THE PROS

October 29, 1956

EASTERN CONFERENCE

The Cleveland Browns, slowly becoming acclimated to the quarterbacking of George Ratterman after 10 years with Otto Graham, must make a new re-adjustment now. Ratterman, sneaking for a first down against the Washington Redskins, hooked his foot under a pileup, and suffered a severe knee injury when he was tackled viciously. It happened in the first quarter; the Browns, thereafter quarterbacked by Substitute Vito (Babe) Parilli, went on to take their third loss in four games 20-9, failing to score a touchdown.

"We have an acute situation," Paul Brown, Cleveland's meticulous coach, said later. "We're not going to ask Otto Graham to return—he's retired, and he has business interests of his own. We are not as good as we were last year—that's obvious to everyone. Ratterman was just beginning to get strong-armed—since his auto accident a couple of years ago, it takes him about a third of a season to develop a strong arm. We'll have to make out the best we can with Parilli, but it would have come to that eventually anyway." Brown signed Tommy O'Connell, the Illinois Rose Bowl quarterback of 1952, to spell Parilli. O'Connell spent the 1953 season with the Chicago Bears and was with them for the first two games of this season after two years in the Air Force. He was signed as a free agent. Defensively, the Browns are as good as ever: in 1955 they allowed their opponents only 61 points in the first four games; this year they have allowed but 60. The offense has scored but 39; last year, 100.

The Chicago Cardinals continued to dominate the East, using an alert pass defense to beat the Philadelphia Eagles 20-6. The Eagles tried a minor surprise when Quarterback Bobby Thomason, who never runs, ran on three occasions to pick up first downs. The New York Giants made themselves at home in Yankee Stadium by battering the Pittsburgh steelers 38-10 before 48,108 fans, largest opening crowd in club history. Quarterback Chuck Conerly warmed up slowly, but when he got hot his aim was unerring, and the wonderful Giant running backs powdered the Pittsburgh line all afternoon. Twice the astute Conerly took advantage of a rookie Pittsburgh defensive back, both times throwing for touchdowns.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Bobby Layne, Detroit Lion quarterback who has weathered eight winters in the corrosive climate of pro football, seems to grow in versatility with age. He kicked two field goals—a new skill for him—against
the San Francisco 49ers to help the Lions squeak past the Coast team 20-17. Howard (Hopalong) Cassady chugged for most of the yardage to set up Layne's final, game-winning boot, which came with only 17 seconds to go. This victory, the fourth in a row for Detroit, confirms suspicions that Coach Buddy Parker has mended all the cracks in the Lion structure. The 49ers found some solace in the running of Hugh McElhenny, who set up touchdowns with 61-and 28-yard gallops.

The Chicago Bears—1956 version—displayed their new and tremendous offense for the edification of their predecessors, the 1920 Decatur Staleys, as they overpowered the Baltimore Colts 58-27. The 1920 and
1921 Staleys were guests of Bear Owner George Halas, who had helped organize the original team, forerunner to the modern Bears. The oldtimers could marvel at the growth of the pros as they watched, for there were 48,364 people in the stands, more customers than the old Staleys would entertain in an entire season. The Bears, who have jelled into a beautifully versatile team, mixed passing and running judiciously, gaining 209 yards on the ground, 268 through the air. This must have pleased Clark Shaughnessy, one of the inventors of the modern T formation and now a vice-president of the club. Shaughnessy, a true genius in football tactics, always contended that an even division of yards gained passing and rushing was the essential ingredient of winning football. Only sour note in the game was George Blanda's first miss of an extra-point try since 1951. Blanda had kicked 156 in a row, a league record, in a span of 53 games.

The Los Angeles Rams continued to have difficulty against passing as they lost to the Green Bay Packers 42-17. Tobin Rote, the tall, lean Texan who quarterbacks the Packers, threw for three touchdowns, pinpointing fellow Rice Alumnus Bill Howton often enough for Howton to break one of Don Hutson's long-standing Packer records—the most yards gained by a pass receiver in a single game. Howton caught seven for 257 yards; Hutson's record was 237 yards, set against the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.

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W

L

T

Pct.

Cardinals

4

0

0

1.000

Giants

3

1

0

.750

Eagles

2

2

0

.500

Steelers

1

3

0

.250

Browns

1

3

0

.250

Redskins

1

3

0

.250

W

L

T

Pct.

Lions

4

0

0

1.000

Bears

3

1

0

.750

Packers

2

2

0

.500

Rams

1

3

0

.250

Colts

1

3

0

.250

49ers

1

3

0

.250

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)