ROAD TO SUPER BOWL I
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).