Browns Hand Vikes First Defeat, 20-17

Bill Nelsen looks for a receiver as Minnesota’s Jim Marshall looms large.
Bloomington, Minn. – The Cleveland Browns defeated the Minnesota Vikings, 20-17, at Metropolitan Stadium. However, many Vikings fans may claim the Vikings defeated themselves after Minnesota turned the football over nine times; six fumbles lost and three interceptions. The final Vikings’ fumble of the game by fullback Bill Brown, and his second of the day, proved to be the most costly as Cleveland quarterback Bill Nelsen converted the turnover into a 70-yard touchdown drive in the final 2:19 capped by Leroy Kelly’s plunge from one yard out. Minnesota was grinding out the clock with their own eight-play drive until Brown fumbled the ball.

Minnesota appeared in the early stages to take control of the game with scoring drives in their first two possessions to take a 10-0 first quarter lead. However, a pair of fumbles and a pair of interceptions gave the Browns life, but Cleveland could only convert the four turnovers into a 14-yard Don Cockroft field goal as Minnesota’s defense stood tall. In fact, the vaunted “Purple People Eaters” turned the final Cleveland threat away as Gary Larsen forced and recovered a Leroy Kelly fumble at the Minnesota goal line to preserve a touchdown lead by Minnesota at the half.

Minnesota stopped Cleveland’s first possession of the second half, but on the first play from scrimmage, Brown fumbled and Ron Snidow recovered for Cleveland. Nelsen and the Browns could only covert this turnover into another 14 yard Cockroft field goal to trim the lead to 10-6. After another Minnesota fumble on their subsequent possession, Nelsen finally found paydirt by connecting with tight end Milt Morin on an 18-yard touchdown strike that gave Cleveland a 13-10 lead. But as the third quarter expired, Nelsen threw his third interception of the game deep in their own territory. Karl Kassulke returned the ball to the Cleveland 8. Dave Osborn rushed in from 3 yards for a 17-13 Vikings lead to start the fourth quarter. Osborn led all rushers with 85 yards in 21 attempts.

It was a lead that appeared Minnesota did not wish to keep. The Vikings turned the ball over on their next three possessions in the fourth quarter, the final one being Brown’s miscue that led to the eventual winning touchdown. Both clubs now stand with a 7-1 record and it may surprise nobody if a rematch occurs in the playoffs. The Eagles defeated Washington 30-16. The Lions beat the Falcons at home, 23-20. The Cardinals, led by 242 passing yards by Charley Johnson, pounded the Giants, 34-14.

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Browns Hold Off Lions, 30-28

Nelsen
Browns QB Bill Nelsen looking for a receiver against the Lions
The following is not a summary of historical events,but rather the results of my computer football replay of the 1969 AFL and NFL seasons using Second and Ten football. In reality on October 5, 1969, the Lions handed the Cleveland Browns their first defeat of the 1969 season, 28-21.

The Cleveland Browns maintained their undefeated status by holding off a furious rally by the visiting Detroit Lions en route to a 30-28 victory. The Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings and Browns remain the only undefeated teams in the NFL. The Browns jumped to a 27-0 lead in the first half before the Lions reached the scoreboard with a Bill Triplett touchdown run in the final minute of the half.

When John Garlington intercepted Lions’ quarterback Bill Munson on Detroit’s opening second half drive, the outcome seemed even more assured for Cleveland. The Browns cashed the turnover into another Don Cockroft field goal for a 30-7 lead. Munson and the Lions responded with a 9-play, 77-yard drive that resulted in a Munson touchdown pass to tight end Charlie Sanders. The Lions defense forced the Browns to punt after only three plays, and Munson again pushed the Lions downfield. But on the tenth play of the drive and in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter, Munson was again intercepted.

The Browns marched downfield and, with the benefit of a defensive pass interference call, reached the Lions 26. But the Lions defense rose to the occasion and sacked Nielsen twice forcing the Browns to punt. Lem Barney caught Cockroft’s punt at his own 12 and weaved through the Browns coverage for an 88 yard touchdown that breathed new life into the Lions. But the Lions could not mount another threat until the clock reached two minutes, just as they had in the first half. Munson connected with wideout Earl McCullouch for 38 yards to the Cleveland 35. A flare pass to Mel Farr put the Lions at the Browns 17, and a draw play by Farr brought the ball to the Browns’ 2 with a minute to go. Munson again found Sanders in the end zone and Errol Mann’s PAT closed the deficit to a mere two points. But the Browns recovered the onside attempt to remain undefeated as the Lions would have to be satisfied with perhaps a moral victory to go with their 0-3 record.

In other NFL action, the Minnesota Vikings unseated the Green Bay Packers with a 21-point second half rally in a 31-17 victory. Roman Gabriel led the Rams to a 13-10 victory over the New Orleans Saints with a 34-yard touchdown pass to Billy Truax in the final minute. Dallas outlasted Philadelphia, 28-20, as Lance Rentzel caught four touchdown passes from Craig Morton. Baltimore defeated the Falcons in Atlanta, 24-13, and the Redskins beat the 49ers in San Francisco despite the afternoon’s only 100-yard rushing game from Ken Willard. The Bears defeated the Giants, 21-7, and Pittsburgh crushed the Cardinals, 48-17. Roy Jefferson had 172 receiving yards and two touchdowns for the Steelers.

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Rams Defense Thwarts Colts.

Rams' DT Coy Bacon breaks through the line in Los Angeles' 16-3 win over the World Champion Colts
Rams’ DT Coy Bacon breaks through the line in Los Angeles’ 16-3 win over the World Champion Colts

The following is not a summary of historical events,but rather the results of my computer football replay of the 1969 AFL and NFL seasons using Second and Ten football. In reality on September 21, 1969, the Rams defeated the defending NFL champion Colts, 27-20.

The Los Angeles Rams opened the 1969 NFL season with a 16-3 road victory over the World Champion Baltimore Colts. The contest was a defensive struggle, but the Rams’ defense forced Johnny Unitas to throw five interceptions. After each club missed field goals – the Rams’ miss was set up by Unitas’ first interception – Los Angeles’ QB Roman Gabriel found WR Wendell Tucker for an 80 yard pass for the game’s first and only touchdown. That one play drive was a result of Unitas’ second interception by Clancy Williams. With two minutes remaining in the first half, Unitas and Tom Matte led a Colts’ drive that ended in a 30 yard field goal. The Rams pushed the margin back to seven with a Bruce Gossett 30 yard field goal after their opening drive in the second half. From there, the Rams’ “Fearsome Foursome” locked down the Colts offense. Richie Petitbone ended any hope with the afternoon’s final interception with a minute remaining. Unitas missed most of last season due to injury, and was a forgettable 17-40 with 130 yards passing with the five interceptions.

In other action, a pair of rookies shone brightly in Dallas’ 45-21 win over St. Louis. QB Roger Staubach passed for 289 yards with two touchdown passes to Lance Rentzel. RB Calvin Hill, the Cowboys’ first round pick from Yale, rushed for 186 yards. Gale Sayers rushed for 144 yards, but the Packers rallied in the second half to coast to a 34-14 win over Chicago. Minnesota silenced Fran Tarkenton and the Giants, 22-3. Atlanta defeated San Francisco, 20-3. New Orleans spoiled the debut of Redskins’ head coach Vince Lombardi with a 22-21 win at Tulane Stadium. Cleveland held off the Eagles, 17-10, and Gene Mingo’s 23 yard field goal with 3:46 remaining was the margin of victory as the Steelers defeated the Lions, 23-20.

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Jets Squeeze Past O.J., Bills in Opener

>Rookie O.J. Simpson rushed for 105 yards in his professional debut, but it wasn't enough for the Bills to slip past the Jets.
>Rookie O.J. Simpson rushed for 105 yards in his professional debut, but it wasn’t enough for the Bills to slip past the Jets.

The following is not a summary of historical events,but rather the results of my computer football replay of the 1969 AFL and NFL seasons using Second and Ten football. In reality on September 14, 1969,Joe Namath and the Jets did beat the Bills,but by the score of 33-19. Simpson only rushed for 35 yards on 10 carries in his debut.

The defending AFL champion, New York Jets, escaped Buffalo with a seven point margin of victory, 27-20. Bills’ rookie, O.J. Simpson, out of Southern California earned his pay with an impressive debut, 105 yards rushing on 17 carries. The Buffalo ground game kept the Bills in the game, but both teams took advantage of turnovers to take the lead in the final half of play.

Midway through the third quarter, Buffalo closed to within three points, 13-10, on Jack Kemp’s 28 yard touchdown pass to Haven Moses. On the Jets’ first play of scrimmage following that score, Bills’ DE Ron McDole sacked New York QB Joe Namath causing a fumble. LB Mike Stratton scooped the ball up for Buffalo and raced 21 yards for another Bills’ touchdown. In the opening seconds of the fourth quarter, Buffalo tacked on a 32 yard Bruce Alford field goal to extend its’ lead to seven, 20-13. However, Namath responded by storming the Jets down the field and knotting the score at 20 with a 25 yard touchdown strike to George Sauer. Then, it was the Jets’ turn to cash in a Buffalo miscue. On their first play from scrimmage, Kemp’s intended quick toss to Bobby Crockett was read well by LB Paul Crane who stepped in front for the interception. Crane nearly scored, but was tacked at the Bills’ five yard line. After an incomplete pass, Matt Snell took the ball down to the 1, setting up Emerson Boozer’s third down plunge for the lead. The Jets’ defense kept Buffalo in check until the final two minutes. With 2:30 remaining, New York punted, and Kemp took over at the Bills’ 34. Kemp and Simpson led the Bills to the Jets’ 19 with under a minute to go. But, Kemp’s third down pass into the end zone was picked off by Cornell Gordon to end the game.

Other AFL action featured a pair of tie games. Kansas City and San Diego fell even at 13-13. A Noland Smith punt return late in the game set up the tying touchdown for the Chiefs. The Bengals scored a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns to tie Miami at home, 17-17. The Raiders defeated the Houston Oilers, 13-10, overcoming 4 interceptions thrown by Daryl Lamonica. In Denver, Floyd Little rushed for 108 yards and a touchdown as the Broncos beat the Patriots, 24-14.

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Colts Hold Off Jets’ Upset Bid, 19-14.

Jets quarterback Joe Namath looks to throw long over the outstretched arm of Colts' defensive end Bubba Smith in the final minutes of Super Bowl III.
Jets quarterback Joe Namath looks to throw long over the outstretched arm of Colts’ defensive end Bubba Smith in the final minutes of Super Bowl III.

The following is not a summary of historical events,but rather the results of my computer football replay of the 1968 AFL and NFL seasons using Second and Ten football. In reality on January 12, 1969,the the AFL’s New York Jets defeated the NFL champion Baltimore Colts, 16-7, in Super Bowl III. The game is one of the most storied upsets in NFL history.

Miami – The Baltimore Colts averted a last-minute upset bid by the New York Jets to win Super Bowl III by the score of 19-14. Jets quarterback Joe Namath led New York 65 yards with less than two minutes and no timeouts, but the Colts’ Bob Boyd slapped away a pass intended for George Sauer in the end zone as time elapsed. The NFL-leading Baltimore defense forced three turnovers that led to ten points for the Colts. Meanwhile, the Jets defense harassed Earl Morrall (12-22; 141 yards), sacking the Baltimore quarterback six times on the afternoon. Don Maynard caught a pair of touchdown passes for New York, but it was Jerry Hill’s three yard touchdown run with 6:41 remaining that stood as the difference in the ball game.

On the game’s final series, Namath (27-43; 264 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT) marched the Jets from their own 20 yard line with only 1:44 left. Namath, who guaranteed a Jets victory earlier in the week, completed a pair of 4th down passes to his favorite target, Sauer, to keep the drive alive. Sauer caught 11 passes for 109 yards. With only nine seconds left, Namath found Maynard on a corner route. Maynard caught the ball over his shoulder and was pushed out of bounds at the Baltimore 15 with only one tick left on the clock. On the final play, Namath looked for the reliable Sauer who appeared opened on a crossing route, but Boyd stretched to deflect the ball and save the championship for Baltimore. Boyd intercepted a pass near the end zone to prevent a possible Jets touchdown at the end of the first half of the game.
Continue reading “Colts Hold Off Jets’ Upset Bid, 19-14.”

Jets Blast Past Raiders for Title.

New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath gets a pass off in the first quarter of the AFL championship game as Oakland Raider Ben Davidson (83) attempts to knock the pass down at Shea Stadium during the Jets' 52-31 win over the Raiders. (AP Photo)
New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath gets a pass off in the first quarter of the AFL championship game as Oakland Raider Ben Davidson (83) attempts to knock the pass down at Shea Stadium during the Jets’ 52-31 win over the Raiders. (AP Photo)

The following is not a summary of historical events, but rather the results of my computer football replay of the 1968 AFL and NFL seasons using Second and Ten football. In reality on December 29, 1968, the the Jets defeated the Raiders, 27-23, for the AFL Championship and a date with destiny in Miami at Super Bowl III.

Flushing, NY – Aided by four turnovers in the final thirteen minutes, the New York Jets flew past the Oakland Raiders, 52-31, for the AFL Championship and a trip to Miami to face the NFL champions. New York scored four touchdowns off each of the turnovers, and the Raiders dizzied by the furious finish by the Jets.

The game was a back-and-forth affair until Ralph Baker intercepted a Daryle Lamonica pass at the Oakland 32 and returned the ball to the 18 with 12:43 remaining in the game. Jets quarterback Joe Namath capitalized on the short field. Five plays later, Matt Snell plunged in from a yard out to tie the game at 31-31. Oakland’s Butch Atkinson fumbled the kickoff, and Bill Baird recovered for New York at the Oakland 32. Namath found George Sauer in the back of the end zone on a 20 yard strike that put the Jets ahead for good.
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Colts Stun Cowboys For Title, 20-17

Rick Volk’s interception and return in the final minute set up Lou Michael’s game-winning field goal as the Baltimore Colts defeated the Dallas Cowboys, 20-17, for the NFL championship.
Rick Volk’s interception and return in the final minute set up Lou Michael’s game-winning field goal as the Baltimore Colts defeated the Dallas Cowboys, 20-17, for the NFL championship.

The following is not a summary of historical events, but rather the results of my computer football replay of the 1968 AFL and NFL seasons using Second and Ten football. In reality on December 29, 1968, the the Colts defeated the Cleveland Browns, 34-0, for the NFL Championship and a date with the AFL champion New York Jets Rick Volk’s interception and return in the final minute set up Lou Michael’s game winning field goal as the Baltimore Colts defeated the Dallas Cowboys for the NFL Championship in Miami at Super Bowl III.

Baltimore – The Baltimore Colts scored ten points in the final minute to upend the defending champion Dallas Cowboys for the 1968 NFL championship with a 20-17 victory. Lou Michaels kicked a 14 yard field goal with five seconds remaining for the title. Micheals’ kick was set up by an interception by Rick Volk who returned the ball to the Cowboys 6 yard line.

The game was a defensive struggle, and only Earl Morrall had any success on the afternoon. The Colts quarterback threw for 374 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but until the final minute, it appeared his four interceptions on the afternoon would keep Baltimore from victory. The Colts turned the ball over eight times, but their league-leading defense stymied the Cowboys’ high-flying offense. Dallas could only muster a mere 143 total yards on the day, and Cowboys quarterback Don Meredith became acquainted with nearly the entire defense as the Colts sacked him seven times.

The first sack of the afternoon by linebacker Mike Curtis led to the first score of the game. Curtis forced a fumble that was recovered by Ordell Braase at the Dallas 32. The Colts’ drive was stopped by a Bob Lilly sack, and Baltimore settled for a 21 yard field goal for a 3-0 lead with 9:52 left in the first half. But, Meredith and the Cowboys struck fast. After Craig Baynham returned the ensuing kickoff to the Dallas 45, Meredith found Lance Rentzel behind the Colt secondary for a 55 yard touchdown strike. A holding penalty killed the next Colt drive, and Baltimore punted the ball away. Bullet Bob Hayes fielded the punt at the Cowboys 27, and dashed 73 yards for another Dallas touchdown. Morrall responded with a six-minute 84 yard drive highlighted by a pair of receptions by tight end John Mackey and rushes by Jerry Hill. On third and goal at the 2, Morrall found Mackey in the end zone to close the score to 14-10. The Cowboys were forced to punt, and Rick Volk fumbled the punt which was recovered by Mike Johnson of the Cowboys at the Colts 25. After Mike Curtis’ second sack pushed Dallas back to the 33, Cowboys’ kicker Mike Clark kicked a 40 yard field goal to extend the lead to seven points.
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Cards Top Browns For Century Title

 Willis Crenshaw, shown in action against the Steelers two weeks ago, rumbled for 120 yards as the Cardinals beat the Browns for the Century Division title, a first for St. Louis.
Willis Crenshaw, shown in action against the Steelers two weeks ago, rumbled for 120 yards as the Cardinals beat the Browns for the Century Division title, a first for St. Louis.

The following is not a summary of historical events, but rather the results of my computer football replay of the 1968 AFL and NFL seasons using Second and Ten football. In reality on December 14, 1968, the Cardinals did defeat the Browns by the score of 27-16, but the Browns won the Century division, eventually losing to Baltimore in the NFL Championship Game.

St. Louis, December 14 – The St. Louis Cardinals captured the NFL Century Division title with a 31-17 victory over the second-place Cleveland Browns before a capacity of 58,800 at Busch Stadium. The football Cardinals will face the defending champion Dallas Cowboys in the division playoffs riding a four-game winning streak.

A few weeks ago, Cleveland seemed a lock for the title after Bill Nielsen took over as quarterback and guided the Browns to an eight-game unbeaten streak. At the end of November, Cleveland annihilated Philadelphia, 52-0, and had outscored its’ last three opponents by the score of 134-6. But on December 1, the tide turned quickly against Cleveland as they dropped their final home game, 21-16 to the Giants, on a last minute touchdown run by Bobby Duhon. The following week, the Cardinals edged those same Giants at Yankee Stadium, 39-38, to set up this final showdown for the division title.
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Jets Slip Past Chargers, 25 – 22.

Emerson Boozer breaks free against the San Diego defense.
Emerson Boozer breaks free against the San Diego defense.

The following is not a summary of historical events, but rather the results of my computer football replay of the 1968 AFL and NFL seasons using Second and Ten football. In reality on November 24, 1968, Joe Namath and the Jets did beat the Chargers, but by the score of 37-15.

San Diego, Nov. 24 – The New York Jets prevailed over the San Diego Chargers, 25-22, as Jim Turner kicked a 44-yard field goal in the final minute of a furious fourth quarter. The Chargers stunned the Jets with a blocked punt and touchdown return by Speedy Duncan with 1:43 left in the game. The unflappable Joe Namath was undeterred, and drove the Jets into field goal range with a pair of passes to Bill Mathis.

The fireworks were not set until the fourth quarter in this contest. These two clubs matched in a potential AFL Championship paired off in the first half like boxers sparring and testing one another. The Jets held a 6-0 at the half. In the third quarter, Namath took advantage of a Randy Beverly interception that gave the Jets a short field at the Charger 32. Namath found George Sauer for a 12 yard strike, and Weeb Ewbank elected to go for the two point conversion. Namath’s toss to Sauer was deflected, and New York held a 12-0 lead. On the Jets’ subsequent possession, Russ Washington sacked Namath on the drive’s second play. Namath fumbled the ball, and Washington alertly sprang up, recovered the ball, and returned it 17 yards for the Chargers’ first score. Jim Turner’s first field goal of the afternoon extended the lead back to 8 points as the third quarter came to a close.

Continue reading “Jets Slip Past Chargers, 25 – 22.”

Jets Outlast Raiders, 31-19

heidi-movie-poster-1968-197x300[1]

The following is not a summary of historical events, but rather the results of my computer football replay of the 1968 AFL season using Second and Ten football. In reality on November 17, 1968, the Oakland Raiders scored two touchdowns in the final moments in a game immortalized as “The Heidi Game” because the national broadcast by NBC left the game at 7:00 PM in order to timely air the premiere of the movie, “Heidi”.

Oakland, Nov. 17 – The New York Jets defeated the defending AFL champion Oakland Raiders, 31-19, in a game whose conclusion was missed by its national television audience as NBC switched its programming from the game to the movie premier of “Heidi”. With the Raiders in possession, down by 5 points with 1:28 remaining, the country was re-directed toward the Swiss Alps.

As the switchboards lit up with anxious football fans, New York’s Earl Christy saved the Jets* as Lamonica dropped back and sought Charlie Smith on a fly pattern down the sideline. Christy intercepted the pass at the Jets 26, and scampered 31 yards to the Oakland 43. From there, New York fullback Matt Snell plowed through a bewildered Raider defense for a touchdown. Two plays spun the momentum around and insured the Jets of a critical west coast victory. Though the defeat of the defending champion served notice to the rest of the AFL, New York will travel down state to face the Western Division leading San Diego Chargers for a potential preview of the championship game.

* – in the actual game, Christy was a goat as his fumbled kickoff opened the door for two quick Oakland touchdowns that the national television audience missed in a 43-32 come-from-behind win.

In other AFL action, the Chargers routed the Bills in Buffalo, 52-30. San Diego quarterback John Hadl threw four touchdowns but also four interceptions in the game. Houston continued its recovery from a miserable start with a 50-30 romp over the Broncos. Pete Beathard threw for 364 yards, the highest total for the week in the AFL, and 4 touchdowns. Kansas City saved themselves with a late touchdown drive in the final minutes of a 27-24 win in Boston. The Dolphins and expansion Bengals tied at 35 when Miami quarterback Bob Griese threw a 12 yard touchdown pass to Karl Noonan with 1:08 remaining. Dick Anderson intercepted Sam Wyche’s bomb intended for Bob Trumpy at the Dolphins 4 in the final seconds to preserve the tie.

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