(MILWAUKEE) - Addicted to the spectacular while playing in friendly confines, the surprising Packers fought back with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to beat the 49ers, 27-21, Sunday at the Stadium. The comeback victory kept Green Bay in title contention, ended a seven game losing streak to the 'Frisco clan and marked the high point of the Blackbourn regime. Green
Bay now owns a 5-4 record in the torrid Western Division
race, one more win than it got all last season. The Packers
trailed the front running Bears by a game. Trailing 21-13 with
4 1/2 minutes of the third period played, the Packers thrilled
a chilled crowd of 19,099 with another last ditch performance
to end their successful home stands, in which all five wins
were accomplished. Tobin Rote, who completed only nine of
27 passes in the first half, got hot at the finish. His 34-yard
strike to Gary Knafelc in the end zone trimmed the 49ers'
lead to 21-20 with five minutes of the final period played.
Tackle Jerry Helluin stopped hearts moments later by
recovering Joe Perry's fumble on the Packer 40. Then came
one of the most weird, but spectacular plays ever executed
by the Green and Gold. Breezy Reid took a Rote pitchout
around his right end and ran into trouble at the line of
scrimmage. He reversed his field and, all of a sudden, tossed
a lateral to a stunned Tobin, who found a clear field ahead of
him as he raced 49 yards to the San Francisco six to set up
the winning touchdown. Rovin' Tobin has often lugged the
ball - but 49 yards through the 49ers was a killer-diller. It
certainly was an improvised play, not in Coach Liz
Blackbourn's bag of tricks. But it worked, and did it work!
Howie Ferguson scored on the very next play and the 49ers
were temporarily crushed mentally. They had four minutes
to get back into the ballgame, but the aroused Packers were
not going to let them get away with it.
Y.A. Tittle had probably one of his best days in pro football,
hitting 15 of 28 times for 225 yards. Two deadly completions
to rookie Carroll Hardy, 33 yards and 58 for touchdowns, had
put the Packers into the hole, but good. Tittle triggered the
49ers within 33 yards of a winning touchdown with 51
seconds to play. Billy Bookout, the Packers' little holler guy,
squelched the victory bid by taking the ball away from end
Harry Babcock on the Packer 27. Bookout's leg was mangled
in the process and he had to be carried from the field. But
his recovery was the timeliest one of the season and
preserved all the work which had gone in the two-touchdown
Four 49ers fumbles were gobbled up by the eager Packers.
Bookout and Helluin did the "dirty work" at the end. Rookie
Jim Jennings fell on a loose ball on a second period kickoff
and the effort was rewarding as Fred Cone booted his first of
two field goals five plays later. Another recovery, this time by
Nate Borden on the opening kickoff in the third quarter, humbled the 49er defense. It was Rote, Ferguson and Billy Howton who drilled the opposition with most success. Rote completed 14 of 32 passes for 201 yards. He tossed two touchdown passes and had two intercepted. And his 49 yard romp with seven other carries netted Tob 81 yards.Ferguson was the workhorse, carrying 21 times for 85 yards. Howton grabbed five Rote tosses in spectacular fashion for 68 yards. The 49ers looked and started like the 49ers of old. The first time they got their mitts on the ball they went the distance, 59 yards in seven plays. Perry for nine, seven, 11; Dicky Moegle for seven and 11 and Tittle's 16 yard shot to Bill Wilson, punched the Packers' defense to smithereens. Moegle was in the end zone standing up after a three yard smash before the Packers knew what happened. Gordy Soltau converted and the California visitors had a 7-0 lead within five minutes. The 'Frisco express got TD notions the next time it got the ball. Moegle was off to the races on the third play of the series, dashing 39 yards to the Packer seven where Bobby Dillon racked him out of bounds. First down on the Packer seven - and an almost clinch TD setup.
But the 49ers could not score. The Packers held the likes of Moegle and Perry and took over. It was Roger Zatkoff, Bill Forester and Dillon who clobbered Moegle on a pitchout on the Packer one. The Packers were on the short end of a 7-0 count as the first quarter ended. In the second period Joe Johnson fumbled on the 49er five to end a 45-yard Packer drive. However, when the Packers did strike, it was a fast job. Fifty-four yards in four plays knotted things up the next time Green Bay got the ball. This touchdown was the razzle-dazzle variety. Rote tossed to Howton on the 49er 30 and Billy lateralled to Johnson, who scored. Cone converted. Jennings' recovery of Joe Arenas' kickoff return put the Packers in business seconds later. Taking over on the 49er 27, Green Bay settled for Cone's 17-yard field goal on fourth down to move ahead, 10-7. The 49ers struck right back, going 80 yards in nine plays. But on the eighth play of the drive, Moegle's leg was mauled in a pileup and he never came back. He had gained 83 yards in nine carries in 12 minutes - enough damage! Tittle kept the 49ers in the game the rest of the way. His 33 yard heave to Hardy in the end zone put the 49ers ahead once more, 14-10, after Soltau converted. The Packers struck back following the kickoff, but when three of Tobin's passes went sour they turned to Cone.
This time Freddie broke an all-time Packer record by splitting the uprights with a 28 yard field goal, his 14th of the season. And that's the way things ended in the first half, 49ers 14, Packers 13. Borden's recovery of Bud Laughlin's fumble of halftime kickoff of the halftime kickoff went for naught when Paul Carr intercepted Rote's pass on the Frisco 14 moments later. That spurred the 49ers and they rolled 75 yards in six plays. Y.A. uncorked a mighty 41 yard heave to Hardy on the Packer 17 and he scored. Soltau's conversion made it 21-13, a rather safe advantage. When Clay Mathews recovered Johnson's fumble on the Frisco 45 late in the third period, it appeared as though the Packers had shot their offensive fireworks. But after Bobby Luna had punted out of bounds on the Packer nine, the Bays started to move with Ferguson rushing and Rote passing. The payoff was Tobin's 34 yard strike to Knafelc, who took the pass away from three 49er defenders. Cone converted and the Packers were getting closer, 21-20. After the kickoff, the 49ers were sputtering on Perry's efforts. The Jet was punching through - until the ball was jerked out of his paws on the Packer 40 and Helluin fell on it.
That set up the strange, improvised Reid to Rote deal. Fergy did the honors on one mighty lunge. Cone's kick was perfect again and the Packers had finally made it, 27-21. The 49ers had found Green Bay's defense vulnerable on Tittle's long passes earlier. But not this time. The old rush hurried Y.A. for the first time. His pitches were either overthrown or dropped and the Packers took over on the San Francisco 35. Three Packer running plays did little damage, so the strategy was a Cone field goal to put the game on ice. But this time Cone's 36 yard boot sailed wide to the left. Tittle hustled his charges, tossing to Hardy for 23 yards, Babcock for nine and Soltau for 33. The 49ers were withing 33 yards of a possible victory. Then Bookout's recovery of Babcock's fumble ruined all hope. Time ran out after Rote picked up a yard on a quarterback sneak. The amazing comeback was richly deserved by these never-say-die Packers. It put them in serious title contention. And who knows what will happen this mixed-up season? A Thanksgiving Day showdown with the Lions at Detroit will tell more.
SAN FRANCISCO -  7  7  7  0 - 21
GREEN BAY     -  0 13  0 14 - 27
1st - SF - Dicky Moegle, 3-yard run (Gordie Soltau kick) SAN FRANCISCO 7-0
2nd - GB - Johnson, 30-yard lateral from Howton after an 11-yard pass from Rote (Cone kick) TIED 7-7
2nd - GB - Cone, 11-yard field goal GREEN BAY 10-7
2nd - SF - Carroll Hardy, 33-yard pass from Y.A. Tittle (Soltau kick) SAN FRANCISCO 14-10
2nd - GB - Cone, 29-yard field goal SAN FRANCISCO 14-13
3rd - SF - Hardy, 58-yard pass from Tittle (Soltau kick) SAN FRANCISCO 21-13
4th - GB - Knafelc, 34-yard pass from Rote (Cone kick) SAN FRANCISCO 21-20
4th - GB - Ferguson, 6-yard run (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 27-21
bruises. They will have to recuperate fast, too, because they play the Lions at Detroit Thursday. With Sunday's crowd of 19,099, the Packers drew 153,239 at "home", easily a club record. Three games at County Stadium here attracted 86,258 and three at Green Bay, 66,981.
NOVEMBER 23 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - Who will be more hungry Thanksgiving Day in Detroit, the title craving Packers, or the victory famished Lions? The "wishing bone" should snap in the Lions' favor, say the oddsmakers, who have predicted Detroit to win by three points in this Turkey Day pro football feast. The surprising Packers must win to keep their Western Division title chances alive. However, they have been unable to snatch a game on the road this season, losing 41-10 to the Browns, 14-10 to the Colts and 52-31 to the Bears. Detroit is strictly out of the running (2-7) and could be nothing, but a spoiler from here on in. The Lions can knock the Packers out of contention Thursday and have another crack at the Bears December 4. The Packers started the defending champs on the road to ruin with a 20-17 conquest in the last 24 seconds in the league opener at Green Bay. Detroit dropped the next five straight before beating the Colts and Steelers. Briggs Stadium has not been too popular with the Packers. They have taken a licking the last seven trips, including last year's 28-24 deal. Bobby Layne, the Lion with the buggy-whip arm, has been only the semblance of a champion. The Lions today are second only to the Steelers as pro football's best passing team. Green Bay's success can be measured to a large degree on its ground game. The Packers have gained 1,529 yards running to rank third behind pace-setting Bears and Browns. In total offense, the nod goes to Detroit. The Lions have finally started to roar and now edge the Packers' offense, 2,921 to 2,893. The Packers should be high for this one. Confident after two straight wins, Green Bay will be in the best position in many a moon if it can go out to the west coast with a 6-4 showing. Coach Liz Blackbourn has altered plans, taking the club to San Francisco Saturday for a whole week of drills in California. Last season the Packers drilled in frozen Green Bay until two days before the Frisco 35-0 rout. However, the western invasion will be nothing more than a formality if the Packers don't beat the Lions.
NOVEMBER 23 (Green Bay) - The Green Bay Packers, rolling along in third place in the NFL's Western Division, drew the second largest home attendance in the club's history this year. The Packers drew 153,161 fans to six home games, three here and three at Milwaukee, as compared with their all-time high of 166,400 set in 1947. Three games at Milwaukee with the Baltimore Colts, Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers attracted 86,178 while the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and Chicago Cardinals drew 66,983 at Green Bay, where the seating capacity is much smaller.
NOVEMBER 23 (Detroit) - Bob Mann, a former end for the University of Michigan, the Lions and the Packers, Wednesday filed a $25,000 damage suit in Wayne County Circuit Court against the Green Bay team of the NFL. Mann charged he was released illegally after an injury in an exhibition game against the Eagles on September 4, 1954. He said he was released while injured in violation of NFL bylaws. He said his contract with the Packers called for $7,700 for the season plus a $1,000 bonus if he were among the six top pass receivers.
NOVEMBER 24 (Detroit) - A near capacity crowd of 50,000 in Briggs Stadium and an untold number of television viewers across the country will sit in on the traditional Thanksgiving Day pro football classic between the Packers and Lions. Thursday's game will start at 11 a.m. (Milwaukee time) and will be televised coast to coast on a 160-station network, including WISN-TV. This is the setting for perhaps the most important game of the Packers' surprising season. If the Bays should win they would move within a half game of the first place Bears in the down to the wire Western Division race. The pressure would then be on the Bruins Sunday, who must face an old nemesis, the Cardinals. Green Bay can sit back and await accounts of this one, having a 10-day layoff before playing the 49ers in San Francisco. The Lions, whose colossal collapse has shocked the pro football world, rule a three point favorite, probably because the Packers have not been able to win a game on the road this season. Then, too, Detroit has won four straight Turkey Day contests with Green Bay. Actually, a victory will mean little to the downtrodden Lions in the Western Division race. On the other hand, a defeat will give them the first regular choice in Monday's modified draft in Philadelphia. The Lions escaped serious injury in losing to the Bears last Sunday, 24-14, so will be in good shape. End Dorne Dibble, sidelined for four games with an injury, is due to return Thursday. End Jim Doran, out with a pulled muscle, is questionable. More than the usual bumps and bruises were suffered by the Packers in the 49er contest but there was nothing serious. Thursday's showdown matches Green Bay's fine running game against the passing-crazed Lions. The Packers have a fine double-threat quarterback in Tobin Rote, plus a line-splitting runner in Howie Ferguson, who ranks second in the league in rushing with 718 yards. Detroit still banks heavily on veteran quarterback Bobby Layne, plus a fine rookie in Dave Middleton. Converted from halfback to end, Middleton ranks with the leading receivers with 37 catches for 539 yards.
Green Bay Packers (5-4) 27, San Francisco 49ers (3-6) 21
Sunday November 20th 1955 (at Milwaukee)
NOVEMBER 22 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - The winning frame of mind the Packers have adopted since the Bear rout should certainly make them a hard-to-handle contender down to the wire in the hot Western Division title race. Bouncing off the ropes of disaster with a convincing 31-14 win over the Cardinals and Sunday's 27-21 comeback conquest over the 49ers, Green Bay now goes into the annual Turkey Day clash at Detroit a game behind the pace-setting Bears. Title talk, however, is hush-hush with the Packers strategists now trying to figure what ticks with the Lions. "A win is always good, especially a comeback one like Sunday's. But right now we're thinking only about one thing - Detroit." That was far as Coach Liz Blackbourn cared to discuss his Packers' chances Monday. "We are thinking about this thing, one game at a time." There was no doubt this was the big one for Blackbourn, who can now show real progress since taking command last season. It's pretty much the same old talent at Green Bay, but it's clicking like never before. The key play and turning point of Sunday's win was Tobin Rote's 49 yard scamper to the 49er six after taking a lateral from Breezy Reid, who was a dead duck on the play. "That was a spoiled play which really broke for us," chuckled Liz. "It sure killed them right there." Rote was poison to the 49ers all afternoon, despite a cold first half. Tob completed 14 of 32 passes for 201 yards and ran for 81. Rote may not be the best quarterback in the league, but San Francisco can vouch that he's the most dangerous. Bobby Dillon, perhaps the fastest man on the squad, saves a possible catastrophe by catching up to Dicky Moegle and bouncing him out of bounds on the Packer seven after a 39 yard run. Moegle had burst into the secondary and was alone on the Packer 20. Moegle's a fast kid, but Dillon was faster. The Packers followed Dillon's effort with one of the finest goal line stands this season. Three plunges by Joe Perry and Moegle's wide pitch out attempt moved the ball to the one - no more. If the 49ers had scored on this one they might have had a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Hard telling what would have resulted. Injuries have been relatively few this year for the Packers, an important factor in Green Bay's success. Cornerbacker Billy Bookout was probably the most seriously hurt in Sunday's bruising struggle. "He was really jammed up and will probably see limited action the Lions," reported Blackbourn. "He was really racked at the end - bruised ribs, shoulder and neck." But apparently Bookout is a tough little hombre. He tackled Harry Babcock so viciously that it caused the 49er end to fumble. Val Joe Walker fell on the pigskin and that was the ball game. The Packers resorted to some razzle-dazzle stuff time and again with double reverses and laterals. The first touchdown resulted when Rote hit Billy Howton on the 'Frisco 30, and he promptly lateraled to Joe Johnson who went the distance. "Just heads up football," said Blackbourn, "nothing new." The Packers had the day off Monday while the planning board mapped strategy for the Thanksgiving Day game. "This game with Detroit really is a hard one to get ready for and figure. We'll need all the luck in the world."
NOVEMBER 22 (Milwaukee Journal) - The lateral play provided most of the conversation in the happy, warm atmosphere of the Packers' dressing room after their 27-21 triumph over the San Francisco 49ers. "We'll have to practice it this week," said Tobin Rote, quarterback. He was one who took the totally unrehearsed flip from halfback Breezy Reid and ran 49 yards to San Francisco's six, setting up the winning touchdown. Coach Lisle Blackbourn smiled, "We haven't tried that one before," he said, "and we probably won't try it again." Ray (Scooter) McLean, backfield coach, denied that he was the one who called the play. McLean and Tom Hearden spot plats from high in the stands. "Tobin gets the credit," McLean said, then added wryly, "It was a great call." Rote, who ran much better than he passes, was asked how come. "I had trouble getting loosened up out there today," he said. "I had on a heavy sweat shirt under my jersey (he has been bothered by a cold all fall) and maybe that was part of the reason. If I'd been throwing right we could have had a couple more touchdowns at least. Once Billy (Howton) was clear in the corner. All I had to do was get the ball to him and I didn't." Rote left and McLean said, "What a man he is. Did you see him on that one run on the other side of the field? He could have stepped out of bounds and no one would have touched him. Instead, he lowered his shoulder into those two 49ers and what a collision! Rote jumped right up. If they hurt him at all he wasn't going to let them know that they did." Blackbourn was asked what he thought might have been the turning point. "The lateral has to be one," he said. "Stopping them on the one was another. The defense really did a job there. That kept them from getting too big a jump on us and snapped us out of our lethargy at the same time." The coach also praised Billy Bookout and Veryl Switzer for their effort on the fumble which gave the Packers the ball with less than a half a minute to play. "Boy," he said, "did they go after Babcock. There they all were after the play, laid out this way and that and Val Joe Walker had the ball. We still could have lost until they did that."...'DESERVED TO WIN', SAYS STRADER OF THE 49ERS: Norman (Red) Strader, San Francisco coach, had no alibis after the game. "They (the Packers) deserved to win," he said. "They retained their poise all the way, were resourceful and played good football." Lou Rymkus, Packer line coach, walked over and congratulated guard Jack Spinks personally after Howie Ferguson scored the winning touchdown. "You really cleared the way," Rymkus told the converted fullback from Alcorn A&M. Bobby Dillon, Green Bay's leading interceptor, missed three chances to add to his total of eight. Once he caught the ball but a penalty nullified it. The two other times, he muffed opportunities when he apparently was so engrossed in figuring out where he was going to run that he forgot to catch the ball first. Ferguson's shoulder was so sore after the game that he had trouble putting on his sport coat. No one was seriously injured, but the Packers got more than their usual share of bumps and