(SPOKANE, WA) - Halfback Al Carmichael ran a Giant kickoff 73 yards and Tobin Rote followed with a 23-yard pass for a touchdown to Gary Knafelc in the last 45 seconds Saturday night to give the Green Bay Packers a 31-24 exhibition football win over the New
York Giants. The Packers scored the first time they
got control of the ball, capitalizing on Frank Gifford's
fumble on the opening kickoff. Packer tackle Dave
Hanner recovered Gifford's bobble on the Giants' 23.
After a running play and pass fizzled, Rote hit end
Billy Howton on the Giants' seven, and the fleet-footed
Packer end romped into the end zone untouched.
Cone converted and the Packers led, 7-0, with more
than 13 minutes remaining in the first quarter. The
Packers threatened midway through the first quarter
driving to the Giants' 35. New York held and Cone
tried a 35-yard field goal, but it went wide.
Johnson's fumble, recovered by Tunnell on the Green
Bay 40, set up the first Giants' touchdown. With
Gifford and Heinrich providing the offensive punch, New
York required only six plays to score. Price going over
from the two with two minutes gone in the second
period. Agajanian converted to tie the score.
The Giants gained possession of a short Packer punt, taking over on the Green Bay 43. The stage was then set for Epps' 39-yard touchdown run around left end. Agajanian booted his second extra point to put New York out in front, 14-7. With less than three minutes remaining in the first half, Switzer took the Giants' kickoff in the end zone and romped 66 yards to the Giants' 38. Rote hit Johnson for 10 yards, Ferguson carried to the 25 and Rote followed with a touchdown heave to Howton. Cone's tying conversion came with a minute to play. Brackins took over for Rote as the third quarter began. His passing carried the Packers to the Giants' 14 but a penalty nullified a completion to the five. Carmichael was thrown back to the 18 on a completed pass. Cone then missed a field goal from the 25. Williams later interecepted a Rote pass on Green Bay's 46 and ran it back to the Packers' 15. Heinrich's passes failed and Agajanian kicked a 27-yard field goal to put New York ahead, 17-14. The Packers came right back to tie the score when Cone booted a 17-yard field goal. Rote's 28-yard pass to Howton set up the play. Then midway through the fourth quarter, Carmichael scooted 50 yards after taking a short Rote pass that made the count 24-17. Then Conerly tossed the Giants back into a tie tossing a 9-yard pass to Ken McAfee for a touchdown. Agajanian booted the extra point and the score was tied, 24-24, with two minutes remaining.
NEW YORK  -  0 14  3  7 - 24
GREEN BAY -  7  7  0 17 - 31
GB – Howton, 24-yard pass from Rote (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 7-0
NY – Eddie Price, 2-yard run (Ben Agajanian kick) TIED 7-7
NY – Bobby Epps, 39-yard run (Agajanian kick) NEW YORK 14-7
GB – Howton, 25-yard pass from Rote (Cone kick) TIED 14-14
NY – Agajanian, 27-yard field goal NEW YORK 17-14
GB – Cone, 17-yard field goal TIED 17-17
GB - Carmichael, 50-yard pass from Rote (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 24-17
NY – Ken McAfee, 9-yard pass from Charlie Conerly (Agajanian kick) TIED 24-24
GB – Knafelc, 23-yard from Rote (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 31-24
Four years before he came to Green Bay, Vince Lombardi's first N.F.L. coaching position was with the New York Giants in 1955, where he served as an assistant on a staff that included Tom Landry. The two helped lead the Giants to a championship in 1956.
as the three offensive line positions left vacant by end Max McGee, tackle Art Hunter and guard Al Barry are concerned. But Blackbourn, a realist, says, "They still have a mile to go." Blackbourn liked the work of Jack Spinks at guard against the Giants so much that he kept the converted fullback there for the distance. Spinks is a good blocker and has worked hard to prepare himself for a strange position. Gary Knafelc appears to be a pretty good choice to take the end post opposite the capable Bill Howton. As a reserve behind McGee last year, Knafelc didn't see much action. He caught the game winning touchdown pass in the Giant game. The newly acquired Tom Dahms and the converted defensive end, Gene Knutson, split the tackle duties against the Giants and didn't do badly, according to Blackbourn. Bill Lucky, acquired from the Browns this summer, is expected to help when he recovers from his appendectomy. Defense has presented fewer problems. Doyle Nix, a rookie from Southern Methodist, has shown promise in one of the cornerback spots and Jim Temp, the all-star from Wisconsin, is expected to excel at defensive end. Linebacking chores are shared by veterans Roger Zatkoff and Deral Teteak and newcomers Tom Bettis, the Packers' No. 1 draft choice, and George Timberlake. End John Martinkovic, tackles Jerry Helluin and Dave Hanner and guard Bill Forester form an imposing array with Temp on the defensive line while veterans Val Joe Walker, Bobby Dillon and Clarence Self right now, at least, are tops in the defensive backfield along with Nix. Howton is a fixture at right end on offense and Len Szafaryn at tackle, Buddy Brown at guard and Jim Ringo at center seem steady enough to add to the strength of the offensive line. George Machoukas is Ringo's understudy. Joe Skibinski, who along with Lucky came from the Browns in the trade for Art Hunter, and Hank Bullough, No. 1 draft choice from Purdue, are expected to make strong bids for guard positions. The backfield appears set with six veterans - quarterback Tobin Rote, halfbacks Veryl Switzer, Al Carmichael, Joe Johnson and Breezy Reid and fullback Howie Ferguson. The sensation among the newcomers is Charlie Brackins of Prairie View A&M, a promising quarterback who may one day replace Rote. Fred Cone, who kicks conversions and field goals, faces a battle for the No. 2 fullback slot from Bob Clemens, a Georgia rookie. Blackbourn feels that San Francisco is the most logical contender for Detroit's crown. He thinks the division will be tough, but he won't say where the Packers will finish.
AUGUST 19 (Stevens Point) - A trio of All-Stars which performed with ease against pro football's very best at Soldier Field last Friday will return as Green Bay Packers Saturday night, hoping to continue their winning frame of mind against the Cleveland Browns in an Akron exhibition. Defensive end Jim Temp, linebacker Tom Bettis and guard Hank Bullough - recognized Brown tormentors - will bolster Coach Liz Blackbourn's club, inspired after beating the New York Giants, 31-24. And if that winning frame of mind is contagious, the proud pro champs could be deflated again. It's been said the Browns are champions because their defense is the best in the land - best up front and best in the secondary. It was evident last Friday that a group of collegians could have controlled the ball without even resorting to a forward pass. The All-Stars were able to do with ease what it was agreed couldn't be done - run the ball against a pro line. It remains to be seen what ease the Packers have against this defense - or whether a couple of swift, 230-pound defensive ends like Len Ford and Carlton Massey put pressure on Tobin Rote and whether a platoon of defensive specialists get tough. Impressed by the fight and fire of the All-Stars, Coach Paul Brown believes that a transfusion of some of that collegiate desire may be what his Browns need. So against the Packers in the Akron Rubber Bowl, Brown will be paying special attention to some of his rookies. "Now we have some problems that we didn't think existed," Brown commented. "The All-Stars threw our own defense right back at us and we couldn't handle it." The tipoff on the Browns' defense came when the All-Stars took a simple handoff and went five to 10 yards. The Browns' defensive tackle were simply taken apart. At their Stevens Point training site, the Packers were preparing to shoot the works against the Browns, working extensively on all phases. Blackbourn was highly impressed with the punting of Dick Deschaine, Menominee, MI rookie who is bidding for a berth strictly on his booting ability. Deschaine amazed onlookers by uncorking about 20 kicks for a healthy 55-yard average. Kickoff returns - an ever improving Packer trademark - reached boasting heights against the Giants. Al Carmichael and Veryl Switzer had New York in a dither, Carmichael's 73-yard return in the last minute setting up the winning touchdown. Carmichael averaged 25.3 yards on four tries and Switzer had 63 yards on one. At the end of Thursday's drills, Blackbourn asked waivers on veteran tackle Tom Johnson. The former Michigan gridder had returned to the Packers after a two-year Army hitch.
AUGUST 19 (Akron) - The Green Bay Packers have never beaten the Cleveland Browns - in an exhibition game or league contest. But Coach Liz Blackbourn's current squad is conceded its best chance Saturday night when it tangles with the pro champs. Cleveland, without T-master Otto Graham, was humiliated by the College All-Stard, 30-27, last Friday. A crowd of 25,000 in the Rubber Bowl will see if the Graham-less Browns can snap back against a pro club with George Ratterman the triggerman. With peerless Otto at the controls, the Browns won four straight exhibition games against the Packers and routed Green Bay, 27-0, in the only league game played between the two clubs. The Packers have drawn the Browns as a league opponent this fall. Green Bay, bolstered by the return of three All-Stars, is a seven point underdog even though beating the New York Giants, 31-24, in its first exhibition start. End Jim Temp, linebacker Tom Bettis and guard Hank Bullough played key roles in a defensive unit which squelched much of the Cleveland offense in the All-Star game. Blackbourn has pegged his defense better than last year. The Browns eked out a 14-13 exhibition victory over the Packers. The game will mark the first appearance of veteran halfback Breezy Reid, who was held out of the Giants game because of a bruised back. Reid, quarterback Tobin Rote, halfback Al Carmichael and fullback Howie Ferguson will be the starting Packer backfield.
EXHIBITION - Green Bay Packers (1-0) 31, New York Giants 24
Saturday August 13th 1955 (at Spokane, WA)
AUGUST 15 (Stevens Point) - An indication that the Packers are an improved lot over last season's start was Coach Liz Blackbourn's reaction Sunday after his club arrived at its Stevens Point training site after beating the Giants, 31-24, at Spokane, WA Saturday night. "We knew what we were doing against the Giants," observed Blackbourn. "We actually displayed mid-season form with conditioning the payoff." It was quite a bit different than last year's 38-27 loss to New York. Blackbourn made the following observations:
* Halfback Al Carmichael looked like the back we need. He scooted 30 yards after taking a short pass for a touchdown. Carmichael also set up the winning touchdown in the last 45 seconds by running back a Giant kickoff 73 yards.
* Quarterback Tobin Rote had a pretty good night, gaining confidence as our offensive line gave him good protection. Rote had only one pass intercepted, that being when he was hit.
* Rookie Charlie Brackins is going to see a lot of action. He showed that he can move an offense. And he did all the kickoffs, one being 20 yards over the goal posts.
* The defense played exceptionally well. Backs like Ed Price, Kyle Rote, Bobby Epps and Frank Gifford were not pounding us like they did last year. And the pass defense was reasonably good, although Chuck Conerly is one of the best in the business.
While the Giants doubled up on Billy Howton, Rote found Gary Knafelc an ace in the hole. It was Rote's 23-yard touchdown pass to Knafelc which won for Green Bay. "That winning touchdown was a honey," said Liz. "Knafelc faked the Giants' defense beautifully and scored untouched." Doyle Nix, defensive cornerbacker from SMU, played the whole game, the only rookie going the distance. Halfback Joe Johnson was a fixture at left half, as Breezy Reid was sidelined with a hip injury. Blackbourn was anxious to discuss his Saturday night engagement with the Browns at Akron. "We watched the All-Stars beat the Browns on TV," related Blackbourn, "and I'm sure Paul Brown will have the needle jammed in them eight inches come Saturday. I thought our draftees (end Jim Temp, linebacker Tom Bettis and guard Hank Bullough) looked good in the All-Star game. We certainly will welcome them back." The trio will rejoin the Packers Monday. The squad now numbers 53 but will be cut again before the Cleveland game.
AUGUST 15 (Stevens Point - Milwaukee Journal) - Green Bay's 31-24 victory over the New York Giants in Spokane, WA Saturday night must have come as a very satisfying performance to Coach Lisle Blackbourn for he went into the game not with victory foremost in mind but the chance to see as many of his rookies as he could. "We'll be far enough away out there," he quipped, "that if we should look bad not all of the truth may find its way home." Blackbourn, with 54 boys in camp, must still cut 19 to reach the league limit of 35 and he wants to get on with it. Defensive halfbacks Jim Psaltis and Jack Patterson and defensive end Jack Crouch were cut Monday morning. Others were to be cut later in the day. A lot of work remains to be done once he settles on the make-up of his squad. Veterans did the actual scoring damage Saturday night, but rookies, especially in the secondary and the line, got their toasting...SCORES CAME ON PASSES: Every one of Green Bay's touchdowns was scored on a pass with veteran Tobin Rote on the trigger. Billy Howton scored two and Gary Knafelc and Al Carmichael each one. Knafelc's was scored in the last minute of play after Carmichael, with a great clutch effort, had returned a kickoff 73 yards into scoring position. To the touchdowns, Fred Cone added a 17-yard field goal - his one successful attempt in three. The club returned to its Stevens Point base by chartered plane Sunday afternoon. The next exhibition start will be made against the Cleveland Browns at Akron, OH Saturday night...FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT: Rote's passing performance was undoubtedly one of the most satisfying features of the game, rookies or no, and suggested that in his second season under Blackbourn he might have one of his finest years. The Rice Rifle was a slightly confused young man when Blackbourn took over a year ago. Almost 10 percent of his passes had been intercepted in 1953 and only 38 percent had been completed. The threat of interceptions had made him almost afraid to throw the ball short or in the flat. To restore confidence was one of Blackbourns' first jobs and it wasn't easily done. Rote persisted with the long ball. But he gradually came around and in the Ram game here finally blossomed again into the Rote who in 1952 finished second only to Los Angeles' Norm Van Brocklin in the individual passing standings. He had less than 5 percent of his passes intercepted for the year and completed 47 percent. His attempts, 382, set a league record and his completions, 180, a season mark. The four touchdowns Saturday night certainly augured well for what the season might hold...MORE MARKS LIKELY: Rote, who closed his ears to all Canadian blandishments last winter, already holds six Packer passing records and will almost surely add a seventh shortly. He has completed more passes in his career (523), completed more passes in a season (180), gained more yards passing in his career (7,355), gained more yards passing in a single game (335), and attempted more passes in a season (382) than any other Packer back before him. Cecil Isbell held the old career record in completions (419), the old season record in completions (146), the old career record in attempts (382), the old season record in yardage (2,021) and the old single game record in yards (333), and Arnie Herber the old career record in yards (6,741). Now in Rote's grasp as another season begins to push baseball aside also lies Isbell's career record of 59 touchdown passes. Rote already has 53. He needs only seven more. Quite a guy - and never with a winning club. He is the lone survivor of the 30 boys drafted in 1950.
AUGUST 15 (Stevens Point) - Coach Lisle Blackbourn lopped seven more players off his squad before sending the Green Bay Packers through two snappy workouts here Monday in preparation for Saturday's game with the Cleveland Browns in Akron. Waivers were asked on guard Charles Bryant, Nebraska; back Jim Psaltis, Southern California; back Clyde Sander, Bethune-Cookman; guard Jan Smid, Illinois; back Jack Patterson, Houston; back Harry Welch, Southern California, and end Jack Crouch, Texas Christian. The Packers also added Dick Deschaine, an offensive end and punter from Menominee, MI. He has no college experience but played semi-pro ball for the M&M Hornets. No serious injuries were suffered in the 31-24 victory over the Giants, Guards Joe Skibinski and George Timberlake, who missed the game, rejoined the squad and are ready for full workouts.
AUGUST 16 (Stevens Point) - The Packers sharpened their defense Tuesday as Coach Liz Blackbourn ordered live tackling in preparation for Saturday night's exhibition against the Cleveland Browns in Akron. Blackbourn cited the work of Jack Spinks, former fullback who has been converted to guard, and Gene Knutson. A defensive end who has successfully made the switch to offensive tackle. The Packers will leave their training site by bus to Milwaukee Friday morning and then board two chartered plans for Cleveland from where they will motor to Akron.
AUGUST 17 (Des Moines) - Gene Felker, former Wisconsin end, was named assistant football coach at Drake University.
AUGUST 18 (Stevens Point) - Coach Lisle Blackbourn hopes to have his Green Bay Packers in top shape for their exhibition game this weekend with the NFL champion Cleveland Browns. Blackbourn has been drilling his squad hard on Browns' plays this week in preparation for their meeting at Akron, Ohio, Saturday night. The Packers seek their second straight victory after turning back the New York Giants last weekend. Wednesday the squad's offensive unit was put through a long drill against the Browns' defensive plays, while the defensive Packers faced Cleveland's offensive plays.
AUGUST 18 (Stevens Point) - Coach Lisle Blackbourn said Wednesday he plans to use practically the same starting lineup in the Green Bay Packers' exhibition with the Cleveland Browns in Akron, Ohio, Saturday night as he fielded last week in the Packers' victory over the New York Giants at Spokane, Wash. One difference will be at defensive end where Jim Temp, formerly of Wisconsin, will start in place of Nate Borden. Temp was on the College All-Star squad in Chicago last week as the collegians whipped the Browns. Blackbourn said linebacker Tom Bettis and guard Hank Bullough, also on the All-Star squad, aren't likely to start against the Browns but will see action as they looked promising in the workouts here. The Packers spent much time Wednesday on pass protection. In final drills today the team will brush up on special assignments. A 46 man squad will leave here by bus for Milwaukee Friday morning. After a flight to Cleveland the Packers will go to Akron by bus. Two Packers will remain here. They are tackle Bill Lucky, who underwent a recent appendectomy, and guard Joe Skibinski, who has ankle trouble. Both were obtained from the Browns in a trade.
AUGUST 19 (Stevens Point) - You don't jump to conclusions in the NFL, especially in the power-packed Western Division. That's why Coach Lisle Blackbourn is withholding judgment on his Green Bay Packers until they get a few more exhibition games under their bests, especially tonight's tilt with the world champion Cleveland Browns at Akron. The Packers looked good last week as they opened their exhibition schedule with a 31-24 victory over the New York Giants at Spokane, but Blackbourn isn't going out on the limb. He does feel, however, that definite improvement is being made toward remedying the key trouble spots as they appeared at the beginning of training a month ago. This means things are looking up as far