Awesome Rams Post Game Article (1945)
A couple of threads about Rams nicknames and biggest Ram feats led me to this gem of a piece. For any who have not seen this already, enjoy. If you have, enjoy it anyways!
Cleveland, Dec. 16. — Twice the football hit the goal posts and twice it bounced the wrong way for the Redskins here today as the Cleveland Rams won the National Football League championship by nosing out the Washingtonians, 15-14, in huge Municipal Stadium before 32,178 practically frozen spectators.
It was a galling pill for the Redskins to swallow as the Rams walked off the field with the lion's share of the richest spoils in playoff history — $164,542.80. They went down trying to the very last and barely missed pulling victory out of the fire twice in the final four minutes when two desperate field goal attempts and Joe Aguirre went awry.
The first of the two unique goal post incidents came early in the first period when Sammy Baugh, behind his own goal line and trying to pass the Redskins out of a deep hole, saw the ball slip off his fingers and strike the posts, bouncing back into the end zone for an automatic safety and two points for the Rams.
Those two points were to be the difference between victory and defeat for the Rams.
Freak Bounce Helped
And then, late in the second quarter the Rams scored their first touchdown. And, on the conversion attempt, a horde of Redskin linemen broke through and partially blocked Bob Waterfield's conversion attempt. The ball skidded over the bunched players and struck the crossbar, bounced only a few inches into the air and barely cleared the bar. It fell on the right side for the Rams and the wrong side for the Redskins. That precious moment meant victory by a single point instead of a tie.
The much-heralded pitching duel between Sammy Baugh and Bob Waterfield failed to materialize when Baugh's bruised rib received an early jolt and he had to leave the game. He played part of the first period and only a few minutes more during the remainder of the game but the injury that has been dogging him for the past month finally caught up with him at the most inopportune moment. He had been playing with the handicap the past month and thought he could squeeze by today, but it wasn't to be.
Waterfield more than lived up to advance notices, but he didn't steal the show completely. The Redskins' Frank Filchock, understudy to Baugh throughout the year, stepped into the desperate situation and came through nobly, at least getting a draw with Cleveland's "Beautiful Bob" in the pitching department. Each pitched two touchdown passes but Waterfield's running game and the marvelous ability of Jim Benton to shake himself loose from Redskins defenders was the big difference. But at that Cleveland wouldn't have won had it not been for the crazy bounces of the football off the goal posts.
The Rams' alert line clearly outplayed the bigger Redskin wall.
Led by Riley "Rattlesnake" Matheson, Eberle Schultz, Mike Scarry and Mike Lazetich, the Rams were playing in ultra-high gear and restricted the Redskin running game to a mere 32 yards, a mark only 10 yards better than the lowest in playoff history, 22 yards, established also by the Redskins in that ill-fated 73-0 debacle of 1940 against the Bears.
The field, despite an all-week-long covering of 9000 bales of straw, special paper and a tarpaulin, was frozen solid, making footing hazardous and providing many slips and slides. Last night's early snow flurry also had both ends of the field white and dangerous looking. The players, despite the handicaps Mother Nature threw their way, performed admirably, and in spite of near-zero weather, only two fumbles were recorded, one by each club.
Rams Ran Away
The Rams' running attack was vastly superior to that of the Redskins. Jim Gillette, former University of Virginia ace, Don Greenwood and Fred Gehrke were romping through and around the Redskin line for 180 yards, which, when compared to the Redskins' meager total of 32, gave Waterfield a lift and helped make his passes that much more successful.
Waterfield's record for the day was 14 completions, two for touchdowns, in 27 attempts, good for a total of 192 yards. Baugh completed one to Bagarus for merely a yard in six tries while Filchock chucked for 178 yards in completing eight out of 14, including his two for scores.
But Filchock's running game was doing him wrong. Steve Bagarus, Merlyn Condit, Frank Akins, and Bill DeCorrevant couldn't unravel themselves from the embraces of Matheson, Scarry and the rest of the harder-charging Ram forwards, who were steadfastly refusing all day to be taken out of plays by Redskin would-be blockers. Akins, incidentally, received a broken nose on the first play of the ball game but still persisted in playing. He picked up eight yards on that initial play but after that was stopped.
The Redskins' longest run was for 5 yards by Bob DeFruiter, former Nebraska halfback. Outside of those two jaunts, the Rams were throwing the Redskin ball carriers for as much as the Redskins were able to gain the rest of the time.
Ki Aldrich was a bulwark backing the line for the Redskins and in addition he intercepted the only two Waterfield passes the Redskins grabbed all day. Fred Davis, veteran Wayne Millner, Johnny "Tree" Adams and Joe Ungerer were other Redskins playing worthwhile ball on defense.
Early the Redskins had to halt a Ram drive on their 5-yard line, only to have disaster strike when Baugh's misdirected pass crashed into the goal posts when it looked like the Redskins might work their way out of trouble and get away with something.
Waterfield's passes to Benton for 11 and 30 yards featured a drive that started from the Ram 21 and carried to the Redskin 5 before stalling. Gehrke slipped in a couple of runs of 8 and 16 yards but on fourth down, 2 to go on the Redskin 6, the Redskin line arose to throw back Gillette with only a yard and took over.
Baugh went into punt formation, but fumbled a bad pass from center and deliberately grounded a pass upfield. The ensuing penalty put the Washingtonians back on their 2½ half, from which spot Baugh aimed his pass at Millner, who was open somewhere in the neighborhood of the 10-yard line. The ball smacked into the post and the Rams had their two points. Only 9:20 of the game had lived at that point.
Aldrich's first pass interception put in motion the Redskins' second quarter touchdown drive of 48 yards which ended on a 38-yard pass play for Filchock to Bagarus. Frank heaved far and wide down the sidelines to the elusive former Notre Damer, who outfoxed Waterfield to catch the ball and then squirmed away from him on the 12 yard line to race unmolested over the goal. Aguirre added the point and it was 7-2, Redskins.
The Rams came butting back and, with only 3½ minutes remaining of the half, went into a 9-7 lead with a 37-yard Waterfield-to-Benton heave that ended a drive of 70 yards. A 19-yard gallop by Gillette and another 14-yard Waterfiel-to-Benton aerial helped along.
At the 37 Waterfield faded back, chased by several Redskins, and unloosed one of his jackpot heaves that caught the flying Benton in full stride on the 8, a full step ahead of Les Dye. Benton danced across as Dye dived desperately but could only touch his ankles.
Came the Break<BR> That's when Waterfield skidded his point off the crossbar.
The Rams tallied their second and final touchdown in the early minutes of the third period on another bolt of lightning by Waterfield, this time to Gillette, who, like Benton, was in full stride as he took the ball on the 10 and raced over out of reach of Aldrich. It was a 44-yard job and wound up an 81-yard drive that wasn't to be stopped despite a 15-yard holding penalty against the Clevelanders.
But back came the Redskins to match the score with a 70-yard drive of their own just one play before the third period passed into history. De Fruiter put it in motion with his 15-yard splurge before Filchock hit Bagarus with a pass down the middle and Bagarus fled toward the goal line only to be brought down by Gehrke from behind on the six.
Here Filchock lost eight trying to pass and Rosato picked up seven and Condit two to make it fourth down, goal to go on the eight. Filchock faded far back and heaved into the end zone where Bob Seymour was surprisingly alone after a great fake and a burst of speed that dazzled and befuddled the entire Ram left side. Aguirre again kicked the point.
The ball changed hands eight times during a frantic fourth period that found the Rams pressing for the clincher and the Redskins striving mightily ato avert it and grab any kind of a score for themselves.
Eventually the Redskins came up with the ball on their own 24 when Ram Back Pat West attempted a latteral to Gillette after taking a pass from Waterfield. The ball bounced around on the frozen turf as Aldrich pounced on it.
After a couple of line plays, Filchock tossed a pass to Dye, who took off down the sidelines and flew 44 yards before Waterfield pushed him out of bounds on the 31. Three line plays by Bagarus and Condit gained only seven yards to the 24 and in came Aguirre to try for the field goal. With him came Baugh to hold.
They went back to the 31 where Aguirre swung his foot. As the ball sailed high everybody held his breath as referee Ronald Gibbs hesitated momentarily before waving the "No Good" signal. The leather was only a few feet to the right. It was kicked from a slight angle. At that time only 6:16 remained.
A little later the Redskins came up with the bal on the Washington 42 after Bagarus brought a Waterfield punt back 18 yards. A Filchock-to-Hare pass was good for 13 and another by the same combination picked up 7, but again the Redskins bogged down and Aguirre's try for a three-pointer from the 46 fell far short. Only 2:10 remained then.
And that was the ball game because the next time the Redskins got the ball the Rams' Albie Reisz intercepted Filchock's very first pass on the Redskins 49 and ran it back to the 29 where Waterfield very calmly sat on the ball as the clock ran out.
Re: Awesome Rams Post Game Article (1945)
As you said, even if it had been read before, I enjoyed it anyways! :up:
That was a thrilling game (while the unis were so homely [Go funny-looking Rams!]). The reporting style was different too. That, I like. Also, you can see some of the players mentioned here that now appear in other Clan threads, such as Alpha's 'Name a Rams RB, past or present'; nice reference.
:clanram: Thanks for the long flashback, MOM!
Re: Awesome Rams Post Game Article (1945)
Here's atidbit-- Sammy Baugh and Bob Waterfield were one two in quaterback rating that year. The only other time quarterbacks were rated one two was by another Ram team-- Rams 2001, Kurt Warner and Marc Bulger. ( taken from NFL Archives, LA Co. Library)
Re: Awesome Rams Post Game Article (1945)
They don't name 'em like they used to, either.
Riley "Rattlesnake" Matheson, Eberle Schultz, Mike Scarry and Mike Lazetich,
When is the last time you heard someone name their kid 'Eberle'?