By TJ Troup
|Ken Stabler and Richard Todd|
Take a look at how many teams are 3-4, or 4-3, and let's include a couple teams that are 3-3---we have half the league in this middle ground. We all know there are some playoff teams in this group; the question is who are those teams and which team or teams catch fire?
Would relish hearing from any and all of you, and your predictions. Yesterday the Chiefs gained 529 yards on offense in their impressive victory in Santa Clara, yet that is not the most yards gained by a Chiefs team on October 23rd. Kansas City gained 614 yards on offense in the destruction of Denver on October 23rd, 1966.
Hardman scored three times yesterday for the Chiefs, but in 1966 Bert Coan had the best game of his career—as he scored four times. Beware of playing the Chiefs on October 23rd.
We all know that the game we watch today can be dominated by a receiver who catches pass after pass, and Eckler of the Chargers latched onto 12 passes yesterday. Don Looney in 1940 and Don Hutson in 1942 both caught 14 passes in a game to set the then-league record.
The 1948 Chicago Bears are one of the best second-place teams in league history and had high hopes in 1949.
One of the strengths of the Bear team of 1949 was their receiving corps, and the starting right end Jim Keane had one helluva year and on October 23rd in a loss to the Giants Jim Keane snagged 14 passes for 193 yards.
Watching film of him is a delight. He was a master of finding the open area on crossing routes and was almost as effective on sideline routes, and curls (called comebacks in those days). Keane led the league in receptions in 1947, but this remains his standout game as Johnny Lujack found him open all afternoon.
For comparison's sake, the Bears leader in receptions after five games this year is Mooney with 10 catches—Keane had 14 in one game!
The Oakland Raiders of 1976 remain their best team, and no doubt those hard-bitten warriors in Silver & Black thought they would repeat in 1977.
After four weeks Oakland was unbeaten at 4-0, then the disappointing loss to the upstart Orange Crush. Oakland just did not lose very often in this era, how often did they lose you ask?
Before the Bronco game, the Raiders had won 40 of their last 45 games. The Raiders are in Shea Stadium to take on their once-hated rivals the New York Jets, but the Jets had sunk to a new low in '76, and are 2-3 so far in '77.
Richard Todd is the first quarterback in '77 to throw for over 300 yards in a game. Todd consistently finds Barkum, Walker, and Caster open deep as he completes 11 passes to them for 352 yards, and the Jets lead 27-14 entering the 4th quarter. Many teams would have folded, but the Raiders know how to rally, as Snake Stabler throws to Siani for the winning score late in the game in a heart-stopping 28-27 victory.
On page 81 of the 1978 "Prolog" magazine is a picture of Todd and Stabler walking off the field together, no doubt discussing reading the game plan by the light of the jukebox and discussing how to fire that pigskin...Roll tide".