Although the Baltimore Colts continued their early-season undefeated splurge with a 24-17 victory over Green Bay Sunday, the unfortunate Packers salvaged one distinction from the game. They stopped pro football's best disc jockey and one of 1958's finest halfbacks without a touchdown. Lenny Moore, formerly of Penn State, went scoreless for the first time this season, although he caught six passes for 108 yards.
A great football team, like the masterwork of a great chef, must contain just the right blend of each essential ingredient. The lack of one can spoil the whole dish—or the team. The Colts have had nearly all the ingredients for the last couple of years. Now, it seems, with some new help on the defensive platoon, Coach Weeb Ewbank has completed the recipe beautifully. Not the least element in his concoction is Moore, who provides something as necessary to pro football as cheese is to a souffle—a great halfback who provides a running threat outside the ends as well as a pass-receiving threat that prevents the defense from concentrating against any one of his talents.
Although he scored five touchdowns in the first two games of the season, Baltimore's Moore is still a frustrated man. Not about football, of course. "I feel real good this year," he says about that. "I'm cutting back to get loose where I used to go on around the outside, and it works. They all head for the outside when I start to the left, so now I cut back. Don't down those blockers. They're the ones."
Moore's frustration stems from his off-season job, which is disc-jockeying for three hours six days a week on a Baltimore radio station.
"I play rock 'n' roll most of the time," Lenny said the other day. "I don't down it on the air, man. But let me put it this way. I don't possess any rock 'n' roll records either. I like progressive jazz. Men like Miles Davis and Stan Getz, they kill me. I used to make my comments on the records, but I got all this mail."
Moore has a large personal collection of progressive jazz, an enthusiasm he shares with the huge Colt tackle, Big Daddy Lipscomb.
"It was a little while before I got on to this business," he said. "At first, I spent all my time looking up at the clock and down at the log and figuring what to say. When I gain a little more power, I'll have the boys drop by and I'll chat with them about the team, things like that."
Moore has all the power he needs when he turns to his other vocation. He's a tall, rather lean halfback with an especial talent for picking his way through a broken field. Although he has a good change of pace, his strongest asset is an uncanny ability to change direction against the flow of the defense, so that often Lenny is headed one way while the defenders are going the other.
The Colts, a relatively young team, possess an awesome amount of firepower in Moore, Fullback Alan Ameche, Halfback L. G. Dupre and the extraordinary quarterback, John Unitas. In front of this dynamic quartet are Ray Berry and Jim Mutscheller, the best pair of blocking ends in pro football and one of the major reasons for the yardage Moore accumulates each weekend.
The Colts' final four games are against the Los Angeles Rams and the San Francisco 49ers, the last two on the West Coast. In 1957, with the same problem, the Colts lost both games and a chance for the conference championship.
"We're a better team this year," Moore said the other day. "That don't say we're gonna win it, but we're better, man."
In the most startling trade of the year, the Detroit Lions sent veteran Quarterback Bobby Layne to the Pittsburgh Steelers for Earl Morrall, a typical second-string quarterback, and two draft choices. Although various sources reported that the trade was due to 1) Layne's having feuded with Lion Coach George Wilson or 2) Layne's reporting to a late Saturday night meeting with a cocktail too many under his belt, neither story is true. Very simply, Bobby has not shown his usual precision or finesse. When he stubbed his toe and missed on an extra-point attempt against Green Bay, it pointed up the difference in the 1958 Layne and the Layne of other years. Other errors of omission or commission, plus the presence of topflight quarterback Tobin Rote on the Lion roster helped make up Coach Wilson's mind.
Trading Layne now, while he has considerable value on the open market, makes more sense than waiting until he has obviously passed his peak. And Buddy Parker, who coached the Lions and Layne for many years, will coach him at Pittsburgh. Parker gets a quarterback who probably has a couple of years of topflight play left in him—plus a very important asset: the habit of winning. He started inculcating that habit in the Steelers Sunday by engineering a 24-3 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, the Steelers' first win of the season.
Layne's old ball club missed him. When the Lions took the field against the Los Angeles Rams in Detroit's Briggs Stadium, a giant banner reading "Trade Wilson" was draped in the stands. Wilson may have added to his own discomfiture; with the Lions moving on the ground late in the game, he called Morrall to the sideline and asked for a pass, which was promptly intercepted by the Rams, who turned the interception into an eventual touchdown and finally into a 42-28 victory.
Elsewhere, the Cleveland Browns never solved the Chicago Cardinals' new double-wing T offense, but they used an exemplary method to defeat the Cardinals; they scored more—35-28.
The Chicago Bears turned back the San Francisco 49ers, with the help of three pass interceptions, 28-6, to remain within a game of Baltimore. The New York Giants, often befuddled by the wizardry of Washington's diminutive Eddie LeBaron at quarterback, retained enough self-control to win their second game against one loss, 21-14, and emerge as Cleveland's strongest threat in the Eastern Conference.
UNDER DIFFICULTY, the Colts' Lenny Moore snags a pass from Johnny Unitas to score a touchdown on the Chicago Bears. Riding high is the Bears' J. C. Caroline.