West 38

East 25

 

January 19, 1969

 

Jacksonville, Fla. (UPI)- Linebacker Jim Lynch of the Kansas City Chiefs intercepted two passes and recovered an onside kickoff, all in the final seven minutes of play, to pace the West to a come-from-behind 38-25 victory over the East Sunday in the American Football League All Star game.

 

Lynch's last-minute heroics erased a record-setting six-field goal performance by Jim Turner of the New York Jets and a gallant first half show by a limping Joe Namath.

 

Despite rain, which cut into the expected gate sale, a record crowd of 43,800 turned out for this eighth annual AFL All-Star game. The game was nationally televised.

 

Another Chief, Len Dawson, brought the West back from disaster, showing the world champion New York Jets and their East teammates that the West is still alive.

 

The West, trailing 25-13 early in the final quarter, came to life on an 81-yard Dawson to Floyd Little pass play that carried to the East 1-yard line and cut the gap to 25-20 on an end sweep by Hewritt Dixon of the Oakland Raiders. Little took Dawson’s down-and-out toss and fought off defenders all the way to the one.

 

Lynch, the former Notre Dame star, pounced on the ensuing onside kickoff at the East 43 yard line. A 37-yard pass from Dawson, who sat out the first half, to Warren Wells of Oakland, carried the ball to the East six. Four plays later AFL rookie-of-the-year Paul Robinson of Cincinnati ripped across from the one to give the West a 26-25 lead.

 

Robinson, the only AFL runner to gain more than 1,000 yards this past season, then scored on a two-point running play.

 

Moments later, Lynch intercepted a pass from Bob Griese of Miami at the East 37-yard line and ran it all the way to the East one. Robinson went across on the next play.

 

Even with that, Lunch wasn't finished. As Griese tried to bring the East back, Lynch made another interception that set up the West's final score, a 32-yard field goal by Norwegian Jan Stenerud, who also kicked a record 51-yard field goal in the first half and three extra points.

 

Namath, who led the Jets to the AFL championship and then the Super Bowl title over the NFL champ Baltimore Colts, had the East Stars ahead 19-3 at halftime.

 

Playing despite an injured knee, he had the East in front mainly on four field goals by Turner, who led the AFL in scoring last season when he kicked a pro record 34 field goals.

 

The first period ended in a 3-3 tie with Turner having kicked a 27-yard field goal and Stenerud his 51-yarder.

 

But the East, sparked by a 48-yard pass interception return by George Saimes of Buffalo, drove to its only touchdown of the game, which came on a two-yard run by Jim Kiick of Miami in the opening minute of the second period.

 

Namath had the East in scoring position three more times in the second period, but was forced to turn to Turner when receivers dropped apparent touchdown passes and the Jets' place-kicking ace came through with field goals of 16, 19 and 13 yards.

 

Namath won the individual battle of first half quarterbacks over John Hadl of San Diego in spite of the fact it was the middle of the second quarter before he completed his first pass.

 

Griese turned out to have the best statistics- nine of 14 for 97 yards- but it gave the strong young Miami quarterback and East mates little consolation as their two-year victory string over the West was broken.

 

Hoyle Granger of Houston was the leading runner with 79 yards on 20 carries. Robinson topped West runners with 60 yards on 17 carries, including his two touchdowns and the two-point conversion play.

 

Dawson was selected as the offensive player of the game. He was 4 of 9 for 158 yards in the second half. Houston’s George Webster was selected as defensive player of the game.

 

 

Miami's Jim Kiick sneaks under Oakland's Ben Davidson for second quarter touchdown

 

 

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