Green Bay, Dec. 31 – The Dallas Cowboys exacted revenge in the most unlikeliest of scenes – Lambeau Field amid the harshest playing conditions in professional sports – with a 22-0 blanking of the host Green Bay Packers to advance to the second annual NFL-AFL Championship Game. Green Bay defeated host Dallas last season, 24-13, to advance to the inaugural game en route to the World’s Championship. With the temperature at kickoff registering negative thirteen degrees and a wind chill of forty eight degrees below zero, the Cowboys stymied the Packers with a relentless defensive attack that equaled the brutal cold that swept across the playing surface. The Cowboys sacked Green Bay quarterback Bart Starr nine times, and suitably finished the game with a end zone sack of Starr which resulted in a safety.
Under a heavy rush, Starr threw three interceptions which led to two first-half touchdowns by Dallas and the other ended a Packer scoring threat. On the Packers first series, Starr’s first attempt was intercepted by Mel Renfro at the Packer 34. Dallas quarterback Don Meredith connected with wideout Lance Rentzel for 24 yards, and tight end Frank Clarke reached the Packer 1 with an end-around. Don Perkins plunged ahead for the game’s first score, however kicker Danny Villanueva missed the extra point. Starr threw another interception on the opening play of the second quarter. Chuck Howley intercepted and returned the ball thirty yards to the Packer 13.
Oakland, Dec. 31 – The Oakland Raiders won the AFL Championship with five field goals from George Blanda and a pair of touchdown tosses by Daryle Lamonica. The Raiders overcame an interception return for a touchdown by Houston defensive back W.K. Hicks on the game’s first play from scrimmage. Oakland managed only a pair of Blanda field goals in the remainder of the first half, however the Raider defense was a stone wall to the meek Oiler attack.
In the second half, the Oilers denied the Raiders from reaching the end zone, and Blanda was called upon again for an 18 yard chip shot. The field goal finally gave the Raiders the lead, 9-7. Oakland broke through in the final moments of the third quarter after Lamonica found Clem Daniels in the end zone for an 11 yard score. However, the Oilers responded immediately as Zeke Moore returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a Houston touchdown which cut the Oakland lead back to a slim two-point margin. The Raider defense dominated the game thusfar, but Lamonica and the Oakland offense were unable to put the Oilers away. The Oiler defense and special teams were keeping Houston in the game as the game reached its final quarter. Continue reading “Raiders Defeat Oilers for AFL Championship.”→
Cleveland, Dec. 3 – Giants quarterback Fran Tarkenton threw a five yard touchdown pass to Aaron Thomas with no time remaining as the New York Giants defeated the Cleveland Browns, 30-27, for the NFL Century Division championship. The victory was controversial after the home town Browns were flagged for roughing the passer after a failed fourth down conversion by New York two plays earlier. Cleveland had taken a four point lead two and a half minutes earlier after Leroy Kelly raced in from five yards on a draw play. The touchdown capped a seventeen point rally by the Browns from a 23-10 fourth quarter deficit.
The Giants failed to convert on their first possession when Les Murdock, filling in for Pete Gogolak, missed a 20 yard field goal attempt. Lou Groza put the Browns on the board first with a 19 yard field goal on the Browns’ first possession. Cleveland settled for a field goal after two false start penalties halted the Browns initial drive. New York responded with a touchdown as Tarkenton found Joe Morrison for a 30 yard touchdown pass. A short punt by Cleveland’s Gary Collins set up the Giants for another scoring opportunity. Tarkenton capitalized and drove his team 34 yards for another touchdown, a 10 yard strike to Del Shofner. New York was prepared to take an eleven point lead into the half when the Browns defense stepped up. Ross Fichtner intercepted Tarkenton and returned the ball for a 24 yard touchdown.
New York, Nov. 26 – New York Giants quarterback Fran Tarkenton passed for a season high 360 yards and threw three touchdown passes to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles, 35-17. The victory marked the fifth consecutive win for the Giants who captured a one game advantage over the Cleveland Browns in the tightly contested Century Division. Tarkenton’s favorite mark on the afternoon was wideout Homer Jones who had seven receptions for 236 yards, a record high for any NFL receiver this season. Philadelphia quarterback Norm Snead passed the 3,000 yard mark for the season in the defeat. The Giants are now set to settle the division race with the Browns in Cleveland next week. New York’s current winning streak began October 29 with a 31-23 defeat of the Browns at Yankee Stadium.
The Eagles took an initial three point lead before Tarkenton could revive the Giants offense. The former Georgia Bulldog hit Jones for a 59 yard touchdown bomb midway through the second quarter for New York’s first score. On the Giants next possession, Tarkenton found Jones again for 59 yards which set up Bill Triplett’s four yard scamper for a 14-3 halftime lead for the home club.
Tarkenton fumbled on the first possession of the second half after being sacked by Eagles linebacker Harold Wells. Tackle Floyd Peters recovered for Philadelphia, and Snead capitalized on the turnover with two strikes to Ben Hawkins; the second for a three yard touchdown. However, Tarkenton found Jones for 47 yards on the next play from scrimmage for the Giants. Tucker Frederickson gained 26 yards on a screen pass before being shoved out of bounds at the Eagle seven yard line. Two plays later, Tarkenton hit Jones for another touchdown. From there, the Eagles were unable to keep up with the Giants who scored touchdowns on their next two possessions to put the game out of reach. Snead threw a touchdown to Fred Hill in the waning moments to close the score to its 35-17 final.
Kansas City, Nov. 23 – A changing of the guard occurred on Thanksgiving Day as the Oakland Raiders defeated the defending AFL champion Kansas City Chiefs by a decisive margin of 35-14. The game was not really that close. The Raiders defense hounded Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson who threw four interceptions in the second half. Oakland ran out to a 21-0 lead as the Chiefs could not mount any type of threat against the Raider defense. Finally in the waning moments of the first half, Dawson marched the Chiefs 80 yards down field on 11 plays for a touchdown. Curtis McClinton scored on a 25 yard reception from Dawson.
The Chiefs received the opening kickoff of the second half, but could not seize on the momentum they gained going into the locker room. A holding penalty set the Chiefs back, and they failed to gain a first down. Wayne Walker’s punt was short, and Raider quarterback Daryle Lamonica was given a short field to work. After three rushes, Lamonica went to the air and finally connected with Fred Biletnikoff for a two yard score. It was Lamonica’s third touchdown pass, and Biletnikoff’s second touchdown reception. Oakland put the game out of reach on the Chiefs’ next possession as Warren Powers intercepted Dawson’s 3rd and 7 attempt to Otis Taylor. Powers raced 33 yards for a touchdown and a 35-7 Oakland lead.
Chiefs’ rookie kicker Jan Stenerud missed a 37 yard field goal, and the Chiefs seemingly panicked. Dawson was intercepted by Rodger Bird on the first play of the Chiefs’ subsequent possession as Dawson tried to force a long pass to Taylor. The Chiefs scored on their first possession of the fourth quarter, but a pair of Dawson interceptions choked off any remaining Kansas City hopes of returning to the AFL playoffs. Oakland defeated Kansas City 20-14 in week three, and this victory all but assures the AFL Western Division title for Coach John Rauch and the Raiders.
Boston, Nov. 19 – Joe Namath continues to eclipse his own passing records with 504 passing yards in the New York Jets’ 61-3 demolition of the Boston Patriots. Namath set an AFL mark against the Miami Dolphins last month with 470 yards. Two weeks later, Namath topped that mark by eight yards in a 52-21 loss in Kansas City. Namath fell a yard short of New York Giant Y.A. Tittle’s 505 yard game against the Redskins in 1962. Tittle was the last quarterback to throw for over 500 yards. The NFL record is held by Norm Van Brocklin of the Los Angeles Rams who threw for 554 yards in 1951. With four games remaining in the season, Namath seems assured of becoming the first quarterback in professional football history to surpass 4,000 passing yards in a season. Namath currently stands at 3,440 passing yards.
The Jets scored touchdowns on their first two possessions to quickly jump on the host Patriots. Jets kicker Jim Turner missed a 42 yard field goal attempt on their next possession, but Boston could not muster any counterattack against the Jet defense. Al Atkinson and Larry Grantham intercepted Babe Parilli on the Patriots’ next two possessions. Namath converted both turnovers into touchdowns, and the game was a 28-0 blowout minutes into the second quarter. With three minutes remaining in the half, Randy Beverly intercepted Panelli and returned the ball 38 yards for another touchdown and a 38 point halftime lead for New York.
The second half proved no relief for Boston as the Jets scored two more touchdowns in the third quarter. Parilli was sacked in the end zone for a safety by Paul Rochester. The game proved to be a complete 60 minute nightmare for Parilli who was sacked five times and threw six interceptions to pass Namath for the league lead in interceptions with 29. Despite the continued record-breaking performances by Namath, the Jets cling to slim playoff hopes as they trail Houston by two games with only four games remaining. The Oilers defeated the Jets, 22-19, in the only scheduled match-up between the division rivals.
Green Bay, Nov. 12 – The Green Bay Packers committed five turnovers and lost the first game of their season, a 28-20 defeat to the Cleveland Browns, on a brisk autumn afternoon at Lambeau Field. Cleveland returned two Bart Starr interceptions for touchdowns as the Browns won a crucial game as they are knotted in a tight division race.
The day started poorly for Cleveland QB Frank Ryan who threw an interception on the game’s opening play. Bob Jeter returned the interception for a Packer touchdown. Twelve minutes later, Leroy Kelly fumbled at the Packer 30 and Starr attempted to cash in on the turnover with a strike to Boyd Dowler running an slant pattern. But, Jim Houston intercepted and returned the ball 40 yards for his third touchdown this season to tie the game. The teams traded touchdowns in the second quarter to enter halftime tied at 14-14.
On the Packers second possession of the second half, Dowler fumbled at the Packer 22, and Ross Fichtner recovered for Cleveland. The Browns took advantage of the turnover as Browns FB Ernie Green rushed up the middle seven yards for the score. Starr and the Packers responded with a drive to the Cleveland 5. The Browns defense stiffened and held Jim Grabowski on two rushing attempts, and Starr’s pass to Donny Anderson on third down fell incomplete. The Packers were forced to settle for an 11 yard field goal by Don Chandler.
The Cleveland defense held the Packers again in the shadow of their own goal posts in the fourth quarter, and Green Bay again was forced to settle for another Chandler chip shot from 15 yards to close within a point with seven minutes remaining. The Browns were able to run out five minutes off the clock before punting with two and a half minutes to go. Starr took over at the Packer 16, and was sacked by Bill Glass for a ten yard pass. Starr then attempted a post pattern to Dowler. But, Cleveland safety Ross Fichtner picked the pass off and sealed the victory with a 24 yard interception return for a touchdown. Browns RB Leroy Kelly gained 102 yards on the day. In addition to the two goal line stands, the Browns defense caused three second half fumbles, two by Dowler.
Baltimore, Nov. 5 – The Green Bay Packers stumbled out of the gate but regained their form with seventeen second quarter points to defeat the Baltimore Colts, 34-19. The victory was Green Bay’s eleventh consecutive win. Their last defeat came here in Baltimore on December 10, 1966. An early interception by Bart Starr and a muffed punt by Willie Wood set the Colts up for two first quarter turnovers and an early 13-7 lead. Starr led the Packers on three consecutive scoring drives in the second quarter to take an eleven point halftime lead. Starr finished the game with an efficient 16 of 24 for 165 yards. His counterpart, Johnny Unitas, completed 17 of 37 attempts but managed a mere 104 aerial yards against the league leading Packer defense.
Green Bay running back Jim Grabowski gained a game-high 62 yards as the Packers outgained the Colts 335 to 198 yards. After a scoreless third quarter, Lou Michaels hit a pair of field goals to close the Packer lead to five points. However, Green Bay responded with a 20 yard chip shot by Don Chandler to push their lead to eight points with only five minutes remaining for Unitas to work any magic. On the Colts’ second play, it appeared Bob Jeter ended Baltimore dreams with an interception. However, Green Bay was flagged for pass interference on an underneath route, and Unitas was granted a second life. But even a second life is a difficult one against this Packer defense which held Unitas and the Colts on downs. Baltimore held Green Bay to three plays, but Donnie Anderson’s punt pinned the Colts deep at their own nine yard line. In the end, it was Jeter who cashed in on a second chance as the Packer cornerback jumped in front a pass intended for Tom Matte and raced nineteen yards for the final score. It was Jeter’s eighth interception of the season.
The Packers will return to Lambeau Field next week to host the Cleveland Browns. The loss was crucial to the Colts who dropped two games behind the Los Angeles Rams in the Coastal Division. The Rams will host the Colts on the final weekend of the season.
Washington, Oct. 29 – The Baltimore Colts, down fourteen points and riding a three game losing streak, bounced off the mat to rally past the Washington Redskins, 42-28. The Redskins proved to be hospitable hosts with five turnovers that contributed to the Colts’ revival. Bob Boyd stepped in front of A.D. Whitfield and intercepted Redskin quarterback Sonny Jurgensen with a minute and twenty-six seconds left in the first half. Boyd raced down the sidelines 33 yards for a touchdown. The clubs entered their locker rooms at halftime tied at 21.
The teams exchanged turnovers to open the second half, and Lou Michaels missed a 53 yard attempt midway through the third quarter. On the Colts’ next possession, Jerry Hill plunged in from three yards to give Baltimore its first lead. The touchdown was set up by Unitas’ 33 yard pass to Tom Matte to the Redskins three yard line. However, the Redskins responded with a counterpunch of their own as Jurgensen found tight end Jerry Smith in the end zone for a 19 yard strike.
In the fourth quarter, Unitas led the Colts to the shadow of the Redskins’ goal posts, but Michaels shanked an 11 yard attempt. Jurgensen gaffed on the subsequent play by fumbling the snap, and Dennis Gaubatz recovered for the Colts. After Matte scampered for eight yards, Unitas found his tight end, John Mackey, for a 10 yard touchdown. The frustrated Redskins were flagged for an intentional face-masking penalty on the play, but Michaels failed to pin the Redskins deep by kicking the ball in the end zone for a touchback. However, Boyd intercepted Jurgensen a second time and set Unitas and the Colts up at the Washington 41. Unitas converted a pair of third downs. The second conversion went for another touchdown as Unitas hit Mackey again for an 18 yard score. Scrambling away from the persistent Colts pass rush, Jurgensen fumbled away the Redskins final opportunity and Ordell Braase recovered for Baltimore. Matte, Hill, Jerry Lorick and Lenny Moore took turns running out the clock as the crowd at D.C. Stadium filed out.
The loss dropped the Redskins into a first-place tie with the Dallas Cowboys who defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, 13-3. The Colts return home to host the undefeated Green Bay Packers.
This game story is dedicated to the boys at the Fell’s Point Diner.
Boston – The Boston Patriots (1-5-1) stunned the undefeated Oakland Raiders (5-0-1) with two touchdowns within a two minute span in the fourth quarter to tie the Western Division leaders, 31-31. The AFL’s leading rusher Jim Nance rushed for 145 yards, and scored the first of the two fourth-quarter touchdowns on an 80 yard reception and run with 10:45 remaining in the game. The final and game tying score occurred three plays later as Ed Philpott sacked Raider QB Daryle Lamonica who fumbled the ball. Patriot LB Nick Buoniconti scooped up the ball and rumbled 36 yards for a Boston touchdown that left the Raiders stunned and Fenway Park frenzied.
Lamonica subsequently drove the Raiders to the Patroit twenty, but PK George Blanda missed a 27-yard attempt with 3:58 left. It was Blanda’s second miss in five attempts. He earlier kicked a 45-yard field goal in the first quarter. The Patriots could not maintain possession, and were forced to punt. But, Patriot punter Terry Swanson pinned Oakland deep at their own two-yard line which secured the tie. Oakland maintains its lead in the West by virtue of their 20-14 victory over the Chiefs at home on October 1.
In other AFL action, the Chiefs defeated the Houston Oilers, 24-14, as Mike Garrett gained 108 yards in the win. Otis Taylor caught two of Len Dawson’s three touchdown passes on the afternoon. The Jets knocked off the Dolphins by the same 24-14 score to tie the Oilers for the AFL Eastern Division lead. In Denver, Dickie Post scored two touchdowns in the final three minutes to rally the San Diego Chargers past the upset-minded Broncos, 25-22. Denver kicker Bob Humphreys missed a possible game-tying 47-yard field goal attempt with 11 second remaining.