NEWS AND NOTES
NOVEMBER 5 (Green Bay) - The Packers announced Monday that defensive halfback Billy Bookout, injured in Sunday's game with Cleveland, has been placed on the injured reserve list for 30 days and that tackle Don King, who was obtained last summer in a trade with Cleveland, had been placed on waivers.
PRO RACES NOW 2 TEAM AFFAIRS
NOVEMBER 6 (Chicago Tribune) - The men who own and coach the teams apparently are no more reliable as prognosticators of National league football than your favorite barber or brush salesman. For weeks owners and coaches, led by Commissioner Bert Bell, have been proclaiming loudly that the championship race was a 12 team fight, with any one of the 12 teams capable of rising to the top. It sounded fine for the first three weeks when the Chicago Cardinals and the Detroit Lions popped up from among last year's also-rans to lead their respective divisions, and Baltimore knocked off the Chicago Bears, a preseason favorite. But as of today, the race in each division is strictly a two team affair with the Cardinals and New York tied for the Eastern division lead and the Bears relentlessly pursuing the undefeated Lions in the Western. Forecasts that an eight and four record would qualify for the playoff appear less accurate with the passing of each week. Detroit skimmed by luckily on Sunday (17 to 13) against a San Francisco team that has been a definite disappointment, but the Lions still loom as the most difficult team on which to score. San Francisco did make it against them on a long march in the final two minutes only to have the touchdown called back because of an offside penalty. The Bears unquestionably are the most dangerous offensive club in the league. After the lapse in Baltimore in the opening game of the year, Paddy Driscoll's aggregation has been able to get points whenever needed. Bear and Lion chances apparently depend almost entirely on what these two do against each other in two games next month. The Bears go to Detroit on December 2 and the Lions close the season in Wrigley field on December 16. The Lions' other opponents include Washington, Baltimore, Green Bay and Pittsburgh, all of which they figure to beat if quarterback Bobby Layne retains his present buoyant state of health. Before the Lion series, the Bears must meet Green Bay in Wrigley field on Sunday, Los Angeles the following week and then New York. Between the two Lion games, they face the Cardinals in Wrigley field on December 9, a much more difficult schedule, obviously, than the Lions'. Los Angeles gave the Bears some trouble Sunday, principally because Driscoll elected to keep back some of his offense, apparently not wishing to show the Rams all of his attack in view of the return engagement here a week from Sunday. This put the burden on the defense, which came through magnificently with five interceptions.
WE'RE IN POOR SHAPE FOR BEARS, SAYS LIZ
NOVEMBER 7 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - After a week long bout with the flu, this observer took a look at his Sunday heroes and found they had fared no better. Getting back to reality Tuesday, we asked Coach Liz Blackbourn what happened to his once ambitious Packers, the club which soundly believed at the start of the season it was a title contender. "We're in a heck of a shape," was the immediate reaction by the Packer coach, who pointed to an injury list "a mile long". Blackbourn then looked ahead to things to come and shuddered. A Wrigley Field date with the "Monsters" got this response: "We'll be coming in now on a wing and a prayer," Blackbourn chuckled. "I hope it snows," added the coach, who remembered what the Cardinals did to the Bears last season in a Chicago blizzard. The '55 Cardinals, no resemblance to the high-flying birds of this season, walloped the Bruins, 53-14, in the Comiskey Park "skating rink" and cost old Halas U. title money. Now Blackbourn doesn't believe snow is the only equalizer. Any team in pro football can be had, he believes, although in this case all odds favor the Chicago North Siders. "There are only four other clubs in both leagues with a record better than ours," Blackbourn said. He did not include Baltimore and Washington, which were idle last week and have 2-3 marks compared with the Bays' 2-4. Two team races? "At the moment, yes," replied Liz, "but this thing is only at the halfway point." The Packers strategist might have some brand new faces in the lineup Sunday, but he wouldn't disclose their identity Tuesday. "Fifteen of them are banged up," Liz said. "We might add some new personnel later this week, it all depends how fast the injured can get in shape." The Packers are two men below the 33-player limit with Billy Bookout on the injured reserve list and Don King released. By contract, Blackbourn looked at the Bears, saying, "they'll be in terrific shape. They'll have everyone ready - boys like Bobby Watkins and (John) Helwig, who have been banged up the last couple of weeks. But I sure hope not now," emphasized Blackbourn again as he left his office to greet his cripples on the practice field.
OFFICIALS' WHISTLES HERE SUNDAY DIDN'T HELP PACKERS ANY
NOVEMBER 6 (Milwaukee Journal) - The way the officials did and did not blow their whistles caused a little confusion in Cleveland's 24-7 triumph over the Green Bay Packers at the Stadium Sunday. Judgment and the NFL's new rule on grounding the ball carrier led to the calls. Unfortunately, each decision went against Green Bay or so it seemed. The league this season adopted on an experimental basis this compromise between the college and old pro codes: The ball shall be dead whenever the ball carrier falls or goes to his knees after contact with an opponent. A man may get up and go in the former fashion only when he slips in the open. "We definitely are going to keep this rule," de Benneville (Bert) Bell, commissioner, said last week. "Even those who fought so hard against it now agree that there is no question that it is the right move." Three plays affected by the ruling stand out especially in Sunday's game here. The plays and the calls follow:
(1) On a Green Bay fumble early in the first period, the ball appeared to be recovered by Cleveland in a pile-up. Suddenly, after a long scramble, the ball squirted free again and Chuck Noll, Browns' linebacker, picked it up and ran for a gift touchdown with hardly any opposition. John Glascott's crew did not blow the whistle. Both the Browns and Packers appeared surprised that the ball was still in play. The officials decided it was never in anyone's possession, Brown or Packer, and was still a free ball. "That touchdown beat us," Blackbourn said Monday. "It took a lot out of us and let them play conservative ball the rest of the way."
(2) Fred Cone took a pass in the flat from Tobin Rote. A Cleveland defender wrestled with him briefly, then Cone broke away and appeared headed for a touchdown. The whistle sounded and the ball was declared dead on the Packer 35 for a four yard gain, instead of possibly 69 and a touchdown. The official who stopped the play decided that Cone's progress had been stopped. Cone later denied this and had the support of movies shown Sunday night on WTMJ-TV. In the film, Cone took the pass, twisted and shook himself loose of the defender and went down the field without hardly breaking stride.
(3) Jim Capuzzi intercepted Babe Parilli's long pass on Green Bay's 29 late in the third period. He fell as he caught the ball. The intended receiver, the only Brown near him, was more than five yards away. Capuzzi had two blockers. He got up to run the ball back and the official not only blew the ball dead, but practically tackled Capuzzi himself. The rule again permits a man to get up and go if he slips in the open. What, though, is the open? Bell explained the quick whistle ruling this way: "It has reduced shoulder injuries, presented a cleaner, faster game without pile-ups, eliminated rancor and bitterness that erupt in flare-ups and virtually took disqualifications out of the game." The officials here Sunday, in fact, apparently found the game to be especially clean. They called only 15 yards worth of penalties, 10 against Green Bay and five against Cleveland. Paul Brown, Cleveland coach who complained last week that something had to be done about the officiating, had no complaints in that score this time. No, sir, why should he? The Packers didn't profit from a single one of the calls.
BROWN BRAIN, PLUS PASSES, SPARKS BEARS
NOVEMBER 7 (Chicago Tribune) - Ed Brown of the Chicago Bears is widely known as one of football's finest passers. He is, in fact, the NFL's current leader in this department, with a 10.31 average. But if the throwing of the former San Francisco university quarterback has been a big factor in the Bears' success this season, his ball handling and play calling have played at least as important a role. A great defensive performance, in which the Bears intercepted five passes, keyed their 35 to 24 victory over the Los Angeles Rams last Sunday. But also deserving of praise was the Bear offense, directed most of the time by Brown. With Brown and George Blanda calling the signals, the Bears came from behind four times. The last and decisive rally, in the third quarter, saw Brown outwit the Rams with shrewd selectivity of plays. The Bears, trailing by three points, has driven to the Ram 9 yard line, where Perry Jeter was smothered in an attempt to run wide around end. On the next play, Brown faked an outside handoff to Rick Casares. The Rams, expecting a plunge by the big Bear fullback, pulled in to meet him. In particular, Les Richter, Ram defensive tackle, left his position unguarded and went after Casares. With the Rams' seven man line split perfectly, Brown then handed inside to Jeter, who sped through the gaping hole into the end zone for the touchdown which put the Bears ahead for keeps, 28 to 24. The play was identical to that on which John Hoffman scored from 35 yards out in the second period except that Jeter ran to the right, Hoffman to the left. Brown occupies a position that is becoming progressively more unique in pro football - he calls almost all of the plays. "We're very satisfied with Ed's judgment," says Coach Paddy Driscoll. "Only occasionally do we feel it necessary to send in signals from the bench." Brown will have to be at his best next Sunday, when the Bears meet the Green Bay Packers in Wrigley field. It's another "must" game in a season of crises for the title conscious Bears.