Lombardi, who was sold by Frank Gifford on big, strong halfbacks who can throw adequately, saw another Gifford in Hornung. He moved the handsome blond youngster from fullback to halfback, and Hornung responded beautifully. Lombardi still needs a good fullback, but in Hornung at halfback he has a tremendous running and passing threat which has jelled the Packer offense.
The defense reflects the cold, icy-bright mind that is a part of Lombardi. He hasn't moved himself to tears recently during a half-time exhortation, but the sentimental streak in his nature is still valuable to him.
He traded for Lamar McHan, the moody, unpredictable quarterback of the Chicago Cardinals, between seasons. McHan, who has all the physical equipment and skills to be one of the best, had never quite made it under the various Cardinal coaches. He has been the moving force for the Packers under the wise, understanding and gentle guidance of Lombardi.
"All he needed was confidence," Lombardi said. "I tried to give it to him."
Said McHan early in the season when Lombardi stuck by him through a series of mishaps: "You got to put out for a guy like that. If you know he believes in you, what else can you do?"
While the Packers perched rather precariously atop the Western Conference, the rest of the teams in the NFL continued to flout the odds. The Los Angeles Rams, bolstered by the acquisition of Carl Karilivacz to plug a lamentably leaky secondary defense, outscored the so far disappointing Chicago Bears 28-21. The Baltimore Colts, a team which seemed nearly unbeatable last year, had to rally vigorously in the fourth period to beat the winless Detroit Lions. Johnny Unitas, the incomparable Baltimore quarterback, saved the game in the closing minutes with a 54-yard pass-and-run play to Raymond Berry. But the Colts, off their two narrow victories and one defeat so far this season, seem lethargic and even a bit elderly. They are, however, still the strongest threats to the Packers and to the San Francisco 49ers.
Defense, long a trademark of the New York Giants, stood them in good stead again as they defeated the Cleveland Browns 10-6. A week ago, with a defensive back on the sidelines with an injury, the Giants could find no effective measure to contain the passes of one of the league's best, Philadelphia's Norman Van Brocklin. This week, with the defense reasonably healthy, New York had little trouble with the Brown pass offense, which is sadly lacking. Concentrating on stopping the Browns on the ground, the Giants won, although their own offense was not impressive.
Van Brocklin, the particular demon who bedeviled the Giants last week, continued to throw strikes against Pittsburgh. In a game matching two of the oldest and boldest of pro quarterbacks, Van Brocklin outpitched Pittsburgh's Bobby Layne 28-24 to put Philadelphia in a three-way tie with the Giants and the Redskins for the Eastern Conference lead.
The Redskins, still playing scared after Coach Mike Nixon two weeks ago threatened to fire 19 players if they did not improve, whipped the Chicago Cardinals 23-14. Ralph Guglielmi, the old Notre Dame quarterback, took over from the spectacular but largely ineffective Eddie LeBaron to engineer the Redskin victory.
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