(MILWAUKEE) - Vince Lombardi's green, thin but determined Packers battled George Halas' veteran Bears down to the wire Saturday night only to have victory snatched away in the last minute of play, 19-16, at the Stadium. The Bears had to come from behind with 16 points in the fourth quarter, the payoff being a 37 yard pass play from Zeke Bratkowski to Rick Casares with 41 seconds left. It was a terrific performance by Lombardi's Packers, a team which has had to learn from scratch in just three weeks. The 28,286 faithful fans who braved a cloudburst moments before the kickoff got their money's worth and then some in this 10th annual Midwest Shrine football game.
The Packers grabbed a 7-3 halftime lead and stretched it to 13-3 in the third quarter before the Bears tied it up midway through the fourth period. When Paul Hornung booted a 45 yard field goal with two minutes remaining, the crowd went crazy in premature celebration of what appeared to be a 16-13 Packer victory. But the Bears turned the cheers to groans. Playing conditions were miserable from the start as the torrential rain not only kept the crowd under 30,000, but made the infield practically impossible to run through. The Shriners just can't get any cooperation from the weatherman in this classic.
The Packers, who for the past decade has lacked a running attack, outgained the heralded Bears on the ground, 190 yards to 130. Fullback Jim Taylor was the workhorse, picking up 54 yards in 10 carries. In the air, the Bruins had the nod with Bratkowski completing 10 of 12 passes in the second half for 107 yards - and, of course, the game winning strike to Casares. Bart Starr, the cool Alabama flipper, pitched two touchdown strikes - one to Hornung early in the second quarter and the other to Gary Knafelc midway through the third period.
Hornung missed two field goal attempts, one was blocked and the other from 45 yards away missed by inches. His second point after touchdown try hit the upright. The Bears' lone score in the first half was John Aveni's 13 yard field goal in the second quarter. Aveni, the rookie from Indiana who is expected to fill the shoes of the retired George Blanda, booted a 22 yarder in the fourth period which tied the score with 8 minutes and 39 seconds to play. Casares scored both touchdowns for the Bears. His first one came on a one yard buck early in the fourth period and the other on the Bratkowski pass. Aveni tacked on one extra point, his last one was wide.
Actually, the Packers had the Bears on the run as the fourth quarter started. Leading 13-3, it looked like they would score their third touchdown when Tim Brown, the flashy halfback from Ball State, sprinted 46 yards to the Bear five. A 15 yard holding penalty and Jack Johnson's interception of Bart Starr's pass proved to be the turning point. It keyed the Bears as they moved 66 yards and scored a field goal to tie the score, 13-13. After the kickoff sailed into the end zone, Lamar McHan fired a 33 yard pass to Max McGee. Now on the Chicago 47, Taylor and Brown led the charge to the Bear 38. But the Bears red-dogged McHan on the next three passes. Horning was called in and split the uprights from 45 yards away. It looked like a safe margin, 16-13, with 2:02 left. But anything can happen in pro football and it did. The Bears showed their initial offensive push when they moved to the Packer 27 before stalling in the first quarter. Aveni's 35 yard field goal on fourth down sailed wide to the right. With Starr at the controls, the Packers marched from their own 20 to the Bear 38 before bogging down. Hornung tried a 45 yard field goal, but it just missed. The Packers capitalized on a big break for their first touchdown. Jesse Whittenton, a Bear castoff, snared Ed Brown's pass on the Chicago 34 and returned it to the 21. On third down Starr hit Hornung, who was galloping right down the middle, for a 17 yard touchdown play only five seconds into the second quarter. Hornung converted to give the Packers a 7-0 lead.
The Bears bounced right back. Galimore returned the kickoff 32 yards and Brown started hitting Harlon Hill and Jim Dooley. They got dangerously close, but the Packer defense rose to the occasion, stopping the Bears on the 20. Aveni's field goal try from the 27 was partially blocked. Johnny Symank grabbed the ball on the two and returned to the 35 where he fumbled and Aveni pounced on it. Once again in Packer territory, the Bears moved to the Packer six. But they couldn't punch over for a touchdown and had to settle for Aveni's 13 yard field goal. Taylor returned the kickoff 31 yards to the Bear 46. Green Bay moved to the 20, but had to settle for a field goal try on fourth down. Hornung's attempt from the 27 was blocked by Erich Barnes. The Packers took command again in the third period when they moved 61 yards in 11 plays for their second touchdown. The payoff was Starr's perfect pass to a kneeling Knafelc in the end zone. Doug Atkins and Barnes were wrapped around Knafelc, but the Packer veteran grabbed the ball and there was nothing his pesty pals could do about it. Hornung converted to give the Packers a 13-3 lead before the Bears came to life. The Packers can be proud of their performance. They played for keeps til the bitter end. They're on their way with Lombardi.
CHICAGO   -  0  3  0 16 - 19
GREEN BAY -  0  7  6  3 - 16
GB - Hornung, 17-yard pass from Starr (Hornung kick) GREEN BAY 7-0
CHI – John Aveni, 15-yard field goal GREEN BAY 7-3
GB – Knafelc, 9-yard pass from Starr (Kick failed) GREEN BAY 13-3
CHI – Rick Casares, 1-yard run (Aveni kick) GREEN BAY 13-10
CHI – Aveni, 22-yard field goal TIED 13-13
CHI – Hornung, 46-yard field goal GREEN BAY 16-13
CHI – Casares, 37-yard pass from Zeke Bratkowski (Kick failed) CHICAGO 19-16
AUGUST 16 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - "It's not just a pass, punt and a prayer," the man said as he left the Stadium Saturday night. "It looks like they can finally run with the ball." Vince Lombardi's Packers had dropped a 19-16 thriller to the Bears, but they caught the fancy of the fans with a versatile offense. With fullback Jim Taylor galloping up the middle and halfbacks Paul Hornung and Tim Brown sprinting on the outside, the Packers outgained the famed Bear ground machine - 190 yards to 130. Lombardi went into hibernation with his staff all day Sunday. They looked at films of the game and were trying to decide on which players to cut from the bulky 52-man squad. "We did a lot of good things as a group," Lombardi said. "But I was disappointed when we couldn't score when we got down two or three times. It wasn't the Bears who stopped us. Penalties did it." Lombardi didn't believe his club had a letdown in the fourth quarter when the Bears rallied with 16 points. "It was a miscarriage of assignments," Lombardi explained. "Casares wasn't covered on the winning touchdown. We made a lot of mistakes, offensively and defensively. Our passing game needs a lot of improvement. But most important, when we got down close we've got to be able to put it over." Brown, the rookie from Ball State, looks like a real find. The club's 27th draft choice can really go once he's sprung. He's the fastest Packer. Lombardi used only 35 players against the Bears. "I wanted to win the first one," he explained. While Bart Starr and Lamar McHan shared the quarterbacking, Babe Parilli rode the bench. However, Lombardi said Parili would start against the 49ers in San Francisco next Sunday. Lombardi reported two casualties. Em Tunnell broke his hand early in the first quarter. He insisted on playing the whole game. Jesse Whittenton, who turned in a dandy performance, suffered a sprained ankle. It's doubtful he'll play against the 49ers. Lombardi said he was going to cut six players Monday morning. The group swelled to 52 when four All-Stars reported Saturday.The Shrine game was well played despite the condition of the field. Although a rain date was scheduled for Sunday, Stadium Manager Bill Anderson explained why the game was played Saturday. "The weather report for Sunday was the same as Saturday," Anderson explained. "If the game had been played Sunday under these conditions, I'm afraid we wouldn't have been able to get the field ready for the Braves' twi-night doubleheader with the Dodgers Monday." Anderson said he had 50 men working Sunday. The outfield was in good condition, but trying to dry out the infield was the big job. Not only did the rain ruin the field, but it KOd any chances for a record Shrine attendance. Packer ticket director Bob Schwartz said the gate sale was "the smallest ever." Yet, 28.286 fans braved the bad weather and saw a good game. The Packers will be back for two leagues games - against the Rams October 18 and the champion Colts November 15. They deserve a sellout then.
AUGUST 17 (Milwaukee Journal) - Vince Lombardi's well drilled Green Bay Packers proved to themselves and to 28,286 fans at County Stadium Saturday night that they can play football. They didn't win, but they could hardly have come closer. They lost to the powerful Chicago Bears, 19-16, on a touchdown with 41 seconds to play. This was an exhibition game but both teams went all out. Very few rookies played, especially for the Bears. The Packers needed their confidence restored after last year's disastrous season. Lombardi and his staff prepared them well for their first outing but it was up to the players to do the job. They did it and this was a fine start toward rebuilding Green Bay's professional football house. At that, the Bears needed a little luck. George Halas has a fine team, however, and the good always seem to be lucky, too. On the play before the winning touchdown, Emlen Tunnell, one of the NFL's finest interceptors, making his Packer debut after 11 years with the New York Giants, had the game in his hands. Unfortunately, one of his hands was broken, stepped on early in the game, and the ball didn't stick. There was no interception. Then Zeke Bratkowski passed to Rick Casares over the middle and the big fullback rumbled into the end zone with 41 seconds to play. It was a short pass and netted 37 yards. Casares' path was to be to the outside, but two Packer linemen fell down charging in, blocking the avenue. So Casares sneaked through the middle, took Bratkowski's well aimed pass and ran home. Phil Bengtson, Green Bay's defense coach, was talking about it afterward. "The play almost had to be the long one," he said. "The situation called for it. We covered them, though, and then Casares was open and Bratkowski hit him. The linebacker who was supposed to cover Casares was too far away. Casares took a different route than the play called for because his usual path was blocked and that let the play go all the way." Green Bay did a fine job of protecting its passers, Bart Starr and Lamar McHan. Starr looked very sharp, both throwing and running. The Packers couldn't get at the Bear passer, either. The rush is still not there. Paul Hornung was running hard at halfback and his 46 yard field goal which almost won it with two minutes to go was a thing of beauty. Jim Taylor, the sophomore fullback, ran like a man possessed. He could hardly wait for the tackler to let go of him to run back to the huddle. Tim Brown, the rookie from Ball State, proved a pleasant surprise again, even to the coaches. He has trouble in practice learning the signals. When turned loose in a game, however, he does the job. So far, at least. He could be the game breaker that Green Bay needs so badly. Aside from Tunnell's broken hand and Jesse Whittenton's sprained ankle, the Packers had nothing serious in injuries. Whittenton will probably be ready to play against the 49ers in San Francisco next Sunday. Babe Parilli will start at quarterback. He didn't play against the Bears.
Lombardi when the Green Bay Packers coach and general manager looked at the movies of Saturday night's Shrine pro football game at County Stadium. "We made an error on every play," Lombardi said. "There's a lot to be done. Someone would miss an assignment or a block, especially near the goal line. We should have scored two more touchdowns. We should have had 30 points." By scoring 30 points, it was pointed out, the Packers would win most games in the NFL. "Give us 30 points a game," Lombardi said with a laugh, "and we can win it all." There must have been some blocking, though, as the Packers gained 190 yards rushing in losing, 19-16. "Yes," Lombardi said, "the tackles (Forrest Gregg, Bob Skoronski and Norm Masters) did a fine job. But the guards (Jerry Kramer, Fred Thurston) got confused at times and took the wrong man, leaving someone else free to come in and throw us for a loss. The Bears used all their tricks. Some we hadn't even seen or heard of before. They red dogged (sent in the linebackers), shifted around and threw all their defenses against us, even more than they do in the regular season. This was one of the reasons we could run so much. Halas was probably figuring we'd throw more, like the Packers used to. If he'd have played it straight, we probably couldn't have run to well, but maybe we could have passed better." How about Green Bay's defense? "Not too bad," the coach said. "The front line gave us a lot more rush than before it still wasn't good, but it was better. The defense is rounding into better shape. There were some things we didn't like about our pass defense. They didn't handle some of the assignments right."
AUGUST 16 (Milwaukee) - The Green Bay Packers' coaching staff huddled in a corner of the locker room Saturday night and agreed mistakes were their biggest weakness in a 19-16 loss to the Chicago Bears. "I think we played a good game overall," Head Coach Vince Lombardi said, "but we threw away a couple of good scoring chances in the last half because of our mistakes." The whole Packer staff praised the work of the defense which had been criticized following an intrasquad game at Green Bay a week ago. "The defense has worked hard and long and they have shown a lot of improvement in the last week. They have to keep at it, though," Lombardi said. Assistant Coach Tom Fears talked glumly about the "mistakes in important situations" that hurt the Packers. "We had two 15-yard penalties when we were in scoring position and it's tough to win when things like that crop up." "Sure, we made mistakes," Lombardi said, "but at least it shows that we have a scrappy team." Assistant Norb Hecker approached the group and asked Lombardi to take a look at defensive halfback Em Tunnell's hand. "He hurt it before the half and it was puffed up like a watermelon but he insisted on playing," Hecker told Lombardi. "The thing must have really pained him." Tunnell almost saved the game in the closing seconds when he got his fingers on a pass thrown by Zeke Bratkowski, but the ball eluded him and the Bears scored the winning marker a couple of plays later. In the Bears' dressing room, Coach George Halas praised the improvement of the Packers. "They are a much better club already," Halas said. "And the reason is simple. They have Vince Lombardi for a coach. Vince is a perfectionist and he won't quit working with that team until he has them playing to perfection," Halas said. Papa Bear said he was "well satisfied" with the way his team played. "That was a good way to win it," he said. "Our fourth quarter comeback when the pressure was one was quite pleasing to me. Of course, that doesn't mean our work is finished. We have a long way to go and we will have to keep improving. We have seen the Packers and we know how much they have improved and how much more they are going to improve as the season progresses. You can't stand still," Halas said. Lombardi declined to single out any one player for his performance. But he couldn't help but be pleased with the play of quarterback Bart Starr, who threw two touchdown passes, and the running of sophomore fullback Jim Taylor and rookie Tim Brown.
AUGUST 17 (Green Bay) - The Packers, who lost to the Bears, 19-16, in an exhibition game Saturday night, placed five men on waivers Monday. The cuts reduce the squad to 47. Coach Vince Lombardi dropped end Ken Higgenbotham of Trinity (Texas) College and Buddy Mayfield of South Carolina; centers Willie Taylor of Florida A&M and Dick Teteak of Wisconsin, and halfback Bob Laraba of Texas Western.
AUGUST 18 (Milwaukee Journal) - Almost winning over the Chicago Bears was little solace to Vince 
AUGUST 19 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - Cutting a rookie is an emotional experience for any pro football coach. But telling a veteran he's through is even tougher. Vince Lombardi had 47 men in camp. He must trim 12 more before the race for the blue chips starts September 27. Among those on shaky ground is Howie Ferguson, the pile driving workhorse who in 1955 finished second in the NFL in ground gaining with 859 yards. Ferguson is back with the Packers because he couldn't pass a physical exam at Pittsburgh, where he had been sent by trader Lombardi. He had a two-inch screw removed from his shoulder upon his return and now is marking time before testing it in contact drills. Ferguson has desire and guts on his side. Against him is the fact that he has been prone to injuries. Healthy, they come no better. The veteran fullback suffered a shoulder separation the first time he carried the ball against the Bears last November. He had surgery performed last March and the doctor inserted a metal screw to hold the shoulder together until it heals properly. "It was a freak accident," Ferguson recalls. "It seems I never get injured the way other guys do. I've never been hurt by good, solid tackles." Ferguson runs with reckless abandon and this explains why he might be caught in freak situations. "I'm not going to quit this game, until they give me a plane ticket home," Ferguson said. "My wife was pretty upset when Pittsburgh sent me back to Green Bay. She told me to come home. But I told her playing pro football is the only thing I want to do. If I weren't convinced I can still do the job I'd surely go home." One would never suspect the New Iberia, La. oil field worker had yet to engage in combat. During sweat suit drills he's running like the Fergy of old. Lombardi may take the wraps off his "unknown quantity" next Sunday when the Packers battle the 49ers in San Francisco. When asked to compare the Steelers' camp with Lombardi's rigid training program, Ferguson said, "they're living off the fat or the hog out there. You can eat as much as you want and anything you want as long as you watch your weight." He said the workouts were nowhere near as strenuous as they are in Green Bay, Lombardi has his team running at full speed through every play. Buddy Parker believes in a slower pace. Ferguson, naturally, was disappointed when Lombardi traded him to Pittsburgh. Yet, he'd play for the devil to stay in the NFL. Fergy's happy to be back in Green Bay and he's more determined than ever to prove his point. He realizes Jim Taylor has a fast start in nailing down the starting job, but when given the word, he'll be fighting to get his old job back. Lombardi hopes Ferguson can come back. With a healthy Ferguson teaming with Taylor, the position, unquestionably, would be the club's strongest.
AUGUST 20 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - Vince Lombardi, anxious to test his rookies against "foreign" competition, Wednesday said he would start A.D. Williams at right end and probably George Dixon at right half when the Packers battle the 49ers in their second preseason game Sunday at San Francisco. Williams, a 6-2, 200 pound product from COP, had a brief fling with the Rams last season before being cut. Dixon, a rookie from Bridgeport, has been impressive in drills. Babe Parilli will start at quarterback. The other starters are end Max McGee, tackles Norm Master and Forrest Gregg, guards Jerry Kramer and Fred Thurston, center Jim Ringo, left half Paul Hornung and fullback Jim Taylor. Lombardi also announced that the club had picked up guard John Dittrich, who was placed on waivers by the Cardinals. The former Wisconsin star joined the Packers immediately and will be among the 48 players who will make the western jaunt. Howie Ferguson had his physical exam Wednesday morning and he came through with flying colors. The veteran fullback has been sidelined after having a metal screw removed from his shoulder last week. However, Lombardi said he would use Ferguson very sparingly. "He's a valuable piece of merchandise and I don't expect to use him very much against the 49ers," Lombardi said. Lombardi refused to be pinned down on the progress of his club at this stage of the game."We'll know more when we come home," he said. "The passing is coming but I'd rather not comment on anything, not yet." The Packer boss has been closely checking other teams' cuts, but apparently the "haves" are keeping the good ones under cover. Lombardi said that defensive halfback Em Tunnell who suffered a fracture of a small bone in his hand early in the Bear game, would not play against the 49ers. Jesse Whittenton, another defensive back, is still bothered with a sore back. The Packers will lave for San Francisco Friday morning via chartered plane. After the 49er scrap, they'll headquarter at Portland University in preparation for their August 29 battle against the Eagles. With 48 men in camp, Lombardi will have to trim the squad to 43 the first Tuesday after Labor Day.
Chicago Bears (1-0) 19, Green Bay Packers (0-1) 16
EXHIBITION - Saturday August 15th 1959 (at Milwaukee)