GAME RECAP (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL)
(LOS ANGELES) - Before one of the largest crowds in NFL history, 90,535, the Los Angeles Rams won the Western Conference championship here Sunday by whipping the Green Bay Packers, 31-17. By squaring the season series with the Packers, Sid Gillman's Rams finished a half game ahead of the Chicago Bears. The Bears forced the Rams to win the finale by beating the Philadelphia Eagles, 17-10, at Chicago. Lisle Blackbourn's crew finished third in the Western Division with a 6-6 record. The Rams will meet the Cleveland Browns, Eastern Division winners and defending league champions, in the playoff here December 26. Green Bay's defense kept the Packers in contention on this ideal day for the first half. Then the Rams' superior team speed enable them to pull away. Slippery Ron Waller, rookie from Maryland, was the particular thorn in Green Bay's side with three touchdowns. He went 55 yards on the third play of the game, one yard after a fumble recovery in the second quarter following a fine stand by Green Bay's defense, and two yards in the third period, following Jim Cason's interception
RETURNS PUNT 55 YARDS
Volney (Skeet) Quinlan, another swift Ram halfback, broke the game open, 28-10, with a 55 yard punt return in the third quarter. Big Les Richter kicked the four extra points and booted an 18 yard field goal in the last period. Tobin Rote, hit hard and often by the aroused Rams, threw nine yards to Gary Knafelc for Green Bay's first touchdown in the second quarter and five yards to Knafelc for the other in the fourth period. Fred Cone kicked a 14-yard field goal after a penalty nullified Rote's 11 yard first period scoring run. He also kicked one extra point and ran for the other after a fumble. On the third play from scrimmage, Waller, behind crisp blocking, skirted right end for 55 yards and a 7-0 Los Angeles lead. The game was only a little more than a minute old. Richter converted. Late in the opening quarter, Rote rolled out around end for 11 yards and apparently the tying touchdown. But illegal use of the hands was called and the Packers had to settle for Cone's field goal.
BAY DEFENSE HOLDS
At the outset of the second period, the Rams marched 83 yards in 17 plays to Green Bay's one. Here the Packer defense arose to stop Younger cold and take the ball. Rote had suffered a cut face, so Paul Held took over at quarterback. On third down Held and Reid fumbled a handoff and Hauser recovered on Green Bay's one. Waller sliced through on the next play and Richter converted, to give the Rams a 14-3 advantage. Just before the half ended, the Packers drove 80 yards in 13 plays to pull within four points at the intermission. Only 41 seconds remained when Rote passed nine yards to Knafelc, who was alone in the end zone. Early in the third quarter, Cason intercepted Rote's pass in midfield and the Rams drove 46 yards in seven plays to boost their lead to 21-10. Waller drove over right tackle for the last two yards and Richter converted. Two minutes later, Quinlan scooted 55 yards down the right sideline on a punt return. Griffin and McCormick threw key blocks. Richter converted, making it Rams 28, Packers 10. Early in the fourth period Richter kicked an 18 yard field goal, boosting the score to 31-10. With less than two minutes to play, Rote passed five yards to Knafelc for the final touchdown. Cone ran the point after a fumble to mak the score 31-17.
GREEN BAY - 3 7 0 7 - 17
LOS ANGELES - 7 7 14 3 - 31
1st - LA - Ron Waller, 55-yard run (Les Richter kick) LOS ANGELES 7-0
1st - GB - Cone, 14-yard field goal LOS ANGELES 7-3
2nd - LA - Waller, 1-yard run (Richter kick) LOS ANGELES 14-3
2nd - GB - Knafelc, 9-yard pass from Rote (Cone kick) LOS ANGELES 14-10
3rd - LA - Waller, 2-yard run (Richter kick) LOS ANGELES 21-10
3rd - LA - Skeets Quinlan, 55-yard punt return (Richter kick) LOS ANGELES 28-10
4th - LA - Richter, 18-yard field goal LOS ANGELES 31-10
4th - GB - Knafelc, 8-yard pass from Rote (Cone kick) LOS ANGELES 31-17
NEWS AND NOTES
GILLMAN'S CUFF LINK HAD WRONG CHAMP
DECEMBER 12 (Los Angeles) - The Los Angeles Rams had just finished trooping into the dressing room after winning the Western Division championship in the NFL Sunday when Coach Sid Gillman held up a gold cuff link for inquisitive reporters. It was inscribed: "Chicago Bears, 1955 Football Champions". Gillman said a friend in Chicago had sent it to him earlier in the week. "Someone back there," said Gillman, "jumped the gun."