From the PG Archives: Steeler Record-Wreckers Crush Giants, 63-7
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This story from the Post-Gazette archives was first published on Dec. 1, 1952.
Point Total Highest in Rooney History, Defeat Worst Ever Handed New Yorkers
Bach will be back next year, boys.
Any doubt about the future of the Pittsburgh Steelers skipper, Joseph Anthony Bach, Notre Dame '25, was ended yesterday at frozen, snow-fringed Forbes Field where his underdog Gold and Black proteges finally exploded as they had been threatening to do all season and wrecked the title hopes of the New York Giants by a 63-7 score.
Only 15,140 See Farewell Game
The smallest crowd of the campaign, 15,140, saw Rooney-McGinley U. play one of the greatest games in its history as it concluded the home portion of its 20th season in the National Football League.
Records of all kinds were tossed to the chilly winds as the Gold and Black won its most lopsided victory and Coach Steve Owen's Giants suffered the worst setback since the New York club entered the pro circuit.
The Steelers touchdown parade was the biggest rolled up since Los Angeles walloped the Baltimore Colts, 70-27, in 1950. The largest point spread by any NFL team was established by Philadelphia in 1934 when it thumped Cincinnati, 64-0.
In a memorable playoff game in 1940, however, the Chicago Bears ran up the highest score in league history with a 73-0 rout of the Washington Redskins.
The "new Steelers" and Bach's T formation clicked for nine touchdowns as they tallied in every period, including a 91-yard kickoff return by Halfback Lynn Chandnois on the first play of the game.
Owen's Strategy Backfires
Coach Owen, contrary to usual strategy, kicks off when he wins the toss. Stout Steve figures the enemy isn't warmed up and he has cashed in on fumbles, intercepted passes, etc. But yesterday he was wrong.
Here in a nutshell is how the Steeler scoring went:
First quarter -- Chandnois ran back kickoff 91 yards. Kerkorian converted. Chandnois ran left end for five yards, Kerkorian converted.
Second quarter -- Quarterback Jimmy Finks passed 21 yards to End Elbie Nickle. Kerkorian converted. Finks passed 42 yards to Left Halfback Ray Mathews. Kerkorian converted.
Third quarter -- Finks passed 25 yards to End Dick Hensley. Kerkorian converted.
Fourth quarter -- Finks passed 60 yards to Hensley; Kerkorian converted. End George Hays grabbed a punt of Tom Landry, blocked by Dale Dodril, stepped two yards for touchdown. Mathews converted. Kerkorian passed 20 yards to Jack Butler. Kerkorian converted. Fullback Ed Modzelewski ran off the right side for three yards. Kerkorian converted.
Giants scoring, what there was of it, went this way:
End Bill Stribling registered on a 70-yard play which involved two laterals. Ray Poole converted.
The slaughter was the fourth triumph of the season in 10 starts for the Steelers and tied last season's total of victories attained by Coach Johnny Michelosen's single-wingers.
Defeat Worst Ever Handed New Yorkers
It was the fourth loss in ten tries for the Giants and dropped them out of a tie for the top post. In fact, due to injuries to their two forward passers, they are about out of the NFL race.
Chuckin' Carley Conerly, the starter, suffered a recurrence of a shoulder injury and his sub, Rookie Fred Benners, had ligaments torn in his left leg late in the second quarter. As a result Tom Landry, a defensive starter, had to double as the passer from the A formation of Owen's the remainder of the way.
The aroused Steelers put up a terrific defense. In the first half the Giants finished with exactly zero in rushing. Their fullback, Eddie Price, who was leading the league at the opening kickoff, wound up with only three yards net in nine tries. His best effort was three yards.
Mighty Mo Leads Rushers
Ed (Mighty Mo) Modzelewski, rookie Steeler fullback, copped the leading ground gaining honors with 35 of 123 yards gained by the winners overland. Lynn Chandnois, had 30 for runnerup honors.
Quarterback Jimmy Finks, sparkplug of the "New Steelers," tossed four TD passes before retiring so Kerkorian could show his wares.
Finks connected on 12 of 24 for 254 yards. First downs favored the Steelers in their landslide, 20 to 8, and total net yardage was in their favor, 415 to 162.
The reputed high-powered ground attack of the Maramen only advanced for one first down all afternoon.
The scoring splurge before the Gus Fan Day audience had the Steelers officials thumbing with frozen fingers through record books and they came up with the following tops for their club:
1. Intercepted passes, one game, seven. Old record, six vs. Chicago Cardinals in 1950.
2. Team touchdown passes, one game, five. Old record, four against Cleveland Browns in 1952, at Cleveland.
3. Yards gained passing in single game, 315. Old record, 306, against Cleveland Browns in 1952 in Cleveland.
4. Returning kickoffs in one season, Lynn Chandnois, 578 yards (10 games). Old record, Walt Slater, 480 yards, 1947.
5. Total offense in season, one player, Finks, 1,902 yards (10 games). Old record, Johnny Clement, 1,861, 1947.
6. Yardage on passes caught, Elbie Nickle, 632 yards (10 games). Old record, Val Jansante, 623 yards, in 1948.
7. Touchdowns in one game, nine. Old record, five, in 1948.
8. Total points in one season, 262. Old record, 240 (1948).
9. Most points in one game, 63. Old record, 38 (three times previously).
Record tied -- Elbie Nickle, passes caught in one season, 39 (10 games). Old record, 39, Val Jansante, 1938.
Early Sign of Things to Come
The Steelers scored in the first 17 seconds of the game.
Poole's twisted kickoff was allowed to hit the ground and it hopped high to Chandois on the home nine-yard line. The Michigan State grad shot straight up the center of the grid and into the clear. Duncan made a half-hearted attempt to chase him, so Lynn cut toward the right and went all the way for a TD. Kerkorian converted for a 7-0 lead.
Next Steeler six-pointer came after a break gave them possession. Rote caught a pass from Conerly but fumbled when tackled. Shipkey grabbed the ball on the enemy 47 and the Gold and Black was on its way.
They required only eight plays to cover the needed distance. Payoff was a five-yard run around his own left end by Chandnois for his second touchdown of the game at 10:17. Kerkorian's placement put the Steelers in front by 14-0.
Hipps grabbed a Benners pass and trotted it back 17 yards to the Steelers 40 early in the second quarter for another turning point in the battle.
Eight plays ate up the remaining 60 yards as Finks passed beautifully to Hensley for two first downs and to Nickle for a third.
The TD came on a 21-yard aerial from Finks to Nickel in the right corner of the end zone at 5:42. Kerkorian added the extra point for a 21-0 advantage.
Next time they got the ball the Rooneymen went 72 yards in three plays after Chandnois had made a fair catch on his own 28 of Landry's high point.
Penalty Sets Up Another
Rowe, who once tried out for the Steelers, pulled a boner on the first play when Mathews got behind him on a long pass from Finks. The aerial was far beyond Ray's reach, but the visitor tackled the intended receiver for interference. That cost 30 yards.
Two plays later, Finks heaved 42 yards to Mathews who had to stretch out for a fine catch and the fourth TD at 8:47. Kerkorian's fourth extra point made the half-time tally read 28-0.
Hogan intercepted a Benner pass on the Giants' 46 late in the period and Kerkorian tried a field goal from placement at 13:13 from the 47 but it was short in front of the posts so the Steelers held tight to their 28-0 bulge at intermission.
Mathews carried the kickoff starting the second half from his own 15 to the 33 and the Bach array was moving again. They needed only five plays for the necessary 67 yards.
One was a 36-yard pass from Finks to Chandnois for a first down on the 26 and the payoff came on a 25-yard toss from Finks to Hensley with only 2:50 gone. Kerkorian sent another extra point through the uprights and it was 35-0.
The visitors averted a whitewash with a spectacular play which covered 70 yards.
Landry hurled to Stribling who got past mid-field and lateraled to Scott. He advanced a few more yards and was nabbed, so he tossed a lateral to Stribling, who had got untangled by that time. The big end from Mississippi continued the remaining distance for a touchdown at 4:39. Poole's conversion shifted the scoreboard figures to 35-7.
The last quarter was a delight to the patient Pittsburgh fans, who stuck around to watch their team rub it in with four more touchdowns.
Finks passed 60 yards to Hensley on the first play of the period. Tunnell overhauled the tall terminal on the 10, but slid off after making the tackle. Dick bounced up from the frozen sod and hustled into the end zone. With only 11 seconds gone Kerkorian converted and it was 42-7.
Menasco intercepted a Kerkorian pass on the Giant 5-yard line not long afterward, but this play backfired.
When Landry tried a quick kick, Dodrill blocked it, Hays clutched the ball on the 2 and hopped over for the score.
Then the Mathews-Kerkorian kicking combine switched assignments. Ray who usually holds, let Gary do that job and sent the extra point through the posts to make it 49-7.
Hipps set up the next TD when he intercepted a Landry pass on his own 48 and ran it back to the Giants 38.
Kerkorian was in at quarterback and he came through with a 20-yard pass to Butler in the end zone at 7:10. Gary resumed his kicking role and the extra point and it was 56-7.
Stautner gobbled up a Landry fumble on the Giant 35 to set up the final six-pointer.
Then Modzelewski slanted off the right side for three yards and the final TD. Kerkorian's placement boosted the score to 63-7 for a great finish of the home campaign.
First Published September 23, 2007 8:00 pm