Football was an entirely different game in the 1950s, but there are a surprising amount of mind blowing stats. Many Los Angeles Rams records were set and still stand from the 50’s, especially through the air. Let’s take a look at the top five individual performances by Rams players during this decade:
5. Tommy Wilson – 12/16/56 vs Green Bay Packers
Rookie running back Tommy Wilson didn’t have a great rookie season all around, but he threw a coming out party late in the season against the Packers and in a big way. Wilson carried the ball 23 times for 223 yards in a blowout victory for the Rams. He had nearly half of his rushing yards on the season in this game and tripled any other output he had during the year. Wilson’s 223 yards was a team-record at the time and is still the second most rushing yards in a game in Rams history.
4. Dan Towler – 11/22/53 vs Baltimore Colts
Wilson’s day on the ground was impressive, but wasn’t the best rushing performance of the decade. Rams star Dan Towler was the difference-maker in a tight late season contest with the Colts in 1953. He was nearly untouchable anytime he touched the ball, rushing for 205 yards and a touchdown on just 14 carries. Tha’ts good for 14.7 yards per carry. Towler was known for these ridiculous games; he ran 11 times for 144 yards in a gamer earlier in the decade. His 14.7 YPC is still a Rams record.
3. Elroy Hirsch – 9/28/51 vs New York Yanks
When your quarterback is feeling it, it’s easy to get in on the good fortune, and Elroy Hirsch took advantage of it in a historic blowout of the New York Yanks in 1951. Hirsch nabbed nine receptions for 173 yards and four touchdowns. His four touchdowns still stand as tied for the most single game receiving touchdowns in team history. Hirsch scored on nearly half of his touches in this game.
2. Tom Fears – 12/3/50 vs Green Bay Packers
Sometimes when the ball goes near a receiver, you know he’s going to come down with it. Tom Fears had this kind of day early in the decade. He compiled 18 receptions for 189 yards and two touchdowns against the Packers, getting anything he wanted against their swiss cheese defense. His 18 receptions are a Rams team record. It was also an NFL-record that stood for 50 years before being broken by Terrell Owens in 2000. Fears currently sits third on the all-time list.
1. Norm Van Brocklin – 9/28/51 vs New York Yanks
On the same afternoon where Elroy Hirsch had four touchdowns, Rams legend Norm Van Brocklin had what still may be the single greatest passing performance in NFL history. He went 27 for 41 with 554 yards and five touchdowns. Two interceptions left him without a perfect rating, but his 554 yards still stands as the most yards in a single game in NFL history. In such a pass-heavy modern era, it’s hard to believe that nobody has come within 25 yards of the record. His five touchdowns are still a Rams record.
Steve Rebeiro is a staff writer and podcast host for Rams Talk. He graduated from Marquette University in 2016. For more of his opinions, follow him on Twitter here or check out his podcast Tejas and Lil Stevie.