As Allen left the dressing room, he was asked about the stories that he will be through as the Ram coach after this season, no matter what. "I don't want to talk about that," he said. "All I want to do is think about the next game. But if I'm not here, I can guarantee I'll have a job four times as good."
It would be hard to figure out what that job would be if the Rams keep rolling.
Until Sunday it had been a year of frustration, adversity and pain for the Rams, who had to rely on their defense, and even that was weakened, principally on account of a nagging knee injury to Deacon Jones. Two weeks ago, when the Rams defeated the Falcons in Atlanta 17-7, the offense got only three points; after the game a friend suggested to Falcon Coach Norman Van Brocklin that Atlanta should have punted on first down.
The two Los Angeles touchdowns in that game came on an interception by Kermit Alexander (a former 49er) and a 14-yard fumble return by Defensive End Coy Bacon. Ninety of the 207 points scored by the Rams before they played San Francisco Sunday had come from field goals, plays by the defense or specialty teams; the Ram offense had accounted for a measly 16 touchdowns.
In defense of the offense, it must be pointed out that the Rams have not been exactly symbols of flourishing good health. No fewer than 23 of the 40-man squad have been hurt in varying degrees and out of action for varying periods.
"Every week, it seems like we lose a key player," said Allen last week. "Now we've lost Tommy Mason, and he makes a big difference to our running attack. But you can't worry about injuries. All teams have them. You have to work out a way to win in spite of them. We've had a tough time, but I think we'll put it all together for this game."
The Rams arrived in San Francisco a little after noon on Saturday and went directly to Kezar. It was an overcast day, with sprinkles of rain wetting the streets now and then, and the field at Kezar was covered by a tarpaulin. The Rams were to work out in the Golden Triangle, a pie slice of turf beyond one end of Kezar, but when Allen went to look at the Triangle, he found it less than golden—in fact, drab, muddy and slippery—and he called off the practice.
The players were not at all disturbed by not having to work out. Talbert, Maxie Baughan and Ken I man walked across the street from the stadium and ate hot dogs and drank beer or Coca-Colas as they waited for Allen to finish his inspection. A high school game had been played in the old stadium during the week, bringing to 30 the total number played there this year, and Allen was worried about the quality of the held.
Talbert, the least-sung member of the current Fearsome Foursome, played for the University of Texas, and is a notably loose man Under any circumstances. "Those bleeps are good," he said about the 49ers. "You don't lead the division Mess you're good. But when they beat us in Los Angeles, we was flat, and I mean real flat. After the game, even the 49er players said we was flat. But we ain't gonna be flat for this game. We didn't sack Brodie one time in Los Angeles, but I guarantee we're gonna knock his bleep off this time. We're gonna win this one."
In that first game, the Ram defense held the 49ers to only 243 yards of offense—but the Ram offense managed just 205. Brodie, behind redoubtable blocking, completed 13 of 20 passes for 193 yards. Gabriel, on the other hand, threw 35 times, completing only 14 for 126 yards, was dumped three times and was intercepted twice.