(CHICAGO) - Gary Knafelc waited until 75 seconds left in the game to catch his first pass Sunday, but the completion from Tobin Rote gained 38 yards to the Cardinal one where the Packers' uncanny quarterback scored his third touchdown to upend the title-bidding Chicagoans, 24-21. "It wasn't supposed to be," chanted the 22,620 partisans at Comiskey Park. However, Rote, addicted to the spectacular in many a go-for-broke situation this season, was right on the beam when the chips were down and proved the difference again. Actually, the Packers defeated the Cardinals at their own game, outrushing them, 194 yards to 80. Fred Cone, the 30-year old veteran who seriously thought of quitting after last season, was king of the ground gainers as he picked up 92 yards in 12 carries. The Cards' Ollie Matson, a marked target, managed 70 yards in 16 attempts.
Cone not only played like an all-pro fullback, but kicks a 34-yard field goal in the third period which became the winning margin. He also caught two passes for 22 yards. It was another remarkable comeback for the never-say-die Packers who trailed, 21-17, after the Cardinals' problem quarterback, Lamar McHan, came off the bench in the fourth quarter to direct a 60-yard scoring march. There were only three minutes remaining when the now confident Cards gave the Bays a last chance with the ensuing kickoff.
Jack Losch returned Pat Summerall' booming kick to the Green Bay 33 and Rote sent extra chills up and down the Big Red followers as he directed the Packers goalward in just six plays. The big one to Knafelc was a beauty as Gary grabbed the perfect strike all alone on the Cardinal eight and wormed his way to the one. Rote, who picked up 63 yards in 15 running plays, easily dove over as he did on two other occasions. As usual, Coach Liz Blackbourn's gang couldn't buy a break in the first half and found themselves on the short end of a 14-3 count. If it wasn't interceptions (which killed two golden scoring chances), it was a fumble, a penalty after a big gain or dropped passes which plagued the giant killers for 30 minutes.
Al Carmichael fumbled a punt midway through the first half and John Dittrich, a Badger product, recovered on the Packers' 32 to set up the Chicagoans' first score in six plays. Jim Root, who completed six passes for 64 yards, faked a handoff to Matson and tossed a soft pass to Max Boydston, who went over unmolested from the 16. Summerall's conversion was perfect and the Cardinals chalked up an easy 7-0 lead. Rote hurriedly brought the Bays back 51 yards to the Cardinal 25, but Tob's scoring play backfired as Lindon Crow intercepted a pass on the 10. The next bit of excitement came in the second quarter when Rote again engineered the ball goalward. Three running plays picked up 35 yards and two passes moved the ball to the Chicago five. It was that man Crow again who spoiled all the work which went into this 52 yard drive as he grabbed Rote's third down pass away from Joe Johnson on the one.
Chicago couldn't get out of the hole and the next time Green Bay got the ball it notched up its only score of
the half, Cone's 34-yard field goal after Rote failed to hit Billy Howton on a third down play from the Chicago 28. The Cardinals got a big boost after and an exchange of punts and went for their second touchdown from the Packer 38. It took them eight plays to post the score, Matson romping over from the eight. Summerall tacked on the conversion and the Cards were ahead, 14-3. Rote's last ditch drive before the half ended reached the 50 but then his 45 yard heave to Howton was intercepted by Dick (Night Train) Lane on the five and returned 21 yards before the gun sounded.
The third quarter was all Green Bay's. Eight-five yards the Bays moved for their first touchdown after the kickoff. Nine running plays with Howie Ferguson and Cone carrying the mail and three passes set up Rote's two-yard TD sneak. Cone kicked the extra point with seven minutes of the period played. Bill Forester's interception of Root's third down pass turned the tide in the Packers' favor. From the Cardinal 39 Green Bay had a touchdown in seven plays when Rote sneaked over the one. Cone's second conversion put the Bays ahead, 17-14, with a minute and a half remaining in the quarter. McHan came off the bench with a surprising chorus of cheers, but it wasn't until there were seven minutes left in the game that he was applauded for his efforts.
Dick Dechaine, who had one of his poorer punting days, booted a 35-yarder which was grounded on the Cardinal 40. From here McHan's crew got a break when a holding penalty on third down gave them a first down on their own 30 after three pass plays went haywire. McHan then began hitting Matson and Don Stonesifer with ease. Dave Mann grabbed one for a 17-yard gain to the Packer 15 and Matson picked off one for 11 yards which moved the ball to the four. Matson leaped over from the one to move to Cards out in front again after Summerall's third kick, 21-17. Rote caught fire after the kickoff and the rest is history. However, the last heart-stopping action was McHan's 55-yard pass intended for Lane on the Packer eight with seconds remaining. It dribbled off Lane's hands into the outstretched mitts of Ken Gorgal and the Packers had no trouble preserving their conquest over another title contender.
The big Packer comeback in this ball game was due to Rote's passing again. Some of his tosses were 20 yards over the intended receiver's head - but then many big ones were right on the button. The Cardinals lived up to expectations as the league's best pass interception team as Tobin lost three, two of them in the first half which squelched possible scores. But like many others the Cards couldn't do much about it when Rote pitched the ball smack into the receivers' mitts. That's a hard pass to defense against, hey, Cards?
GREEN BAY -   0   3  14   7 - 24
CHICAGO   -   7   7   0   7 - 21
1st - CHI - Max Boydston, 16-yard pass from Jim Root (Pat Summerall kick) CARDINALS 7-0
2nd - GB - Fred Cone, 34-yard field goal CARDINALS 7-3
2nd - CHI - Ollie Matson, 8-yard rush (Summerall kick) CARDINALS 14-3
3rd - GB - Tobin Rote, 2-yard rush (Cone kick) CARDINALS 14-10
3rd - GB - Rote, 1-yard rush (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 17-14
4th - CHI - Matson, 1-yard rush (Summerall kick) CARDINALS 21-17
4th - GB - Rote, 2-yard rush (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 24-21
DECEMBER 4 (Milwaukee Journal) - The Packers, with a supposedly weak running game, gained 194 yards rushing against the Chicago Cardinals at Comiskey Park Sunday.So how come? Coach Lisle Blackbourn of the Packers tried to answer the question of Green Bay's suddenly potent ground forces as he waited Sunday for a train which carried the Packers to San Francisco Sunday night. "They weren't ready for us to run," Blackbourn said, fairly chortling, "and they couldn't stop us." What about Tobin Rote? Why is he running more than in earlier games? "I wouldn't know for sure," Blackbourn said. "We haven't told him to run more. It's up to him. I know his knee bothered him before. He felt gimpy. Now he's feeling good. He was great today." And Fred Cone and his large gains on quick openers up the middle? "They had it open for him. Sure our guards are blocking better. You've got to have the hole. Fred was really getting off the mark in a hurry." The Packer coach talked for awhile about the game itself. "I thought we were the better team all the way," he said, "but I was afraid we had let them get too far ahead at the half (14-3). We tried to pass when we got in close in the first half when we should have run. In the second half we got our offense balanced - plenty of running and enough passing to keep them honest. Then we moved - and scored - the way we should." Cone's case is an odd one. Here is a man, now 30, who appeared to be washed up as a football player two years ago. He stayed with the Packers on his place kicking ability only - and the way he can kick field goals and extra points, that was enough. Last winter he decided to give up pro football altogether. He took an assistant coach's job at a prep school in Mobile, Ala. The good looking man from Pineapple, Ala., was all done with playing football, he said. Blackbourn and the Packers finally prevailed on him to come back. He got the kind of deal he wanted, a year round job, working as an assistant publicity man in the off season. Then as this season progressed, it was suddenly noticeable that Fred Cone had come back to play football. On his kickoffs, he was making many of the tackles himself - hard, bruising tackles. Howie Ferguson suffered an ankle injury and Cone took his place. At first his start was too slow. He was caught on runs before he got started against Cleveland, but when Rote passed to him and he had room to get started, he began running over the other side's defensive backs. Sunday he really got rolling. He gained 92 yards - more than Matson, Olsxewski, Childress and the rest of the Cardinals' fine backs put together could make. Chicago gained only 80 yards all told on the ground. Several things helped Cone. First was his own determination - in his fast start - his shedding off of tacklers and his fight for the extra yard or yards. Rote's own versatility made the Cardinal defense guess. With five capable receivers to throw to, with Cone or a mended Ferguson to hand off to, with his own number to call on a draw, a rollout or a sneak, Rote probably had at his disposal as varied an attack as he has had all year. And he called his plays well, especially in the second half. Blackbourn said that the blocking up front had improved, although he would not single out any lineman "until I see the pictures." Jim Ringo at center, of course, has been doing a fine job all season. At guard Joe Skibinski has recovered from all of his injuries, especially a painful shoulder, and has teamed with rookie Forrest Gregg (Southern Methodist) in actually moving some of the opposition out of the way. Len Szafaryn, a converted tackle, also has come along to help there, too. John Sandusky, obtained in a trade with Cleveland, and Bob Skoronski, rookie from Indiana, have been adequate at the offensive tackles. Sunday they were more than adequate. Of Skoronski (245 pounds) and Gregg (235), Blackbourn has often said: "There are the kind of rookies with which to build a championship club. They have size, are learning fast, and have class." Unfortunately, both will probably be in the service before next season rolls around.
DECEMBER 5 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - The Packers Wednesday were ranked as pro football's best passing team. With Tobin Rote on the beam again last Sunday against the Cardinals, Green Bay upped its total passing yardage to 2,023 yards, supplanting Los Angeles which dropped to second with 1,982. Rote, who has directed two great comebacks to give the Packers a two game winning streak, ranks only seventh among the league's passers. However, the veteran of seven campaigns has completed more passes (125) for more yardage (1,882) and more touchdowns (16) than any other flipper. The NFL ranks its passers according to the average gain per pass. Eddie Brown of the Bears lead with 10.65 yards per pass. Rote has 7.18. Billy Howton, who has gained more yards (1,049) catching passes than any other receiver, trails Billy Wilson of the 49ers in the pass receiving race. The league ranks its end according to the number of passes caught and not total yardage. Wilson has caught 47 and Howton 44. Howton leads in touchdown catches with 11. Green Bay's Dick Deschaine who had his poorest punting average (37 yards) against the Cardinals dropped to third over the weekend. He was second to leader Norm Van Brocklin of the Rams last week but was passed by Washington's Sam Baker. Deschaine, who is carried by the Packers for his punting ability alone, is averaging 42.5 yards a punt compared to Van Brocklin's 42.7. The Bears, although cooled off by the Lions, are still the best point producers, chalking up 315 points in 10 games. The Packers are fifth best with 223 points. Ollie Matson of the Cardinals is making a determined last ditch effort to win the ground gaining honors. Matson gained only 70 yards against the Packers last Sunday to increase his seasonal ground gaining total to 818 yards for a 5.1 average. He is one yard behind Rick Casares of the Bears. The Packers are presently stowed away in Boyes Spring, Calif., some 40 miles out of San Francisco in preparation for Saturday's game against the 49ers. Seeking revenge for a 17-16 defeat inflicted by the Golden Gaters in Green Bay, the Packers will be seeking their third straight win. Both clubs have played their best games in the last two outings. The Packers pulled the rug from under the title bidding Lions and Cardinals. And the 49ers gained a tie with the Eagles and upset the Colts. It will be a battle for possession of fourth place. The Packers have won four and lost six, and the 49ers have won three, lost six and tied one.
DECEMBER 5 (New York) - Paul Hornung, Notre Dame's backfield jack of all trades, Tuesday was awarded the Heisman Trophy as the outstanding college football player of 1956. Hornung was the bonus choice of the Green Bay Packers in the recent NFL draft. The award was established in 1935 in honor of John Heisman, veteran coach. Hornung got a total of 1,006 points in balloting conducted among 1,318 electors around the nation. Only 33 points separated the first three choices, making it the closest finish in years. Backfield star Johnny Majors of Tennessee finished second with 994 points and Tommy McDonald, speedy Oklahoma back, third with 973. Hornung joins such other Notre Dame luminaries as Angelo Bertelli (1943), Johnny Lujack (1947), Leon Hart (1949) and Johnny Lattner (1953) as former Heisman winners. Howard (Hopalong) Cassady, Ohio State halfback, received the award last season. Hornung, a 6 foot 2 inch, 205 pound triple threat performer, was handicapped part of the season by injured fingers and thumbs. Despite the troubles, Hornung stood out both offensively and defensively on a losing team. Hornung led Notre Dame in playing time, rushing, passing, scoring, passes broken up and kickoffs and punts returned. All told, 12 players were listed in the poll. Oklahoma center Jerry Tubbs ranked behind the first three with 724 votes. Others received votes were Jimmy Brown, Syracuse, 561; Ron Kramer, Michigan (another Packer draft choice), 518; John Brodie, Stanford, 281; Jim Parker, Ohio State, 248; Kenny Ploen, Iowa, 150; Jon Arnett, Southern California, 128; Joe Walton, Pittsburgh, 97, and Jim Swink, Texas Christian, 84.
DECEMBER 5 (Milwaukee Journal) - Football statistics don't tell everything. In the game at Comiskey Park Sunday, the Packers three times declined five yard penalties because the Cardinals had failed to gain - twice on incomplete passes and once on a running play. So the Cardinals were right where they would have been anyway. Green Bay meanwhile was penalized once for offensive holding (15 yards) and once for defensive holding (5 yards). Besides the loss of 20 yards that way, the Packers lost a 16 yard pass gain and the Cardinals got out of a 10 yard loss to their passer. The Packers, then lost 46 yards on two plays; the Cardinals, nothing on three. Still, Green Bay won, 24-21...For a change last Sunday, the Packers controlled the football more than their opponents. Green Bay ran 68 plays from scrimmage, exclusive of punts; the Cardinals, only 58. The difference was in the Packers' re-discovered running strength. Each side passes 28 times and completed 13 of them...BITTERSWEET: Joel Wells, Clemson halfback whom the Packers drafted on the second round at Philadelphia last week, helped remove some of the bitterness from one of the South's bitterest football rivalries (Clemson vs South Carolina) when he married Jackie Furr, South Carolina cheerleader...Wells, a heavy duty player who powered Clemson into the Orange Bowl as Atlantic Coast Conference representative, was reluctant to turn out of for football because his brother Jim had been a high school and Clemson star before him and Joel was afraid they would expect too much of him...Carl Vereen, Georgia Tech tackle from Miami, Fla., the Packers' fourth round choice, said he had been contacted by Vancouver of the Canadian league, too. "I don't know about this cold weather," the 6-foot, 6 1/2 inch, 234 pounder said, "but I guess I'd better start adapting myself to it."...Wally Weber, Michigan assistant coach, says of end Ron Kramer, the Packers' first round draft choice: "He's a traffic director out there. He acts like a stopper in the pipe, causing ball carriers to flow to other tacklers. He plays defense in a manner to disturb unborn future generations."...BIG BUILDUP: When the Packers and the Cardinals got ready to find out which team would get the bonus choice, they (1) flipped a coin to see who would call the flip of the coin; (2) flipped the coin to see who would draw first; (3) drew from a hat with two pieces of paper in it labeled "one" and "two", and (4) the team that got "one" drew first of a hat which had in it two more pieces of paper labeled "bonus" and "nothing". The big buildup was worth it to Packer Coach Lisle Blackbourn who drew "bonus" and picked Notre Dame quarterback Paul Hornung, who would have been the Cardinals' first choice, too. And that of every other team at the draft meeting if they would have a chance at him.
DECEMBER 7 (Milwaukee Journal) - Lisle Blackbourn's Green Bay Packers, fresh from successive triumphs over the contending Detroit Lions and Chicago Cardinals, will go for revenge and their third straight victory when they meet the San Francisco 49ers in Kezar Stadium in San Francisco Saturday. The 49ers rule as slight favorite, even though Green Bay stands a half game ahead of them in the Western Division. The Packers have won four games and lost six; the 49ers have won three games, lost six and tied one. Frank Albert's men are favored for three reasons: (1) they beat the Packers in their first meeting at Green Bay three weeks ago, 17-16; (2) they are playing at home where they are especially hard to beat, and (3) they have the league's best record for the last three weeks. Oddly, San Francisco has not lost its last three starts, a statement that no other pro football team can make, even though the 49ers have scored only four points more than their opponents in this span. They beat the Packers by one point, tied Philadelphia (10-10), and last Sunday cooled off the Baltimore Colts at Baltimore (20-17). Winning at Baltimore was more than either the Packers or the Chicago Bears could do this season or last. Two rookie quarterbacks started in the first meeting between the Packers and 49ers - Earl Morrall of Michigan state and Bart Starr of Alabama. This time, the veteran passers, Tobin Rote of the Packers and Y.A. Tittle of the 49ers, will be in there from the opening kickoff. Rote and Tittle have sparked their teams' late season splurges. Ace pass catchers Billy Howton of Green Bay and Bill Wilson of San Francisco will also duel. Wilson leads the league with 47 catches, but Howton is ahead in yards gained with 1,049 (to Wilson's 765) on 44 catches and in touchdowns with 11. Rote leads in touchdown passes with 16, although he got none last Sunday at Chicago, and leads in attempts, completions and yards gained. Neither teams's defense has been much, although each has done well the last three weeks. Green Bay will throw a revived running attack revolving around Rote, Fred Cone and Howie Ferguson against San Francisco's fine runners, Hugh McElhenny, Joe Perry and John Henry Johnson. The Packers have worked out all week at the Sonoma Mission Inn, Boyes Springs, Calif.
Green Bay Packers (4-6) 24, Chicago Cardinals (6-4) 21
Sunday December 2nd 1956 (at Chicago)