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Remmel: Memorable '82 Comeback Highlights Rams Series


As every card-carrying Packers aficionado well knows, Green Bay is the most titled team in the National Football League, with a dozen championships in hand.

In keeping with that imposing record, they also have a leg up on most of their rivals in their respective all-time series from the won-and-lost perspective...also known

as the bottom line.

The St. Louis Rams, the opponents at hand, however, are a notable exception to the "rule."

The Rams, who will be displaying their current wares in Lambeau Field Sunday afternoon, lead the all-time rivalry, having won 44 games - four more than the Packers - in a series that dates back to 1937, when Sunday's invaders were in their original home and known as the Cleveland Rams.

To the Packers' understandable chagrin, the Rams also own the distinction of having dealt the Green and Gold the most decisive defeat in their postseason history - a 45-17 verdict forged in a dismal playoff at St. Louis on Jan. 20, 2002.

It was an indignity accentuated by the Missourians' larcenous defense, which intercepted six Brett Favre passes to accelerate the humbling process.

Fortunately, in turn, the Packers have had some singular moments against the Rams, chief among them their 28-7 Western Conference playoff victory at Milwaukee County Stadium in December of 1967 - eight days prior to what became the legendary "Ice Bowl" triumph over the Dallas Cowboys.

And, beyond that memorable success, it was against the Rams that the Packers also enjoyed the greatest comeback in their long and distinguished annals.

Historically, it was to become a major highlight in the coaching career of Bart Starr, then in the eighth season of his nine-year tenure as head coach of the Packers.

The scene was Milwukee County Stadium and it was opening day of the 1982 NFL season (Sept. 12).

The Rams, with Bert Jones presiding at quarterback, moved out to a 23-0 halftime lead with the aid of three field goals by placekicker Mike Lansford as Los Angeles capitalized on a like number of Green Bay turnovers.

As the teams departed the field for their respective locker rooms at the intermission, the Packers were not aware that no Green Bay team trailing by as many as 23 points at halftime ever had come from behind to win a game.

Whatever the case, the substantial deficit had no apparent effect upon quarterback Lynn Dickey, who rebounded from an unsteady start to direct a remarkable second-half reversal - one punctuated by five touchdowns and 35 unanswered points en route to an astonishing 35-23 victory.

It was a tribute, in large part, to a suddenly tightfisted defense, which not only blanked the Rams over those last 30 minutes but held them to an exceedingly modest four first downs in the smothering process.

The second half renaissance began innocuously enough when, early in the third quarter, Dickey capped a 55-yard drive with a 4-yard scoring pass up the middle to tight end Paul Coffman. Following the first of Jan Stenerud's five conversions, the Packers still trailed the Rams, 23-7.

But not for long. Quickly forcing a punt after the subsequent kickoff, they were back in the end zone just three plays later.

Fullback Mike Meade launched the "drive" routinely with a 2-yard gain over right guard, after which Dickey promptly found Coffman with a 42-yard strike to the Rams' 3-yard line.

Running back Eddie Lee Ivery finished the project on the very next play, bolting off right tackle into the end zone.

The unfolding comeback was temporarily interrupted by Nolan Cromwell's interception of a Dickey pass near midfield, but the Rams shortly went empty-handed when a 51-yard Lansford field goal attempt veered wide left early in the fourth quarter.

The Packers continued their burgeoning resurgence, moving 66 yards in four plays to their third touchdown, 50 of them coming on a Dickey "bomb" to Coffman. Dickey then completed the process with a 15-yard strike to wideout James Lofton, then already well on his way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The football fates then smiled warmly upon the Green and Gold.

Rams kickoff returner Kermit Alexander fumbled the succeeding kickoff, which was promptly recovered by Packers linebacker Guy Prather at the Los Angeles 10-yard line.

Whereupon Dickey took advantage with alacrity, firing a 10-yard bullseye to Coffman, who registered his second touchdown of the afternoon and propelled the Packers into their first lead of the day, 27-23.

A George Cumby interception at the Green Bay 30 then enabled the Packers to complete the comeback late in the fourth quarter. Meade's 19-yard burst up the middle, complemented by a 5-yard face mask penalty, was the key maneuver en route.

Two plays later, the artful Ivery slipped through the middle on a well-executed "draw" and cantered 27 yards to the game's final touchdown.

Stenerud added the 35th and final point of the record comeback with 3:06 remaining.

*Continuing an association with the team that is more than 55 years old, Lee Remmel was named the first official Team Historian of the Green Bay Packers in February 2004. The former Green Bay Press-Gazette reporter and Packers public relations director, Remmel will write regular columns for as part of his new assignment.

In addition to those articles, Remmel will answer fan questions in a monthly Q&A column. To submit a question to Remmel, click here.*


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