The following is not a summary of historical events,but rather the results of my computer football replay of the 1968 NFL season using Second and Ten football.
Frank Ryan, who quarterbacked the Browns to a championship four seasons ago, has been displaced as Browns quarterback after a seven game losing streak dating back to last season. Coach Collier named Bill Nelsen as the starter this week. Nelsen will be making his debut against his former club, the Pittsburgh Steelers, who drafted him in the tenth round in 1963.
As for Ryan, he threw his seventh interception of the season in the waning moments of the Browns’ 13-10 loss to Los Angeles in Cleveland’s opening game on Sunday. Ryan was battered around by the Rams’ front four throughout the game. He was sacked six times by the Rams, and seventeen times in three games this season. Ryan suffered a shoulder injury in 1965, and those seventeen sacks have re-aggravated the injury. For Ryan’s own sake and for the good of the team, Collier finally announced his decision after the loss to the Rams. Cleveland and Pittsburgh are both 0-3 trailing the surprise leaders in the Century Division, the 2-1 New Orleans Saints.
The Saints defeated the St. Louis Cardinals convincingly 31-9 as Billy Kilmer threw four touchdown passes, two to wideout Danny Abramowicz, a 17th round pick from Xavier in last year’s draft. In other action, the Green Bay Packers remained undefeated with a 17-0 blanking of the Detroit Lions. The Cowboys and Colts also remained undefeated. Dallas held off the Eagles, 27-22, and the Colts romped over the hapless Steelers, 24-5. The Chicago Bears, without the services of Gale Sayers, slipped past the Vikings, 13-10. Fran Tarkenton and the Giants handed the Redskins their first defeat of the season with a 27-14 victory in the opener at Yankee Stadium. John Brodie threw three touchdown passes in the 49ers’ 23-14 home victory over Atlanta.
In AFL action, the Kansas City Chiefs rallied in the second half to avoid an upset bid by the Miami Dolphins, 24-13. Noland Smith’s 73-yard punt return for a touchdown broke a 10-10 tie in the third quarter for the Chiefs. Joe Namath and the Jets easily dispatched of the Bills in Buffalo, 27-7. San Diego defeated Cincinnati, 27-13. Bengals running back Paul Robinson gained 136 yards in the loss, and leads the AFL in rushing after a month of action. In Houston, Daryle Lamonica connected with Warren Wells for three touchdowns in the Raiders’ 31-17 win in the Astrodome. In Denver, the Broncos defeated the Patriots, 20-15.