Min­nesota’s rally falls just short


This time, Pack­ers have an­swers for Tarken­ton, Vik­ings

Edi­tor’s note: This story was orig­i­nally pub­lished Nov. 28, 1966. Min­neapo­lis, Minn. — In one of the most vi­ciously played pro foot­ball games of the sea­son, Green Bay’s ti­tle bid­ding Pack­ers with­stood a se­cond half charge by Min­nesota’s gung-ho Vik­ings Sun­day to carve out a 2816 vic­tory be­fore a chilled mob of 47,426 at Metropoli­tan Sta­dium.

The tri­umph was the ninth in 11 starts for the Pack­ers and en­abled them to take a two game lead over the sud­denly in­ept Bal­ti­more Colts with three to play.

Ea­ger to avenge an ear­lier 20-17 loss to the Vik­ings three weeks ago, the Pack­ers were in no mood to dally as they jumped off to a 21-3 half­time lead.

Then Fran Tarken­ton ral­lied the Vik­ings with a coun­ter­at­tack that had the Pack­ers hang­ing on the ropes.

Min­nesota trailed by only five points, 21-16, af­ter Tarken­ton cli­maxed a breath­tak­ing 96 yard touch­down drive in the fourth quar­ter by hit­ting Dave Os­born on a per­fectly ex­e­cuted 38 yard pass play.

The sell­out crowd, which had lost its voice in the first half, came alive. They stamped their feet with joy af­ter a Packer drive fiz­zled out when Don Chan­dler missed a 36 field goal with three and a half min­utes to play.

The Pack­ers had been putting heavy pres­sure on Tarken­ton.

They had caught him four times, dump­ing him for 35 yards in losses.

But with time run­ning out and a scram­bler like Tarken­ton on the fir­ing line, any­thing could hap­pen. But this time, the Ge­or­gia Peach dipped into his grab bag and came out with a strat­egy that col­lapsed like a soggy bag.

This was the sit­u­a­tion: Two min­utes left, Min­nesota’s ball on its own 48 yard line.

Tark called for the “flea flicker” play. He pitched out to half­back Phil King, who tried to pass but lat­eraled back to Tarken­ton. By this time, Pre­ston Car­pen­ter had ma­neu­vered down­field and Tarken­ton spot­ted him.

But Herb Ad­der­ley read the play like a book. When Tarken­ton fired the pass, Ad­der­ley stepped in front of Car­pen­ter and came up with a key in­ter­cep­tion to pre­serve this im­por­tant vic­tory.

The com­plex­ion of the game quickly changed when rookie full­back Jim Grabowski spun off right tackle, broke away from two Vik­ings in the sec­ondary and wheeled 36 yards for a touch­down which put the game on ice.

Grabowski took over late in the third quar­ter when starter Jim Tay­lor heard bells fol­low­ing a bru­tal tackle. It was that kind of game.

Cen­ter Bill Curry was decked in the first quar­ter and was re­placed by Ken Bow­man, whose dis­lo­cated shoul­der popped out again in the third quar­ter. Other Green Bay ca­su­al­ties were guard Fuzzy Thurston (an­kle) and Chan­dler, who jammed his neck when he raced 33 yards on fourth down to set up the Pack­ers’ first touch­down.

The Vik­ings were hacked up even more. They lost half­back Billy Barnes, line backer Don Hansen, and de­fen­sive back Ed Sharock­man — all reg­u­lars.

Line backer Lon­nie War­wick and de­fen­sive end Jim Mar­shall got theirs, but they came back.

Min­nesota started off strong by tak­ing the open­ing kick-off and march­ing 65 yards to the Packer 12 yard line.

On third down, Tarken­ton scram­bled but stum­bled for a seven yard loss. Fred Cox then booted a 27 yard field goal.

Bart Starr, re­turn­ing to ac­tion af­ter pulling a ham­string mus­cle last week, quickly en­gi­neered a 72 yard touch­down drive in 10 plays.

How­ever, it took a dar­ing run by Chan­dler, who had gone back to punt, to keep the drive alive.

Be­cause of a strong wind, Curry’s snap came back wide. With no time to get his kick away, Chan­dler took off. Aided by a key block by Grabowski, he reached the Min­nesota 17 yard line.

Four plays later Pitts slammed into Min­nesota’s mid-sec­tion, then spun around to score from the one yard line.

Late in the first quar­ter, Wil­lie Davis went af­ter Tarken­ton like a steam shovel.

Not only did he catch the scram­bler but he stripped him of the ball, re­cov­er­ing it on the Min­nesota 37 yard line.

Not one to pass up a break, Starr took the Pack­ers in for their se­cond touch­down.

His pay-off strike to Tay­lor was a lit­tle swing pass that turned into a 14 yard jaunt into pay land.

Fol­low­ing the kick-off, the Pack­ers kept Tark in a pres­sure cooker.

Again, Davis led the charge, forc­ing Fran to pass on the run to Car­pen­ter.

Tom Brown cut in front of Car­pen­ter for an in­ter­cep­tion and wheeled 38 yards for a touch­down, but the play was called back be­cause Davis, the of­fi­cials said, had roughed up Tarken­ton.

Given new life, the Vik­ings moved to the Packer 27 be­fore stalling. Cox at­tempted a 34 yard field goal, but a high pass from cen­ter fouled up his tim­ing and the kick was low.

Green Bay’s ag­gres­sive de­fense came up with an­other big play which set up an­other touch­down. Ad­der­ley stormed in on punter Bobby Walden, block­ing his kick which trav­eled only four yards to the Min­nesota 10 yard line.

This was duck soup for Starr, who on the se­cond play, hit Marv Flem­ing over the mid­dle. The big tight end car­ried three Vik­ings with him into the end zone.

Play­ing with more reck­less aban­don, the Pack­ers han­dled Tarken­ton more ef­fec­tively in this re­match.

Now they have an­other


Pack­ers run­ning back Jim Grabowski (33) scores the first touch­down of his NFL ca­reer on Nov. 27, 1966, against the Vik­ings. Lead­ing the way for Grabowski on the play are Boyd Dowler (86) and Car­roll Dale (84).

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