When the diminutive and port-footed Tad Weed kicked his third field goal of the evening at 8:33 of the fourth quarter, the outcome of the game for all intent and purposes was settled. The kick that locked the game at All-Stars 30, Browns 20 looked like the last shot out of a Roman candle as it started in flight from 41 yards out. Then a kindly breeze caught it and lifted it over the cross bars with a few feet to spare. Despite a desperate 80-yard drive by the Browns in seven plays to make the final score 30-27 with a little over 2 minutes to go, this was the end.
Actually, Weed's first field goal early in the game may have been more important than his last. This was the original lift the All-Stars needed, and even though the lead changed six times, the All-Stars never felt themselves out of contention. That was the difference between this squad and other All-Star teams of the past.
In my story last week I said in a rather verbose and corny-sounding way: "Unless the professionals treat the game as an outright exhibition or underestimate the intangible of unafraid youth caught fire with a winning desire, the All-Stars' cause is hopeless." And without taking any credit away from a masterful coaching job and the brilliant performance of the All-Stars, this could have happened. Paul Brown said after the game: "I couldn't convince them they had a game on their hands. The difference in the ball game was the word, desire. We were just yawning and going through the motions."
The late Arch Ward would have really enjoyed this game, for the All-Stars actually "outproed" the pros. Head Coach Curley Lambeau and his assistants Steve Owen, Hampton Pool and Hunk Anderson presented the most imaginative and polished offensive and defensive schemes in the entire 22 years of the series. Ralph Guglielmi, playing the entire game at offensive quarterback, directed the attack with unbelievable poise. With ends split wide and backfield flankers set to the right or left, he got the plays off with such quickness that the Browns' defensive unit had trouble adjusting to the strength of the formation. "Gugie" completed 10 out of 19 passes for 129 yards. One was a beautifully conceived touchdown pass to End Henry Hair, ex of Georgia Tech, toward the finish of the second quarter and another went to Halfback L. G. Dupre, ex of Baylor and Baltimore draftee, good for 20 yards to the one-yard line early in the fourth quarter. This was probably the outstanding play of the game. The ball was arched high in the air and directed at the flag in the coffin corner where Dupre caught it going out of bounds. Throughout, the pass protection afforded Guglielmi by the All-Star blockers was superb. Seldom was he pressed or hurried. It was a defense that reminded you of the Browns at their best.
Complete control of the ball was the most unexpected feature of the All-Stars' attack. There is a tried and true maxim around the pros that you can't win games running with the ball. In the third quarter the All-Stars made a monkey of the notion. Their domination was so complete that Cleveland didn't get possession for the first 7 minutes. In the whole period, they never made a first down. Meanwhile the All-Star backs ran over Cleveland tackles as though they owned them. Dickie Moegle, Frank Eidom, Mel Triplett and Bobby Watkins consorted with the always irrepressible Dupre to make life miserable for the Cleveland defense. The All-Stars' ground attack netted a magnificent 200 yards in all.
Cleveland showed brilliant flashes but it did not have the consistency of the All-Stars on attack. Several times the Browns staged unstoppable marches, during which they blended their passing and running beautifully. George Ratterman's debut as a regular was a good one. His ball handling was above reproach and his passing pinpointed as long as he had sufficient protection. Of course, Paul Brown still calls the plays from the bench by alternating substitutions on every play. Ray Renfro ran like the wind. Maurice Basset is a replica of the aging Marion Motley, and the fine Italian hand of Dante Lavelli still has the touch of greatness. But the glaring deficiency in the Browns' offense was not of their own making. They just couldn't get the ball.
A rabid Browns fan thought the team would have fared better with Otto Graham back at quarter. I think Graham is the greatest, but even he can't do much with the ball unless he gets his hands on it. I know one thing for sure, the defensive platoon of the Cleveland Browns will be much improved the next time out, because they will receive full mental and physical attention this week.