against Detroit remains to be seen. They refused to be licked last Sunday and such a spirit could mean much again. The hope lie principally with a thin but good defense, the strong arm of Tobin Rote, fair receiving, and the fine running of Howie Ferguson who is rapidly taking rank with the finest fullbacks in football. Except for Al Carmichael, still nursing a shoulder separation, the Packers will be at full strength. So with the Bears except for halfback Mosley who alone remained on the doubtful list Friday with a  bad knee.
SEPTEMBER 30 (Chicago Tribune) - Rain forced the Chicago Cardinals inside for practice yesterday and washed out the Chicago Bears' workout completely as the two teams neared the end of preparations for their second NFL games of the season on Sunday. The Cardinals, with four men definite nonstarters and five others who may see limited service because of injury, ran through plays and tuned up their sputtering offense in the University of Chicago fieldhouse. The Cardinals will meet the New York Giants at 1:35 o'clock Sunday afternoon in Comiskey park. Owner-Coach George Halas canceled the Bears' scheduled Wrigley field workout but called an indoor meeting and the squad watched movies of their 23-17 loss to the Baltimore Colts last week, as well as of their 29 to 23 triumph over Green Bay at Wrigley field last season. The Bears' hopes for a victory over the Packers at Green Bay Sunday were raised with word that Charley Sumner, rookie defensive back from William and Mary, should be in shape to face the Packers. Sumner suffered a jaw injury September 10 in an exhibition against the Giants at Little Rock, and missed both the Armed Forces game and the regular season opener against Baltimore. The 6 foot 1 inch 190 pounder, who played brilliantly on defense during the exhibition season, also can be used as a ball carrier. This ability may come in handy since a pair of rookie halfbacks, Henry Mosley and Rick Casares, are expected to be kept on the bench Sunday because of injury. Both were used against Baltimore. The Bears, incidentally, will play before a sellout crowd of 24,688 when they meet the Packers for the 74th time. Sunday will be the annual Green Bay homecoming game, and interest was increased by last week's 20 to 17 Packers' victory over the Detroit Lions.
OCTOBER 1 (Green Bay) - The Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears will square off Sunday in the 74th game of the long series which dates back to 1921. The Bears will be slight favorites to win, although the margin is not expected to be as wide as was predicted before last week's NFL openers. The Packers upset the Western Division champion Detroit Lions, while the Bears were beaten by underdog Baltimore. A sellout crowd of 24,000 fans will be on hand in Green Bay's City Stadium. The Packer fans will be rooting for a repetition of last Sunday's last minute touchdown which agave Green Bay a 20-17 win over the Lions. The Bears were reported in top physical shape for the game, and all the Packers were expected to be ready for action with the possible exception of halfback Al Carmichael who was injured in an exhibition game September 3 and has been sidelined ever since. The Packers' last win over the Bears was in 1952, although the two teams tied 21-21 the following year. The Bears won both games last year by narrow margins, 10-3 and 28-23.
OCTOBER 2 (Chicago Tribune) - The Green Bay
Packers, who surprised everyone with a beat the clock
pass for a 20 to 17 triumph over the Detroit Lions last
week, will try to lengthen their victory string here
tomorrow against the formidable Chicago Bears. A
capacity crowd of 24,668 will fill City stadium for the
National league contest. The game, 73rd regular season
contest between the two teams, also is the annual
homecoming for the Green Bay alumni club, a group of
former players whose president is Bernard (Boob)
Darling. The Bears hold a big edge in the series: 42-24-
6. Only Al Carmichael, fleet halfback, is on the Packers'
doubtful list. Carmichael still is recovering from a 
shoulder dislocation suffered against the Philadelphia
Eagles September 3, but may be ready for the
Chicagoans. The Bears, however, will be without the
services of a pair of rookie backs who have seen 
considerable service during the exhibition season and
were hurt in last week's league loss to the Baltimore
Colts. They are Rick Casares, 224 pounder from the
University of Florida, and Henry Mosley, 200 pound
speed merchant who played one year for little Morris
Brown in Atlanta.
OCTOBER 2 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - It's been a long
time since excitement over the Packers and pro football
in general ran as high as it does at the moment in this
state. The almost miraculous upset victory over mighty
Detroit, via a movie finish in the NFL opener, started a
ire that has developed into a roaring blaze over the coming of the Bears. Yup - Sunday's the day when the pro counterpart of the Harvard-Yale collegiate series will be renewed at Green Bay. Good old City Stadium will be bursting at the seams with about 25,000 thrill-seeking customers whooping it up. Many time that number, practically all of them on the Packer bandwagon, will be listening to the radio account and/or anxiously awaited the printed details. A double reward is dangling before the eyes of the Packers - the right to move into solid contention and the extra satisfaction that goes with moving up at the expense of the Bears, still enemy No. 1. Sharpies who set the odds and presumably wager accordingly have established the Bears as slight favorites. But I'll take a chance on the new Packers spirit and and another upset. Packers 27, Bears 24.
Green Bay Packers (1-0) 20, Detroit Lions (0-1) 17
Sunday September 25th 1955 (at Green Bay)
Breezy Reid (center) of the Green Bay Packers, gains six yards in the second quarter of the pro football game with the Detroit Lions before being downed by Joe Schmidt (behind him). Other identifiable Packers are Tom Dahms (78) and Jerry Helluin (right). Packers upset Detroit, 20-17. (Credit: Bettmann)
Joe Johnson (40) of the Packers is stopped by Detroit Lions player Gil Mains in a punt return in the third quarter. On ground (foreground) is Jim Martin of the Lions. Packers scored a 20-17 upset. (Credit: Bettmann)
SEPTEMBER 27 (Milwaukee Journal) - Lisle Blackbourn was sitting at the dining room table at his home at Green Bay Sunday night. He was smoking a cigarette and smiling, obviously enjoying his Packers' last minute 20-17 upset triumph over the Detroit Lions. "How does it feel, Liz?" a visitor asked. "Good, real good," the coach replied. "I'm tired, though. When you've been coaching as long as I have, a game like that takes a lot of you." "Yes," someone said, "but you're just a rookie coach as far as winning in Green Bay is concerned." Blackbourn laughed. "The first one here," he said. "I thought it would never come. The coach was asked about the game. "No analysis now," he said. "That can come later. All I want to do is savor the victory. Ask me about the winnipg play. I'll be glad to talk about that all night. When I was at Marquette. we used the same pass to beat Holy Cross one year. Exactly the same pattern, late in the game, too. It's getting to be my favorite play." The talk switched to Gary Knafelc, the man who caught Tobin Rote's pass from among a swarm of Detroit defenders and bulled across the goal for the winning points. "That could be what Knafelc needs," Blackbourn said. "We've always felt he had the gear. Now that he knows what he can do, there may be no stopping him." As for Rote, Blackbourn kept repeating, "What a competitor. He was being rushed pretty hard early in the game," Blackbourn said. "But once the boys up front got straightened around, Rote had himself a good day. He never gives up." And the Packer running game? "Well," he said, "we outgained them by a yard on the ground and eight yards in the air. Not bad. Breezy Reid has himself a good day for a battered up old man. Ferguson? He's getting better every game. He does the job." Blackbourn's wife mentioned Alan Ameche, the Wisconsin Horse, whose great day for Baltimore helped the Colts beat the Chicago Bears. "Wouldn't you like to have him?" she asked. Blackbourn frowned, then said, "I'm still glad we've got Howie." As for Joe Schmidt, Detroit linebacker who was in the Packers' way no matter where they went. Blackbourn had the highest praise. "They (the Detroit coaches) have been saying all along he's the best in the league. The way he played today, I guess maybe he is. He and Bednarik of the Eagles. They're both thinking all the time out there, but I'd rate Schmidt the tougher of the two." And what about the Bear, the Packers' opponent at Green Bay next Sunday? "They'll be extra rough after losing to Baltimore," the Packer coach said. "But actually it doesn't make much difference who you play, or in what order. Every team in the league is tough this year. The scores showed that. We'll take a look at the movies, then start working on our mistakes. That's what coaching is mostly - trying to correct mistakes. I don't suppose we really played one of our better games today and the Lions probably didn't either. But I'm not worried about that now. I'm just glad we won one."
SEPTEMBER 27 (Milwaukee Sentinel - Lloyd Larson) - The Packers' winning touchdown in the closing seconds of Sunday's league opener against Detroit was more than an electrifying thing that brought unrestrained joy to thousands of loyal followers. That last ditch Tobin Rote to Gary Knafelc scoring effort could very well turn out to be one of the most valuable "clicks" in years - one that may pay big dividends two ways. An upset is a real tonic in itself. To pull it at the expense of a team as strong as the defending Western Division champs doubles the strength. Add the manner in which this one was accomplished - time running out and hope practically gone - and there is no telling the extent of the lift. Suffice to say the Packers now should have renewed faith in themselves and their ability to battle any club in the league on even terms. They're off and running for a chance instead of having to get off the floor, as has been the case in swinging into league play too often in recent years. Financially, too, the Bays should cash in handsomely on the Rote-to-Knafelc play that put an end to the long standing Detroit jinx. The ticket scramble for the Bears game, always heavy because of the traditional rivalry, is heavier than ever. So it's a cinch sellout for next Sunday. Renewed interest created by knocking off the Lions already is reflected also in the demand for the Milwaukee opener the following week - a Saturday night duel with Baltimore. Should Liz Blackbourn's operators repeat their winning performance against the Bears, it's conceivable the Colt game will approach the sellout stage despite the switch from Sunday afternoon to Saturday night because it is the pro's TV attraction of the week. Even if it isn't an absolute sellout, the largest crowd in Packer home history should move in on County Stadium. The ticket sales for Baltimore has been lively right along, thanks to Alan Ameche, Wisconsin's All-American fullback who was the Colts' No. 1 draft choice. Everybody is more anxious than ever to see the Horse gallop as a pro after his brilliant debut against the Bears last Sunday. Add the sudden excitement over the Packers and you have a natural. It's a matter of record that the Horse went 79 yards for a touchdown the first time he got his mitts on the ball, and wound up with a ground gaining total of 194 yards, an average of 9.2 per carry. That's a pretty fair answer to those who weren't completely sold on Ameche as a pro prospect. The box office activity he has stirred up locally also is the tipoff on how valuable he would have been to the Packers His personal drawing power surely would have paid his salary may times over. Which is a reminder that pro football should snip a leaf out of the pro basketball book and try to work out some plan for territorial rights. What a terrific thing for the Packers if they had been given first shot at Ameche and Ron Drzewiecki, Marquette star who was the Bears' No. 1 draft choice! Opening battles were pretty much what the doctor ordered for putting new life, new zing in the pro league. It's a healthy thing when the defending champions (Browns), last year's runners-up (Lions) and live title prospects (Bears) get knocked off by a trio of prospective doormats - Washington, Green Bay and Baltimore. Another top favorite, San Francisco, took it on the chin (from Los Angeles) to add to the upset pattern and help make it a wide open race. Equality of competition - meaning that any team has an honest chance to beat any rival on any given day - pumps lifeblood into any sport.
SEPTEMBER 27 (Green Bay) - Halfback Veryl Switzer of the Green Bay Packers is recovering here from a nose injury received over the weekend in an auto accident. His auto skidded on a curve on Highway 12 south of De Pere Sunday evening, overturned, struck a utility pole and came down to a stop upside down.
SEPTEMBER 28 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - "Old George is really racking the whip down here," reported Bear publicitor Frank Korch by phone from Chicago Tuesday, a word of caution for Packerland that something is brewing for Sunday's tussle at Green Bay. "I've never seen Halas so disappointed," said Korch. "He knew the Colts were the most improved club in the league, but he was sold on our chances. You know, this is his last coaching year and there's little doubt he believes this could be our year." Korch added that Halas personally scouted the Packer-Cardinal exhibition at Milwaukee, one of his rare press box appearances. His Bruins defeated the Packers twice last year, but by the slim margins of 10-3 and 28-23. "George has always admired Tobin Rote and saw him at his best against the Cardinals. But on the whole, he thought Green Bay was an improved club, especially its offensive line and defensive secondary." Getting back to the stunning Baltimore defeat Korch pointed to Al Ameche's 79 yard touchdown gallop on he second play of the game and two crucial fumbles by Bobby Watkins as the reasons why the Colts jumped off to a 17-0 halftime advantage. "We started to roll after that. Ed Brown connecting with Harlon Hill and Bill McColl, but we just couldn't make it. Ameche is a terrific fullback, there's little question about that. And the Colt defensive line is murder. Baltimore is going to have a lot to say about the championship," was Korch's appraisal. Brown, who sparked the Bears in their second place finish last season, will start against the Packers. But Korch was moaning that two of the Bears' best backs, Rick Casares and Henry Mosley, probably won't see action Sunday. Casares is one of the most promising runners to join the Bears since George McAfee, is the belief. Mosley, a rugged defensive halfback, has been sidelined several weeks with a bad knee. "We're calling our Brown a second Rote," said Korch. "He will run with the ball, just wait and see. And Ron Drzewiecki - he's doing all out punt and kickoff returning. Don't be surprised if he starts at halfback, though. He's the kind of runner we've wanted for a long time. But at the moment Halas is concerned about the Packers," Korch emphasized. "We don't want a Baltimore repeat. We want to get back there where we belong."
SEPTEMBER 29 (Green Bay) - Lessons learned on a college track squad don't often come in handy in professional football, but Gary Knafelc put one into practice Sunday and the Green Bay Packers won a ballgame they figured to lose. The 6-4, 218 pound NFL sophomore end made a circus catch of a Tobin Rote pass with 20 seconds to go to five the Bays an electrifying 20-17 win over the Detroit Lions. With three Detroit defenders clustered around him near the goal line like bees at a hive, it looked impossible. But Knafelc, with spring in his legs developed as a high jumper at Colorado University, shot up like a cork released from the bottom of a rain barrel, snared the ball and plowed over for the winning touchdown. Back in his college days, Gary used to high jump six feet, two inches. In catching Rote's rifle-like toss, he leaped fully three feet off he ground. Then followed a spontaneous demonstration by ecstatic Bays' fans that held up the game for almost 10 minutes. They mobbed Knafelc in the end zone, hoisted him on their shoulders and paraded around. Pro football seldom has seen its equal. Knafelc said he felt good about it, but "I was worried about getting off the field so that we wouldn't be penalized for delaying the game." One small boy even pressed a 50-cent piece into Gary's hands to show his appreciation for the amazing catch. This is Gary's second year in pro football. He was the Cardinals' No. 2 draft choice last year. The Packers signed him as a free agent after the season started. Appearing only briefly last year on offense, he caught five passes for 48 yards. The 23-year old receiver caught the eyes of Cardinal scouts in his senior year at Colorado. Playing all but 39 minutes of a possible 600, Gary picked off 22 passes for 451 yards and 8 touchdowns. Against Detroit in the Bays' opener, he caught 3 for 45 yards. The longest - 18 yards - went for the deciding touchdown. Gary's catch, sure to be long remembered, made up for a miss by another Packer end against Detroit last year at Green Bay. Max McGee, now in service, dropped a pass from Rote in the end zone that could have made a big difference. The Lions won that contest 21-17.
SEPTEMBER 29 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - Castoff champion of the NFL was the appropriate title for the Lions after coming into national prominence under Buddy Parker. Here was a club winning the championship with a Layne, a Harder, a Girard and a coach - handed down from other clubs - believing all had been seen the best day. But what assembled in Detroit soon was the scourge of pro football. The Lions had built a solid club with "has-beens" playing their key roles, "has-beens" only to their old bosses. Only when they were champions was the picture painfully true. Sunday, the Packers defeated those Lions for the first time in five years. They did it with a 35-man squad, 13 of them being obtained via trades and signed as free agents when other clubs frowned on their making the grade. Earning their spurs with the Packers and getting them off to a roaring start over the Lions were these league refugees: Fullback Howie Ferguson, halfback Breezy Reid, end Gary Knafelc, defensive halfback Val Joe Walker, defensive end John Martinkovic, guard Buddy Brown, tackle Tom Dahms, tackle Jerry Helluin, guard Joe Skibinski, tackle Bill Lucky, tackle Len Szafaryn, defensive halfback Clarence Self, and defensive end Pat O'Donahue. That makes up quite a tough core, the names speaking for themselves. Their adjustment to Packer-style under Coach Liz Blackbourn has been outstanding and they have gained a winning frame of mind, and added confidence after that spectacular 20-17 win over the Western Division champions. "I got my start with the Redskins" can be said by three linemen playing stellar roles in Blackbourn's plans. In their fifth season of pro ball, they are Martinkovic, Brown and Szafaryn. Three recent acquisitions from the Browns have bolstered the forward wall. Helluin, obtained in 1954, teams with veteran Dave Hanner to give the Packers two of the best defensive tackles in the business. And in the trade this season with the Browns, the Packers came up with a starting guard in Skibinski and a likely prospect in Lucky, recuperating from an appendectomy. Both were exchanged for tackle Art Hunter who is now in service. When Ferguson was given the cold shoulder by the Rams in 1952, he was convinced his football ambitions were over. No one picked him up on waivers. Signed as a free agent in 1953 by the Packers, Ferguson has developed into one of the league's best fullback - a back Blackbourn says he would never get rid of. Getting Dahms, the 6-5, 250-pound former Ram, is probably the best deal the Packers ever made, trade-wise. He was obtained from Los Angeles for veteran end Stretch Elliott and a 1956 draft choice. Elliott didn't pan out with the Rams, but Dahms has been a sensation with the Packers and worth the draft loss. Knafelc, the 6-4 end who was Sunday's hero, catching Tobin Rote's 18 yard pass for a touchdown, was the second draft choice of the Cardinals in 1954. He was signed as a free agent by the Packers after the second league game that season. Reid, in his sixth year, was drafted by the Bears in 1950 and released after the first league game. Green Bay signed him immediately and he's been one of the all-time top Packer ground gainers. Walker was with New York in 1953, being its seventh draft choice. Recognized as one of the great defensive backs in the league, he has been a spark plug with the Packers who got him via the trade route. Self has probably been shuffled around more than any other player. He was signed by the Cardinals in 1949, then traded to the Lions in 1950. Green Bay picked him up in 1952, released him the following season and Blackbourn signed him again last year. In his seventh season, he's a whiz of a defensive ace despite his 5-9, 180 pound stature. O'Donahue joined the Packers last week after being released by the 49ers, who sent him to the Steelers on an "if" basis. He seems to be what was needed to bolster the defensive end corps. These 13 refugees have filtered into the Packer picture perfectly and are playing the kind of football resembling the good old days.
SEPTEMBER 30 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - Every time Tobin Rote throws a football this fall he will be adding, one way or another, to Packer records. Rovin' Tobin, the only pro quarterback who can and will run like a halfback, holds eight Green Bay passing records. And that's competing with former stars like Cecil Isbell and Arnie Herber. If Tob keeps unleashing his buggy-whip arm with constant perfection, he will establish a new mark for touchdown passes thrown. Isbell is the man to top, as he tossed 59 TD aerials in his career in Packerland. Including Rote's winning touchdown pass to Gary Knafelc against the Lions last Sunday, he has now tossed 55 scoring passes. Here's a rundown on Rote's all-time Packer records:
* Most passes attempted in one season (1954) - 382 (also league record)
* Most passes attempted in career - 1,231
* Most passes completed in one season (1954) - 180
* Most passes completed in career - 538
* Most yards gained passing in one season (1954) - 2,311
* Most yards gained passing in career - 7,518 
* Most passes intercepted in one season (1950) - 21
* Most passes intercepted in career - 86
Rote's touchdown toss to Knafelc was a play called from the bench. Coach Liz Blackbourn gave this explanation of the momentous play: "Detroit was doubling up on (Billy) Howton and our halfbacks, leaving Knafelc alarmingly alone. Although Tob had tossed only twice to Gary, we figured this was the time to cross 'em up with Knafelc being the target straight down the middle." It certainly paid off handsomely and it labeled Knafelc as an ace in the hole. It's wonderful what a victory over a champion does. The squad was in high spirits Thursday, determined to shoot the works against the Bears Sunday. However, Green Bay's dreams are in the realm of reality, seriously realizing the Bears will be tougher than every after losing to Baltimore. The Packers have been drilling on the old Bluejay baseball field. And, for the first time in many a moon, the practices have been opened to the public. Several hundred fans have been observing their team all week. It's keyed everyone for the "Monsters of the Midway". Trainer Bud Jorgenson had numerous bruises and cuts to take care of after the Lions' tussle - nothing serious. Rote's wrist was roughened up by Detroit's big boys, but the injury was minor. Halfback Al Carmichael is the only question mark for Sunday's game. He suffered a dislocated shoulder against the Eagles in an exhibition game September 3. There is a slight possibility he will be ready against the Bears. The Packer-Bear game will be the annual homecoming for the Packer alumni club, an organization of former Packer players. It could be a hot time in the old town with any kind of a win over their hated rivals.
SEPTEMBER 30 (Milwaukee Journal) - A "wounded" Bear can be an awfully mean critter and Sunday Lisle Blackbourn's Green Bay Packers must meet up with one. George Halas' Chicago Bears, "wounded" indeed a week ago when they unexpectedly lost to the Baltimore Colts, 23-17, will be in Green Bay with fur bristling. This was to be the Bears' year. This was to be the year of winning farewell to Halas who first organized them as the Staleys in 1919, brought them into Chicago in 1920 and who long before this season