“The primeval goo of the gridiron at Busch Stadium fascinated New York coach Allie Sherman after his Giants gained a 10-10 tie to spoil the football Cardinals' mam chance of staying In their division title race.
Had he ever seen anything like that mud on which the game was played on yesterday's rain-drenched afternoon especially the mud that surrounded the emerald spot of infield grass? Sherman thoughtfully tapped an unlighted cigarette, looked at it, smiled and said, "Well, there is mud and there is mud, but I don't think I've ever seen a deeper and stickier kind before." The mud and the downpours that caused it possibly equalized a game that would otherwise have found the Cardinals mora forceful titan the Giants. Sherman himself gave some support to this idea when he said he was "sorry to see a field like that, particularly for the Cardinals who had so much going for them at this point." Wally Lemm and his Card needed the sympathy because the Jan. 1 Playoff Bowl game at Miami, Fla., for division runner-up teams is not nearly so rich in money or prestige as the Dee. 27 championship game. "We're still not out of it." Lemm said, but the chances are much better for second place than for first in the National Football Leagues eastern division. Cleveland has yet to play Green Bay at Milwaukee, Philadelphia at home and St. Louis and New York away. Two victories would clinch the title for the Browns
The fans watched the mud-covered players' efforts to hold the ball, throw it or run with it with interest and amusement good entertainment under the lights at Busch Stadium. But at the finish some in the crowd booed the Cards for holding the ball deep in their territory and letting the clock run out the last 30 seconds without an attempt for another gambling play to break the tie. Lemm denounced this critical reaction after admitting that he had made a mistake moments earlier in having Jim Bakken try for a 52-yard field goal. "Anybody who questions why we held the ball doesn't know much," the Cardinal coach said. "Our chance of doing anything was so slim and the chance of giving the ball away was to great that there was no question it was the right thing to do. "We took our chance on kick lng the field goal and if I had that decision to make over again, I'd call for a punt. But I was thinking only that a field goal attempt would have the aame effect as a punt." Shooting from the shotgun formationwhich the Cards employed throughout the second half Charley Johnson had rnoved the Big Red for one first down before that fourth-quarter kicking situation. When Charley's shotgun jammed, Bakken attempted the field goal from his 48. Andy Stynchula blocked the ball and Jerry Hillebrand recovered it on the Card 45. Steve Thurlow, the rookie Giant halfback who was the best mudder on the field, ran for 10 yards and veteran Alex Webster, at fullback throughout for the injured Ernie Wheelwright, added two more yards. Here, Y. A. Tittle got out his thinking cap. He recalled tha alley-oop pass of his San Francisco days to hia old 49er team, mate, R. C. Owens, now also with the Gianta, and flipped the alley-ooper to the 6-3 Owens in a bid for victory. It didn't work because Pat Fischer made his eighth inter ception of tha season and hli second of the game near the goal line. This gave the Cards the ball, on which, after two running plays, they sat. Whatever edge the Giants enjoyed in this game was due to Thurlow, who made third-down plays good for first downs four times, carried the ball 22 times for 61 yards (a 2.7 average that was good in the mud), and fumbled only once. "He has good running balance," Sherman commented. - There were nine fumbles in the game, four by the Cards and five by the Giants, but each side lost the ball only once on these lapses. And there were two interceptions each far Tittle and Johnson. Lemm said Johnson went to the improvised shotgun formation to minimize tha risk of slipping in the mud and falling victim to the pass rush. "We hadn't practiced it before, but all the patterns and blocking assignments were normal," the coach said. - Tight end Aaron Thomas made an excellent recovery from a slip to catch a 21-yard scoring pass from Tittle to give the Giants an early lead. New York started the drive on the Card 47 after Stynchula recovered Johnson’s fumble.
Johnson, however, also scored with a touchdown pass, a 15-yarder to Bobby Joe Conrad that put the Cards ahead, 10-7 in the third period. This was set up by Bill Roman's recovery of Webster's fumble on the Giant II. A moment earlier a Cardinal drive, helped by three straight pass interference calls against tha Giants, had carried to the I5 before Hillebrand intercepted a Johnson pass. Bakken had kicked a 26-yard field goal for the Cards In the second quarter.
Giants weren't in very good shape even before the game, having put John LoVetere, Dick Pesonen, Jack Stroud and Del Shofner on injured reserve.”