"He's just a number in the backfield," said Dick Lynch, the defensive back, before the game. "That's the way Robustelli wants us to think." The idea, as Lynch expressed it, was not to build up Brown past the point of reality. "In fact I've already talked about him too much," Lynch concluded.
Much of the credit for stopping Brown in the past has gone to Sam Huff, the middle linebacker. Huff deserves some of it, but not as much as he gets, and he himself is the first to admit it. Explains a member of the Giant front office: "When Tom Landry was defensive coach, we used a system that funneled outside plays in. Huff was the beneficiary of an all-team effort, but for a few games there it looked to 63,000 people, sports-writers included, as if Sam was stopping Jimmy Brown all alone."
When Brown swings wide, the job of bringing him down is up to the corner-backs, Dick Lynch and Erich Barnes, and Jim Patton, the safety man. "You have to get your arms around him and keep your feet going," Patton said. "I always try to hit him around the waist. Brown doesn't run you down the way Jim Taylor does. He doesn't give you that low shoulder. He yields a little, which is why you have to keep after him."
None of the Giants seemed overly concerned that for the first time they would be meeting a Browns team not coached by Paul Brown. More than any other team, the Giants used to have the book on Paul Brown, and what's more the Cleveland players knew it. "I would not say we could anticipate every play," Lynch said, after the Giant practice, "but we had it narrowed down pretty well." But now Paul Brown and his book were gone.
"There aren't that many rets," said Huff. "Oh, maybe you can change your blocking a little, but if we execute okay on defense, we'll be all right. And we always execute well against the Browns. We tackle, we pursue. I don't know why it is, but we love to beat the Browns. You'll see."
More than 62,000 people came to Yankee Stadium last Sunday to see—and thousands of others watched on television. The Giants tackled and pursued and, usually, executed well. The Browns, who had indeed changed their blocking, executed better and sprung Jim Brown loose for three touchdowns and a 35-24 victory.
As the Browns had expected, the New York defense blitzed a lot, and early on, a blitz got them a touchdown. Ryan had just stung a Giant blitz by throwing a screen pass to Jim Brown for 10 yards and a first down. As he faded to throw again, back-pedaling quickly, the Giant linebackers came in on him. His line picked up the blitzers, but Ryan's throw was hurried and a trifle short, and Dick Lynch sliced in front of the Cleveland receiver on the sideline to pick off the ball and take it 47 yards for the first Giant touchdown.
The tone of the game was established with the next Cleveland series. Ryan called an automatic pass to his tight end, Johnny Brewer, as the Giant linebackers poured in again, and the pass carried 19 yards. He then faked a handoff to Jim Brown, tossed out to Halfback Ernie Green, who swept the Giant right end for 14 yards. Using the option blocking Collier has installed, Brown next dipped in toward the Giant tackle and then, finding that his blocker had taken his man toward the inside, bellied out and around, making 13 yards to the New York 22.
Brown was a decoy again on the next play, when Ryan flicked a quick pitch-out to Green, who skirted the pinched-in defense to the 12-yard line. A few moments later, Brown dived high over a pileup at the goal line to score his first touchdown. Ryan, the tall, graying quarterback, had whipsawed the Giant defense almost exactly as planned.
But the Giants were by no means finished. Y. A. Tittle, even under the fierce pressure from the Brown line and linebackers, hit well on short and medium passes, but the Browns had hoped to cut off his long passes to Shofner—and they did.