American Conference 28
National Conference 27
January 14, 1951
By Dave Lewis
Long Beach Independent
LOS ANGELES COLISEUM, Jan. 14- The Cleveland Browns' great quarterback, Otto Graham, spearheaded a spirited surge late in the third quarter by crashing over for two touchdowns within a period of two minutes to lead the American Conference All-Stars of the NFL to a spectacular 28-27 victory over the National Conference before 53,676 spectators here today in the first annual "Pro Bowl" classic.
For his magnificent work field general for the Paul Brown coached Americans, Graham was chosen the game's outstanding performer by sports writers after the game.
The professional "dream game" featuring 62 of the game's outstanding stars, was more than just another post-season exhibition. All of the players were leveling and the play was as fierce and bitter as that ever seen in a championship struggle.
There was no scoring in the fourth quarter as the game developed into a grim defensive duel, but all through the final 15 minutes the Americans were on the move- once reaching the 3- and at the end were perched on the Nationals' 13-yard line after Bullet Bill Dudley had intercepted a last-second desperation pass by Norm Van Brocklin.
Bob Waterfield passed the Nationals to a touchdown in the first four minutes of play with such ease that it appeared as if the Western part of the circuit would have little trouble scoring a smashing win . . . especially when the dynamic play of the National Conference's massive defensive line of Larry Brink, Fred Davis, Thurman McGraw. Ray Bray. Dick Huffman and Ed Sprinkle backed up by Bulldog Turner and Norm Standlee snuffed out every American thrust in the opening minutes of play.
Clever switches in offensive assignments and defensive patterns by the shrewd Brown, pacing up and down the sidelines, finally began taking effect late in the third period.
That's when the Americans gained the whip hand....but not until they had fallen behind the Nationals, 27-14
Once the American began moving, though, they soon had the situation well under control. The Nationals failed to register a serious scoring threat after their final touchdown, which came in the first 5'/2 minutes of play in the third quarter. In fact, the Nationals operated from deep in their own territory for the final 24 1/2 minutes of the game.....their farthest advance up field coming late in the final period when they reached the American 37 before Harry Gilmer intercepted Waterfield's pass and returned 20 yards to the National 48.
With the tremendous play of the rival defensive lines made it virtually impossible to run. In fact, the Americans netted only 23 yards on the ground to the Nationals 24.
Thus, the two teams took to the air.....throwing a total of 79 passes.
Graham played virtually the entire game on offense for the winning Americans while Joe Stydahar of the Nationals used four quarterbacks...Waterfield, Van Brocklin, Frankie Albert and Johnny Lujack.
All three National touchdowns came on passes....Waterfield hurling two and Van Brocklin one. Albert, engineered the Nationals into position for the first Waterfield field goal while Van Broklin was at the helm for the second 3-pointer by "Waterbuckets."
Graham, of course, scored twice himself in addition to tossing one TD aerial while Dudley accounted for the first touchdown on a spectacular 53-yard punt return.
The Nationals needed only four plays to advance 54 yards their first touchdown the first time they handled the ball....the payoff pitch being 21-yarder from the Los Angeles Ramsí deadly aerial combination, Waterfield to end Tom Fears. Waterfield's placement made it 7-0.
The Americans only scoring threat in the first 13 minutes was a field goal attempt by Lou (The Toe) Groza from the 50-yard line which fell short.
However the Americans struck for their first tally with 1:45 left in the session when Dudley streaked 53 yards with a punt for the TD. Groza's placement knotted the count at 7-7.
The punt return was one of the most exciting plays of the game. Dudley gathered in the kick on his 47, hut ran into a trap as he crossed the midfield stripe. However, he circled back to the 50 to escape the onrushing tacklers and then found running room as he swung wide to the north sidelines behind a quickly-formed cordon of blockers. He was nailed on the 5-yard line and knocked off his feet, but the tackler rolled over him and Dudley promptly got up and scampered the remaining distance to the goal line.
Waterfield again sent the Nationals out in front 3:20 after the second quarter began with a 30-yard field goal....but the Americans retaliated with a touchdown a minute later on a 43-yard aerial thrust.
The scoring play was a pass from Graham to Bob Shaw, who was several yards behind the National safely man and just walked across the goal line. Graham was trapped as he went back to pass then wheeled out of the cup and swung wide to his right. The secondary automatically drew in to him, leaving Shaw wide open. Graham suddenly stopped and whipped the payoff pass to the Chicago Cardinal end.
Groza's kick made it 14-10.
Waterfield added another field from the 27 with six minutes left to play in the half....cutting the count to 14-13.
Three minutes later the Nationals forged into a 20-14 lead after a costly American fumble.
Gene Roberts of the Giants recovered for the Nationals on the American 22.
Van Brocklin fired a 17-yard pass to Dan Edwards, who made a diving catch on the five, and then hit Fears in the end zone on the next play for the tally. Waterfield's kick gave the Nationals their 6-point halftime margin.
A 65-yard aerial strike from Waterfield to Edwards and Waterbuckets' conversion boosted the National lead to 27-14 after 5 Ĺ minutes of the third period.
Thatís when the Americans took command of the game.
A partially-blocked punt set the stage for the Americans' winning surge....Arnie Weinmeister deflecting Dick Hoerner's quick kick, which eventually rolled dead on the National 44.
Graham passed the Americans into scoring position on the 6 yard line, then "sneaked" over from that point in a furious drive behind the ferocious blocking of Chicago Cardinals 250 pound guard, Fischer. Pat Harderís conversion put the Nationalís lead to 27-21.
On the second play following the kickoff, Van Brocklin's pass was intercepted by Chuck Bednarik, who rumbled 21 yards to the National 19-yard line.
Graham passed 10 yards to Shaw on the 9-yard line....then, on the same play he scored on two minutes earlier, drove over the goal line behind Fischer's path-clearing charge. Harder then added the- extra point that broke the 27-27 tie and gave the Nationals their victory margin!
Graham scores first of two third period touchdowns.