NEWS AND NOTES
AWAKENING FOLLOWS RAMS' WAKE AT HALF
NOVEMBER 18 (Milwaukee Journal) - The Los Angeles
Rams held a halftime wake over themselves at County
Stadium Sunday and in the second half woke up. "It
was like a wake in our dressing room at the half," Sid
Gillman of the Rams said. "Fight talk? Of course not.
We just quietly talked things over, that's all. We'd had
nothing the first half." The nothing of the first half
became something indeed after the intermission. They
woke up. Behind at the half, 24-3, they snapped back
with 28 points, giving up only three and won 31-27. "It
was ridiculous," Coach Lisle Blackbourn of the six
times beaten Packers said, referring to his collapsed
defensive. "But that's the way our season has been -
ever since that Detroit game." Turning point of the
game, Blackbourn said, occurred on the Rams' first
touchdown of the second half. Bob Boyd took Norm
Van Brocklin's pass for the score with hardly more than
two minutes gone. "There were three men around Boyd,
Blackbourn said, "and they let him catch the ball.
Ridiculous." Physically, the Packers experienced their
worst afternoon of the season. Eight were hurt. Four
suffered arm injuries, three leg injuries and Ron Kramer
hurt his back. Jim Ringo, Bart Starr, Paul Hornung and
Hank Gremminger had ailing arms although only Starr
was removed from the action. Sam Palumbo, Norm
Masters and Jerry Helluin went out with injured legs.
The Rams lost defensive back Bill Sherman midway through the first quarter when he tackled Kramer on a pass play. Sherman will probably be out for the season with a bad elbow. Starr left the game in the first half after being hit on the muscle of his pitching arm. "I don't even remember when it happened," Starr said. "The arm got sore and I couldn't cock it to throw." "If we made a mistake," Blackbourn said, "it was in not throwing the ball sooner in the second half. The defense let us down though. The defense wasn't too good in the first half either." Happiest Ram of them all was Elroy Hirsch, the 12 year veteran who played high school football at Wausau and college football at Wisconsin and Michigan. The annual "Return of the Native" was a victorious one for the first time since 1953. "This was a good one to win," Hirsch said. "It'll be pleasant for a change not to go home with my tail between my legs. This game will be a tonic for Dad." Hirsch's father, Otto, was released from a Wausau hospital Saturday and watched the game on television. He had suffered a heart attack and was under an oxygen tent earlier in the week. "This Green Bay team ought to be up for a long time," Hirsch said. "They're young, fast, have a lot of spirit, and, boy, do they hit!" Gillman, happy at the turn of events which gave him his first victory in Milwaukee, said that he had "no explanation" for the turnabout. It just happened. The Rams' chances of winning the Western Division title? "It's going to be a helluva race," he said. "Our key game is with the Browns this week." The Rams, just a game behind the Detroit Lions, San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Colts, will stay in Milwaukee the rest of the week, going to Cleveland Saturday for their meeting with the Browns. They will work out at the St. Francis Seminary where the brother of the Rams' Art Hauser is a priest. Gillman refused to cite any of his own players or any of the Packers for praise or censure. He refused, that is, until Billy Howton's name popped into the conversation. "That Howton's out of this world," he said. "What a receiver." The only argument between coach and official was precipitated in the second quarter but was not as bad as it seemed. Head linesman Lon Evans threw down his handkerchief, apparently indicating an offside. The hankie went down before the ball was snapped and about half the players merely went through the motions. Tom Wilson of the Rams hit left tackle for four yards and could just as easily gone for 84 yards with one or two more blocks. Gillman began fussing and fuming on the sidelines and Evans had to order him back to the bench. No penalty was called on the play, despite the dropped handkerchief. Gillman's argument was not about the offside call that wasn't an offside call. "A Packer kicked Lamar Lundy right in the face in front of the official," Gillman said. "And he refused to call it. That's what I was mad about." Suppose, however, Wilson had gone all the way for a touchdown? Well, just suppose. Commissioner Bert Bell's desk would be flooded with protests.
WE RELAXED TOO MUCH IN 2ND HALF: LIZ
NOVEMBER 18 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - "We tried not to relax," Liz Blackbourn was saying after Sunday's 31-27 Packer loss, "we tried so hard not to relax in the second half." As if history repeated, the Packers couldn't stand prosperity after holding a convincing lead. In 1952, Green Bay lost to the Rams here, 30-28, after leading, 28-6, at the end of the third quarter. "We played terrific ball in the first half," Blackbourn continued. "But even then there were some indications the defense wasn't too good in spots. They played the heck out of us the rest of the way. They really put the pressure on us." Blackbourn believed a shoulder injury to defensive halfback Hank Gremminger weakened the Packers' pass defense in the second half. Gremminger played, despite the painful injury, the remainder of the game. "That long pass to (Elroy) Hirsch in the third quarter got them started," Liz said. "I guess that's what started that debacle." Over in the Rams' quarters, Sid Gillman was happy for the first time after a game in Milwaukee. It was his first win in four visits to Milwaukee Stadium. "We were nothing in the first half," Gillman said. "In the second half things began to go for us. It was just the reverse for Green Bay." Gillman then added that it's a heck of a game every time these foes meet in Milwaukee. When Hirsch was asked if this is his last season, the 12-year veteran said, "I'll see how I feel at the end of the season. Right now I've never felt better." As far as Gillman is concerned, "Hirsch is good for a half a dozen more years with the Rams." Regarding the play in which Bill Forester intercepted Norm Van Brocklin's long pass to Hirsch (the one which resulted in a Packer touchdown), Hirsch said, "(Carlton) Massey hit me the hardest I've been hit since playing football. It was a good clean block." Said Massey: "Maybe so, but it almost killed me. I think I got hurt worse than Hirsch." Sitting on the Green Bay bench and wrapped up in Packer robes were Eddie Mathews and Henry Aaron. The way injuries were cropping up Blackbourn glanced more than once to the Braves' stars.
GREEN BAY BEATS MILWAUKEE AT GATE
NOVEMBER 18 (Green Bay) - Green Bay outdrew Milwaukee by a 3-2 margin for the Packers' home football season. Three games in Green Bay's new city stadium drew 96,322 and three games in Milwaukee's County Stadium, 64,781, giving the Packers 161,103 for the season.
'OPEN DATE' DRILLS HELD BY STEELERS
NOVEMBER 19 (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) - The Pittsburgh Steelers held an unusual Monday practice yesterday as they looked forward to Sunday's game here with the Green Bay Packers. Wash day is generally a holiday for Rooney U., but they were idle last weekend. Coach Buddy Parker still has hopes of overtaking the Cleveland Browns and New York Giants in the Eastern Conference race but must whip the Packers to stick in contention. The Gold and Black gained a 10-10 tie with the Wisconsin entry in Minneapolis in their last exhibition game. Coach Lisle Blackbourn's proteges caught up in the last minute and a half on a pass from quarterback Bart Starr to halfback Joe Johnson, after the Steelers had been in control most of the game. In addition to Starr the invaders will present the veteran Vito (Babe) Parilli in the quarterback position. The Rochester, Pa., native usually manages to do well against the Steelers.
DON'T BLAME PARILLI - PACKER DEFENSE FOLDS
NOVEMBER 19 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - The Packers lost their No. 1 quarterback, Bart Starr, on the last play of the first quarter Sunday. He suffered an injury to his right elbow. He had no feeling in his fingers. He couldn't grip a football. Had it been his left elbow, he could have stayed in the game. Starr should be in shape for Sunday's game at Pittsburgh. During his brief action, the Alabama Flipper completed six out of seven passes for 62 yards. He triggered the Packers to a 10-0 advantage over the Rams. When something happens to Starr, the only alternative is to send in Babe Parilli - the Kentucky Babe who has passed the Packers to their only two wins this season. Parilli took advantage and moved the Bays goalward for their second touchdown in five plays. His 47 yard pass play to Billy Howton, which set up the TD on the Ram seven, was the game's longest aerial. The Packers didn't lose to the Rams Sunday because Parilli had taken over the quarterback chores. They lost because they couldn't stop Norm Van Brocklin's passing and Jon Arnett's running in the second half. Coach Liz Blackbourn preferred to be tight-lipped about the outcome Monday. "With our record people are tired of reading Blackbourn's excuses," said the disappointed but frank coach. "I'd rather not comment on turning points of the game or what have you," he said. "We're experiencing one of those seasons where nothing's going right." But why the complexion change in the second half? How could the Packers blow a 24-3 halftime lead? "I'll tell you one thing," Blackbourn shot back. "That first touchdown certainly gave them a lift - the catch by Hirsch (a 44-yard gain to the Packer 21) wins the big one." Did the Rams change their offense or defense drastically in the second half? "They shot their outside linebackers in a little more," Blackbourn answered. "That is the only change I observed. I haven't seen the films, though." Just how good are the Rams? "At this time I would say the Lions, Colts and Rams are the best teams in our division," was Blackbourn's comments. "I think Detroit will win it. We took a lot out of the Bears last week. The Rams have three tremendous left halfs," Blackbourn continued. "They run at you, pass at you - wow." But getting back to Sunday's game itself Blackbourn refused to pin the blame on anyone. If you're interested in game control, the Packers ran up a 24-3 lead by using 36 plays to the Rams' 35. In the second half in which Los Angeles scored 28 points to Green Bay's three, the Rams had the ball 47 times and the Packers 32. The Packers experienced a real beating physically. Eight were hurt, which took a lot of sting out of the club as the Rams closed in. Ron Kramer hurt his back, Starr, Paul Hornung, Jim Ringo and Hank Gremminger sustained arm injuries and Norm Masters, Sam Palumbo and Jerry Helluin went out with leg ailments. Being so effective on the ground in the first half (picking up 117 yards), Parilli directed the ground troops on five plays in the third quarter and the Bays gained no yardage. His only pass of the period was incomplete to Howton. When the Rams finally closed the gap, the Babe passed in desperation, frantically trying to unleash a bomb. But he lost 30 yards when he couldn't get rid of the ball. And when you hesitate in this league, you're dead. Meanwhile, Van Brocklin continued to pass the Packers dizzy. His payoff throw to Lamar Lundy, which scored the winning points, was too easy. Lundy took the ball all alone on the east sidelines. Apparently, the Packers were more concerned covering Hirsch, who had caught six for 106 yards, and Bob Boyd, who had snared four for 87, because Lundry was ignored. Dick Deschaine, who has had a miserable time lately with two punts being blocked, outdid the master. His 41 yard average on six punts bettered the 39 yard average on four by the league's second ranked punter, Van Brocklin. "Deschaine wasn't going back any further," Blackbourn pointed out. "He just took quicker steps."
STEELERS 3 1/2-POINT FAVORITE
NOVEMBER 20 (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) - The Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) have been tabbed as 3 1/2 point favorites over the Green Bay Packers (2-6) for their NFL clash in Forbes Field on Sunday. Coach Buddy Parker's local combine has a chance to equal their entire local win total of 1956. Last season the Gold and Black finished with a record of five wins and seven setbacks. For the first time since the initial game with the Cleveland Browns here on Saturday night, October 5, the Steelers will have their complete roster of 35 players in uniform. Bill Michael, promising rookie right guard from Ohio State, suffered a broken knee against the Brownies and has been idle ever since. He returned to light practice last week and is gradually reaching playing condition. Coach Parker may withhold him at the start but he'll be ready to spell off John Nisby, another recruit from the College of Pacific, who shifted from defensive right end to plug he guard gap. Bart Starr, first string quarterback of the Packers, suffered an elbow injury in the game against the Los Angeles Rams last Sunday in Milwaukee and is doubtful for the local contest. If he doesn't recover Vito (Babe) Parilli, Kentucky U. product from Rochester, Pa., will get the field general role. The Steelers held their second drill of the week under trying conditions at Forbes Field. Resoddding of the infield complicated the practice routine of Rooney U.
GREEN BAY INVENTING NEW WAY TO LOSE PRO FOOTBALL GAMES
NOVEMBER 20 (Milwaukee Journal) - When new ways to lose are found, the Green Bay Packers probably will find them. Close doesn't count in the NFL, so the Packers are buried in last place of the Western Division with two victories and six defeats. In his four seasons at Green Bay, Coach Lisle Blackbourn has met repeated frustration and disappointment. His teams have been highly respectable, but not winners. They come close, but they can't win. The breaks go against them, it would seem, week after week. It has been said, "It's better to be lucky than good." It also follows, however, that if you're good, you'll be lucky, too. You'll make a break for yourself here and there. Green Bay hasn't had that luck. From here it seems more a matter of personnel than anything else. The Packers have good players. The worst football player in the league is a good one. But the Packers do not have many great ones - not as many as the top teams. They have Bill Howton and Bob Dillon. The rest are mostly average. They have several promising youngsters, but none of them is great yet and some of the others will never be great. The club lacks something. Spirit is not enough. When the breaks go against them, they are unable to shake them off. If they were genuine contenders, the Packers would get their share of breaks and victories. This year's Green Bay team has an odd record. They beat the Chicago Bears in the opener when Babe Parilli got hot and they beat the Colts at Baltimore, no easy job, when they came alive from a 14-0 deficit going into the last quarter, went ahead with only two minutes to play, fell behind with a minute to play, then won on Parilli's 75 yard pitch to Howton with 29 seconds left. In losing, the Packers have almost exhausted the book. They have lost them early - Detroit piled up a 14-0 lead before the Packers tried their second play from scrimmage. First the Lions dusted off the fake punt to get position for a score, then they intercepted Parilli's first pass for the second touchdown. The Packers led the Colts at the half of their first meeting, 10-7, but fell completely apart in the second half. San Francisco needed help to win, 24-14. Green Bay gave it with failure on the 15, failure on first down on the one and an impromptu lateral and pass which backfired. The worst has been in the last three defeats. Against the champion Giants, first a blocked punt, then an interference call, then another first down failure from the one. Against the Bears at Chicago, a blocked punt, then an official's call which cost a touchdown (movies and still pictures made it resemble a touchdown, anyway) and failure to make a yard on fourth down gave the Bears the ball for their winning drive. And last Sunday the Packers rolled to a 24-3 lead at halftime and permitted the Los Angeles Rams to get off the hook, 31-27. Bart Starr, improving young quarterback, left early with a sore arm, and Parilli couldn't do the job. Nor could the defense. So Green Bay has lost them early (Detroit was ahead, 24-0, before the Packers crossed the Lion 40) and it has lost them late (61 seconds to go against the Bears and 80 seconds left against the Rams). There can't be too many ways left to lose.