The six interceptions—four off John Brodie, who started the game, and two off Tittle—were the result of a closely coordinated pass defense. "The line, the linebackers and the secondary worked together very well," Ewbank said. "We put enough pressure on their passer, and the linebackers, particularly, did a fine job." The Colt linebackers have intercepted 13 passes this season, four of them in this game. Don Shinnick alone has six interceptions, which must be close to a record for linebackers.
The Giants hit an offensive peak against the Browns, behind Charlie Conerly, a quarterback who ages as gracefully as wine. The two Giant lines—offense and defense—established astonishing mastery over Cleveland. A pro scout, watching from the press box, was awed.
"I've never seen anything like it," he said. "They don't have to red dog on defense. The four big men put on enough pressure. And no Brown has gotten through the Giant offensive line. I've never seen a line take a whipping like that before. The Giants are on them like mad dogs."
The Giants, who like beating Cleveland more than any other team in the league, completely dominated the game. Cleveland had injuries: Ray Renfro, one of its top receivers, was out with a pulled muscle; Walt Michaels, a key linebacker, was hurt and some of the other Cleveland linemen were hobbled by various sprains and contusions. Jim Brown, Cleveland's phenomenal fullback, was knocked silly by a cracking collision with the Giant line, abetted by Linebacker Sam Huff, early in the game. He played in a daze for most of the first period before he was taken out.
But it would have made little difference had all the Browns been healthy. Conerly called a beautifully intelligent game, sending his receivers scooting into gaps in the Cleveland secondary time and again' and throwing with marvelous accuracy. The Giants, after running Washington out of Yankee Stadium last week, passed the Browns out of contention in this game. Conerly threw 21 times, completed 14 for 271 yards and three touchdowns; Don Heinrich, the much-booed replacement for the Giants' old pro, had a respectable 8 of 16 for 92 yards and one touchdown.
The supposedly sophisticated New York fans poured out of the stands about two minutes before the game ended and made a determined effort to tear down the goal posts while the two teams were going through the motions of finishing the game. Police were powerless to stop them; then the public-address announcer informed the unruly that unless they cleared the field, the game could be declared forfeit to the Browns. In the face of so grievous a contingency, the mob reluctantly squeezed itself behind the side and end lines and the game was played out.
"I wouldn't have asked for a forfeit even if the last two minutes of the game hadn't been played," Cleveland Coach Paul Brown said afterward. He had discreetly led his warriors to the dressing room when the New York fans invaded the field, returning when order was restored. "We didn't even belong on the same field with them today," he added.
Brown's sentiments were not echoed by Coach Red Hickey of San Francisco. "We gave it all we had," he said dolefully after his loss to Baltimore. "We played a far better game than we played against them in Baltimore. But we just couldn't cope with them. This Baltimore team hasn't any flaws. And they've got a great bench. Ameche gets hurt and they send in Pricer and it doesn't slow them down at all. And Davis goes out and they've got another defensive halfback just about as good. We had some boys crippled up, but that didn't matter. You're not fit to play in this league if you can't disregard minor injuries. That's the mark of a pro and our boys were pros today."
Then, in answer to a question, he sounded an unwitting warning to the Giants.