(GREEN BAY) - Take away the word exhibition and the matter
of a little less than one year and one could say he saw double
here Saturday night. Last September, the Pittsburgh Steelers
came to this football hotbed and upset the Green Bay
Packers, 21-20, in a league game. Saturday night the
Steelers returned for an exhibition game as underdogs, this
time nipping the Packers, 16-14, in the last 65 seconds.
Green Bay can be thankful for two things - just, that it was an
exhibition game and second, that the Packers don't have to
lock horns again with the Steelers this season. Art Michalik,
obtained from the 49ers, was the margin of difference, booting
a cinch 14-yard field goal when the Packers stubbornly kept
the pesky Pittsburghers from scoring a touchdown. That was
the only difference as the Steelers and Packers each scored
two touchdowns in the first three quarters before 16,912 at
City Stadium. And even when Michalik came in to attempt the
payoff, there was speculation he could do it.
He had earlier missed a 30-yarder, by no means a pro toughie,
and had a crucial point after touchdown blocked in the third
quarter which gave the Packers a 14-13 lead - a lead which
loomed big as the fourth quarter skipped away. But
Pittsburgh deserved its first exhibition victory this season.
Redemption had to be made after the Steelers' lopsided loss
to the 49ers, 60-14. This was as tough as any league affair
could be. Both squads were out to get each other, the
Packers trying to influence fans in their 37th season in the
NFL. Like a year ago, it was the pin-point passing of Jimmy
Finks which pulled victory away from the Packers. Finks
completed 18 of 33 attempts for 239 yards.
But more important, the veteran Pittsburgh passer sparked a
last ditch march which started from his own 30 with three
minutes to play. A 36 yarder to Ed Bernet, a 20 yard toss to
Elbie Nickel and another 10-yarder to Bernet did the damage.
A touchdown wasn't to be had simply because the Packers
clamped down once the Steelers were dangerously close.
While the Packers couldn't come up with their second
exhibition win, they produced individual stars. Howie Ferguson
was up to his old tricks, rambling for 74 yards in 13 attempts,
and Dick Deschaine, the boy who asked for a tryout after
learning his trade on the sandlots, averaged 49.8 yards a punt
- he booted eight times. Tobin Rote, completing only seven of
24 passes for 81 yards, certainly wasn't having one of best
games. It definitely showed when the Packers were in scoring
Green Bay broke the scoring tee with a first quarter
touchdown. Val Joe Walker intercepted a Fink pass on the
Packer 12 and returned it 80 yards to the Steeler 19 to set up
this touchdown. Al Carmichael's five-yard gallop around a
vacant right end was the clincher. Fred Cone's extra point was good and that
was the scoring in the first quarter. With less than 25 seconds left in the
second quarter, Pittsburgh came back, Finks hitting Ray Mathews alone in the
end zone. Michalik's conversion knotted the score as the half ended.
The Packers snapped right back in the third quarter, rolling 83 yards in 14
plays. Ferguson's 35-yard run to Pittsburgh's 35 set the TD play in motion.
After Ferguson and Reid softened the middle of the Steeler line, Rote did the
scoring honors on a two-yard plunge. Cone booted and the Packers led, 14-7.
Veryl Switzer's fumble recovered by Dick Doyle changed the complexion of the
game in the third quarter. On the very next play, Finks tossed a 41-yard TD
pass to Mathews. The Packers were offside as the Steelers tried their
conversion. But Doyle Nix blocked Michalik's second try and it looked like the
Packers could hang on to that slim 14-13 advantage. Finks saw to it that they
couldn't, and that was the ball game.
PITTSBURGH -  0  7  6  3 - 16
GREEN BAY  -  7  0  7  0 - 14
GB – Carmichael, 5-yard run (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 7-0
PIT – Ray Mathews, 38-yard pass from Jim Finks (Art Michalik kick) TIED 7-7
GB – Rote, 2-yard run (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 14-7
PIT – Mathews, 41-yard pass from Finks (Kick failed) GREEN BAY 14-13
PIT – Michalik, 14-yard field goal PITTSBURGH 16-14
after Saturday's bringing the squad down to 42. Latest to go were Sisto Averno, offensive guard who had been picked up as a free agent from the Baltimore Colts; Allen Muirhead, fleet Mississippi back who had trials both as a defensive man and an offensive back, also a free agent; Howard McCants, giant Negro end, a fugitive from Canadian football, and Win Tillery, an offensive end picked up a free agent from the Philadelphia Eagles.
AUGUST 31 (Stevens Point) - The Green Bay Packers ended their 44-day encampment at this training site Wednesday with a rousing drill, hoping to create a winning frame of mind against the Philadelphia Eagles at Charleston, WV Saturday night. The Packers will fly out Thursday. After the game the squad flies to Greensboro, NC for a week long drill before playing the Washington Redskins at Winston-Salem, NC. Green Bay ends its exhibition schedule against the Chicago Cardinals in the annual Shrine game at Marquette Stadium, Milwaukee. While the Packers have beaten the New York Giants and bowed to the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia has won three straight exhibitions. For the first time this season, the Packers will be at full strength. Tackle Bill Lucky, sidelined because of an appendectomy, should be ready for his season's debut. The first rookie to win a starting berth with the Packers this season is Doyle Nix. Operating on the left side of the secondary, Nix had starred in all three starts. Coach Liz Blackbourn rates Jack Spinks, the converted fullback, as one of the fastest offensive guards in the league. A 240 pounder, Spinks was with the Steelers and Cardinals as a fullback before the Packers picked him up in the offseason. A shortage of offensive guards and the physical qualifications of Spinks prompted the Packer coaching staff to experiment with the former Alcorn A&M giant. The experiment proved so successful that Spinks is now vested as a starter at left guard.
EXHIBITION - Pittsburgh Steelers 16, Green Bay Packers (1-2) 14
Saturday August 27th 1955 (at Green Bay)
AUGUST 28 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - Coach Liz Blackbourn emphatically believes his Packers can better last season's 4-8 league mark IF quarterback Tobin Rote snaps out his doldrums and IF another offensive end can be found. Take Saturday night's 16-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers for example. Rote turned in one of his most dismal performances, completing seven of 24 passes for 81 yards. Ends Billy Howton and Gary Knafelc combined their catching know-how for three receptions, certainly a modest pro football figure. "Rote was like a pitcher who couldn't get the ball over the plate," was Blackbourn's picture of his six-year veteran Sunday. "I can't figure it out, he's been like that all week. Generally, we look better as a club this season. The big question is if we can get our quarterback going. And you know we're wanting at left end." Charles Brackins, the Negro quarterback from Prairie View A&M, might be given a starting chance if Rote fails to click. "We'll have to do that," said Liz, "and he could turn out to be a good one." Brackins looked good the short time he was in against the Steelers, completing three of five aerials for 35 yards. And his kickoffs were more than adequate, going deep in the end zone where no returns materialized. "If Rote had been on, I'm sure we would have scored enough to win easily," added Blackbourn. "We certainly had enough chances." Blackbourn said the turning point of the game was the holding penalty which cost the Packers the ball on Pittsburgh's 44 near the end of the fourth quarter. The penalty moved Green Bay back to its 28 and a punt was necessary. The Steelers swiftly moved down for their winning field goal. Blackbourn pointed out that Finks didn't "pass us to death" like he did beating the Packers, 21-20, in a league affair last year. "Our defense did a hell of a job, except for three costly lapses. Bobby Dillon fell asleep on the first Pittsburgh scored. Ray Mathews was all alone in the end zone when Finks hit him for a 38-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Veryl Switzer slipped, letting Mathews get into the clear for his 41-yard touchdown catch from Finks in the third quarter. And the last one which set up the winning points resulted when Pitt's Ed Bernet had a step on Billy Bookout, moving the ball 36 yards." Blackbourn singled out cornerbacker Doyle Niz, end John Martinkovic and safetyman Val Joe Walker for their alertness on defense. Dick Deschaine, the lad from the sandlots of Menominee, MI, thrilled the 16,912 fans with his remarkable ability, averaging 49.8 a boot. "He certainly can kick, can't he," quipped Liz. "But, I'm not sure if he'll stick. He's not much use for us outside of his punting ability. Pittsburgh uses Pat Brady almost exclusively as a punter but he can go in as a quarterback if the occasion arises." Howie Ferguson was the game's best runner, picking up 74 yards in 13 attempts. But he got little assistance. Breezy Reid carried 31 yards on seven tries, Rote 19 on six attempts, Al Carmichael 13 on five and Switzer 12 on four. Blackbourn hustled his Packers back to their Stevens Point hideaway Sunday afternoon, hoping to inject a winning frame of mind before the club heads east for an engagement with the sizzling Philadelphia Eagles next Saturday at Charleston, WV
AUGUST 28 (Stevens Point) - Coach Liz Blackbourn called a squad meeting Sunday and after the session cut four players from the squad. Waivers were asked on guard Sisto Averno, tackle Howard McCants, end Winifred Tillery and safetyman Allen Muirhead. The squad now numbers 41.
AUGUST 29 (Milwaukee Journal) - Lisle Blackbourn was a sick guy Saturday night after what happened to his Green Bay Packers in their home debut against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the more he thought about it over the weekend, the worse he got. A field goal by Art Michalik with a minute and five seconds left beat his young hopefuls, 16-14. The licking in itself was bad enough for Blackbourn really wanted this game in the first appearance before the folks at home who pay the freight. The way Pittsburgh slapped it down was just a little agonizing. And the football some of his men played after two fairly satisfying performances in earlier exhibitions (New York and Cleveland) was worst of all. Most disturbing was the performance of Tobin Rote, who on one of the coldest nights of his pro career completed only seven out of 24 passes. It figures out to 29 percent and whenever has a pro football club won a game with a passing percentage like that? "I thought our defense was pretty good, except for a few bad lapses, and our rushing pretty good, too," Blackbourn said Monday, "but our passing was just plain awful. Rote didn't always get the protection he needed, and that will need some jacking up, too, but worse than that he just had a real bad night." What to do about it? Rote is too good a football player to have very many nights like Saturday's. Something like that can happen to the best of the them. For the moment, though, Blackbourn indicated he would give more attention to Charlie Brackins, the Prairie View A&M rookie - probably even start him and go along with him most of the way in the next game with Philadelphia at Charleston, WV, next Saturday night. "He hasn't looked bad so far," Blackbourn said. Against the Steelers Brackins played only briefly completing three of five pases. Blackbourn also indicated Monday morning that the temp of work would be increased this week. "We weren't completely satisfied with our physical condition Saturday night either - petered out a little in the fourth quarter, it seemed," he said. "Maybe we eased off a little too much in that hot weather."
AUGUST 30 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - Coach George Halas of the Chicago Bears very seldom passes out superlatives about an opponent which has beaten his club. But when the Bruins lost, 27-20, to the Philadelphia Eagles Saturday night, Papa George was extremely generous in calling the winners "one of the greatest clubs in the league this season." The "hot weather" league record proves the Eagles are the hottest club at the moment, winning three straight exhibitions. The Eagles are "winging" and they're saying "this is the year" in Philadelphia. The Packers get the next crack at the Eagles. And if Green Bay is thinking about any redemption after its lackluster play against Pittsburgh, the time is Saturday night in Charleston, WV. Truly, it's the Packer's toughest exhibition this season. They said the Bears weren't as far advanced as the Eagles, and the Bears were the early season choice. The Eagles' win over the Bears brought out that Adrian Burk had advanced beyond that area of merely fine quarterbacking and tracer-bullet passing into that lonely realm of the truly great. It wasn't simply that he hit Pete Pihos with profitable passes. Pihos had made a quarterback look good by catching improbable and sometimes rather impossible passes. No longer is the Eagles' aerial attack a Burk-to-Pihos monopoly. Adrian was spreading the Bear defense with telling tosses to every eligible receiver. All told, Burk completed 15 of 22 passes for 218 yards. Eagle Coach Jim Trimble, of course, was very pleased with the victory. "I wasn't too worried with the Bears began to catch up at the end," he said. "I had 80 percent of the rookies in there at the time." Halas came back with "we're improving. The Eagles had a far better ream than the Cardinals (who beat the Bears, 21-6), and we played a much better game against the Eagles than the Cardinals." Coach Liz Blackbourn, aware of what's in store for his club, stepped up the tempo at the Stevens Point camp. "I guess we've been a little lax up here during the hot weather," he said. But maybe the Packers will get hot against the Eagles. They've certainly had success in the past, beating them in 12 league games and losing one. Blackbourn singled out Doyle Nix, defensive end John Martinkovic and defensive halfback Val Joe Walker as outstanding contributors in the generally good defensive performance. Four more boys were cut 
SEPTEMBER 1 (Milwaukee Journal) - "What have been the principal developments in camp?" The question was an obvious one as the Green Bay Packers left their Stevens Point base Thursday morning after 44 days there and headed east on which they will meet the Philadelphia Eagles at Charleston, WV Saturday night and the Washington Redskins at Winston-Salem, NC September 10. Lisle Blackbourn pondered the question for a moment. "Developments?" he repeated slowly. "I sometimes wonder." But he forced a laugh as he said it, and his thoughts were still clearly of the fourth quarter collapse against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Green Bay last Saturday night which was certainly no laughing matter. The Packers lost, 16-14. He got serious quickly, though. "We feel that we're at least 25 percent stronger than last year and perhaps 50 percent ahead of last year's development," he said. "We've shifted material around in a way that we feel panned out well - Jack Spinks to guard from fullback, Doyle Nix from end to defensive halfback, Gene Knutson from end to tackle, George Timberlake from linebacker to offensive center. We feel we've found some new boys who are going to help up. That Nix is going to be a dandy. So is Billy Bookout (defensive halfback). Spinks, if he ever learns to be a little fierce, could become one of the better guards in the league. He does a fine job protection on passes right now. Brackins at quarterback has a fine potential. Temp at end is big and strong, although he's just beginning to come around now as we want him to play the position. Bettis (No. 1 draft choice and linebacker) has a tendency to roam all over the field in his eagerness, but he is coming. Bullough is one of the best blocking guards we have, although he's a little light. Clemens could stick as a fullback or linebacker and Jennings as an end. We fell some of our veterans have improved a lot - John Martinkovic certainly at end, Veryl Switzer at halfback, Jim Ringo at center, Joe Johnson at halfback. Johnson is one of our most improved boys. A couple of the deals we made we feel will help us ultimately. Bill Lucky (tackle) scrimmaged today (Wednesday) for the first time since his appendectomy and showed he has speed. Dahms (tackle) has looked fair. Joe Skibinski (guard) is probably the best of the new men, although he has an ankle injury which is healing very slowly." So far, so good. And have there been any disappointments? Blackbourn didn't hesitate here. "Rote hasn't played the ball we expected of him at all," he said. "A big disappointment so far (Rote completed 7 out of 24 passes for a 29 percent efficiency mark against the Steelers last Saturday). Today in scrimmage he looked a lot better, though. He went to see an osteopath Monday about his shoulder which had been bothering him a bit and apparently he got help. We certainly hope so. Forester hasn't been the middle guard we thought he would be, either. He's been overweight. Hanner and Helluin must still improve on the rush they put on the passer. All in all, though, I think we're at least 25 percent better off than last year - on defense most of all. But Rote must start coming through on offense. He's the mainspring." The Packers had one of their heaviest drills of the 44 days in camp before they called it quits Wednesday.
SEPTEMBER 2 (Charleston, WV) - The Philadelphia Eagles have the dubious honor of being beaten more often by the Green Bay Packers than any other NFL team. However, Saturday night, the "winging" Eagles are 6 1/2 point favorites to turn the tide here. Green Bay's mastery over Philadelphia shows 12 wins in 13 league games. Philadelphia enters the kickoff with three consecutive exhibition wins. With its serial artistry being painted by quarterback Adrian Burk, the Eagles have soared over the Chicago Cardinals, 21-6; the Detroit Lions, 14-8, and the Chicago Bears, 27-20. The Packers jumped out to a 31-24 start against the New York Giants and then bowed to the Cleveland Browns, 13-7, and Pittsburgh Steelers, 16-14. Last season the Packers romped over the Eagles, 37-14, in a league game. Coach Liz Blackbourn brought his 41 man squad here Friday and immediately directed a workout. The Packer mentor indicated that veteran quarterback Tobin Rote would start but his understudy, Charles Brackins, would see plenty of action. The Packers will be without the services of middle guard Bill Forester, who left the squad Friday morning to be with his 11-year old son, hospitalized with polio.