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.

Go to 1969 AFL Replay Home Page

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.
Continue reading “Jets Blast Past Raiders for Title.”

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

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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.

Go to 1968 AFL Replay Home Page

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Nelsen Leads Browns’ Charge

Acquired from Pittsburgh in the off season, Bill Nelsen has led a revival in Cleveland as the Browns have rolled in their last two games. Cleveland will face undefeated Baltimore next week.
Acquired from Pittsburgh in the off season, Bill Nelsen has led a revival in Cleveland as the Browns have rolled in their last two games. Cleveland will face undefeated Baltimore next week.

The following is not a summary of historical events, but rather the results of my computer football replay of the 1968 NFL and AFL seasons using Second and Ten football.

Two weeks ago, the Cleveland Browns replaced their starting quarterback and the dreams of championship football reappeared in the rafters of Municipal Stadium. After a loss to the Rams two weeks ago, Bill Nelsen, acquired from Pittsburgh in May, took over for Frank Ryan, the longtime starter who led the Browns to a NFL championship four years ago. What followed bore no resemblance to the Browns team that took the field in the first three weeks. Nelsen led Cleveland to a 44-16 rout over his former team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, in his first start. Nelsen followed that performance yesterday with a 45-3 thrashing of the St. Louis Cardinals. In his two starts, Nelsen has seven touchdown passes with no interceptions, and surpassed Ryan’s yardage total in three starts, 564 yards to 539, in ten fewer completions and twenty-four fewer attempts. Leroy Kelly rushed for 121 yards and 3 touchdowns in the Cardinal win. Nelsen and the Browns will travel to undefeated Baltimore next week for the first true test if championship football has in fact returned to Cleveland.

In other NFL action, the Colts and the Dallas Cowboys remained undefeated with victories over San Francisco and Philadelphia respectively. Baltimore QB Earl Morrall struggled (9-22; 128 yards) but Tom Matte helped the Colts control the ground with 90 yards rushing in the 30-16 victory. Preston Pearson put the game out of reach with a 90 yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter. In Dallas, tight end Pettis Norman caught a pair of touchdown passes in the first quarter as the Cowboys cruised to a 28-3 win. The New York Giants survived a scare down South as they rallied to defeat the Atlanta Falcons, 20-17. Ernie Koy scored the winning touchdown with 1:46 remaining in the game. The winning touchdown was the result of an 11-play 78-yard drive. Atlanta fumbled away a chance to tie when Cannonball Butler fumbled at the Giant 39 with less than a minute left.

Continue reading “Nelsen Leads Browns’ Charge”

Briscoe Rallies Broncos, 27-20.

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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 October 6, 1968, Marlin Briscoe of the Denver Broncos became the first black player to start at quarterback in professional football.

Denver Bronco head coach Lou Saban replaced starting quarterback Steve Tensi with backup Marlin Briscoe halfway through the third quarter. The controversial substitution ultimately paid dividends as Briscoe guided the Denver Broncos to a 27-20 victory over the expansion Cincinnati Bengals. Tensi started the game for the home team, and led the Broncos to a 13-10 halftime lead. After the break, the Bengals made defensive adjustments and began to pressure Tensi. The Bengals sacked Tensi twice in the opening possession of the second half. Following a Denver punt, Cincinnati nearly took the lead on their first possession, but a fumble deep in Bronco territory ended the drive. Saban summoned for Briscoe to the surprise of the crowd at Bears Field. The 14th round draft pick fared no better, and the Bengal pursuit got to him initially as well.
Continue reading “Briscoe Rallies Broncos, 27-20.”

Ryan Era Ends In Cleveland

Frank Ryan (above) will be replaced as the team's starting quarterback against the Steelers this week. Ryan frequently had defensive linemen draped on him this season as he has been sacked 17 times in the first 3 games.
Frank Ryan (above) will be replaced as the team’s starting quarterback against the Steelers this week. Ryan frequently had defensive linemen draped on him this season as he has been sacked 17 times in the first 3 games.

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 theĀ  Century Division, the 2-1 New Orleans Saints.

Continue reading “Ryan Era Ends In Cleveland”

Dolphins, Broncos Pull Off Stunning Upsets

Denver DE Rich Jackson closes on Kansas City QB Len Dawson in the Broncos' 20-14 victory in Kansas City.
Denver DE Rich Jackson closes on Kansas City QB Len Dawson in the Broncos’ 20-14 victory in Kansas City.

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.

These days, the younger generation is challenging the Establishment, and this weekend in the American Football League, it did not matter if you were the established champions for only one year. The last two AFL champions, Oakland and Kansas City, fell from the ranks of the undefeated. On Saturday, the second-year Miami Dolphins floored the defending champion Raiders, 45-24, in an aerial display witnessed by 70,873 at the Orange Bowl. On Sunday, the Denver Broncos revived under second year coach Lou Saban pulled off the weekend’s second upset, a 20-14 defeat of the Kansas City Chiefs on their home turf.

In Miami, the air was filled with footballs as Bob Griese and Daryle Lamonica nearly combined for 800 passing yards. The Dolphins tied the game at 17 with a little over a minute remaining in the first half when Griese found Karl Noonan, the AFL’s leading receiver after three weeks of play, for a 19 yard touchdown pass. Though Miami received the second half kickoff, the anticipation in the press box was these young Dolphins would wilt amidst the hot sun and Raider defense. However, Griese marched the Dolphins to a touchdown with receiver Howard Twilley and fullback Larry Csonka compiling most of the yards. A flagrant face mask penalty helped advance the Dolphins on the drive. On the Raiders next possession, Lamonica threw a deep bomb intended for Fred Biletnikoff that was tipped and fell into the hands of LB John Bramlett who was trailing on the play. Bramlett bulled his way to the Oakland 35 which set up another Dolphin touchdown, Griese’s one yard toss to RB Jim Kiick.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Lamonica closed the Raiders to within a touchdown on a seven yard toss to Hewritt Dixon, but Griese and the Dolphins responded with another Griese-to-Kiick touchdown pass that put the game out of reach with 4:45 left to play. But Lamonica refused to accept that conclusion as he hurled the Raiders down the field with deep passes, but Dick Anderson picked Lamonica off at the three yard line. The Dolphins ran the ball and the clock forcing the Raiders to use their timeouts. Punter Larry Seiple pinned the Raiders at their own one-yard line with 2:24 left. Down by two touchdowns, Lamonica remained undeterred, but again Dick Anderson stepped in front of a Lamonica pass and this time returned it 12 yards for the final dagger in the Raiders’ heart, 45-24.

In Kansas City, the vaunted Chiefs offense failed to gain any traction against the Broncos defense which ranked last in the league in 1967. Denver out-gained the Chiefs, 402 to 130 total yards, but it was a fourth-quarter 25 yard touchdown pass by John Leclair to Billy Van Heusen that proved to be the narrow difference on the scoreboard. Denver rolled to a 13-0 lead in the first half, and appeared to have the game in control until, with under two minutes to go in the half, Leclair was intercepted by Jim Lynch who nearly returned the ball for a touchdown. Lynch was pushed out of bounds at the two, and former Bronco running back Wendell Hayes plunged ahead on the next play for a touchdown. Quarterback Len Dawson took control on the opening possession of the second half by guiding the Chiefs 80 yards for a go-ahead touchdown, a nine-yard pass to Otis Taylor. But the Broncos offense was able to run the ball and the clock, despite a Chiefs interception stopping a third-quarter drive. The Bronco pass rush broke through to apply pressure on Dawson and came up with two key second-half sacks. Dawson finished with eight completions on nineteen attempts and a mere seventy-four passing yards.

In other AFL action, the Buffalo Bills held off the expansion Cincinnati Bengals, 23-20. Paul Robinson rushed for 113 yards and is the league’s leading rusher by one yard over Denver’s Floyd Little. The New York Jets had no trouble disposing of the Boston Patriots, 35-3, at Fenway Park.

Go to 1968 AFL Replay Home Page

Blocked Field Goal Return Wins Game for Dolphins

Larry Csnoka, the Dolphins' first round pick from Syracuse, had an impressive professional debut with 75 yards rushing in the Dolphins' 14-7 upset of the Houston Oilers.
Larry Csnoka, the Dolphins’ first round pick from Syracuse, had an impressive professional debut with 75 yards rushing in the Dolphins’ 14-7 upset of the Houston Oilers.

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.

Miami – The Miami Dolphins blocked a field goal attempt in the closing seconds of the first half and John Bramlett returned it 71 yards for a go-ahead touchdown for a tight 14-7 victory over the defending AFL Eastern Champion Houston Oilers in their opening game of the 1968 season. Rookie Larry Csonka led the Dolphins with 75 yards rushing. The first round pick out of Syracuse helped Miami drown out the clock in the second game as the game was played in a rain storm. Bob Griese completed 12 of 24 passing attempts for a 102 yards including a first quarter touchdown pass to Karl Noonan who led all receivers with eight catches.

Houston tied the game in the second quarter with a 69 yard scoring drive capped by Woody Campbell’s four yard touchdown run. Campbell led Houston with 58 yards on the ground. The Oilers In the final minute of the first half, the Dolphins attempted a fake punt and punter Larry Sieple was intercepted by Miller Farr who returned the ball to midfield. In five plays, Pete Beathard drove his team to the Dolphin six yard line with five seconds remaining. Kicker John Wittenborn’s 23 yard attempt was blocked and Bramlett scooped up the ball and hit paydirt as the clock rattled off the final seconds of the half. The Oilers were unable to recover from the sudden ten point turn-around.

Houston committed three turnovers in the second half, the most costly being a Dick Westmoreland interception at the Dolphin ten yard line in the opening moments of the final stanza. Csonka and the Dolphins ground game chewed up seven minutes off the clock before Beathard would be granted another chance. But the Dolphin defense held the Oilers on downs with 2:51 left as Alvin Reed was stopped a yard short of a first down on a fourth down reception. The Oilers held the Dolphins but Sieple pinned Houston deep at their three yard line with 1:22 remaining. Hoyle Granger, who finished with 117 receiving yards, rescued the Oilers from their deep hole with a 34 yard reception, but again the Dolphins defense held their ground stopping the Oilers thirty yards from a game-tying touchdown.

The Dolphins will next host the AFL Champion Oakland Raiders as the Oilers (0-2) head west to face the San Diego Chargers next Saturday.

Go to 1968 AFL Replay Home Page