Bert Jones somehow escaped from Memorial Stadium without serious injury today even though the St. Louis Cardinals perpetrated a bevy of blitzes that tied a National Football League record for sacks.
Twelve times the Baltimore Colt quarterback was spun around like a beanbag while attempting to pass. The losses totaled 73 yards. It matched the job the Dallas Cowboys did on the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1966.
Jones had a bruised backbone and a big scrape nearby, but left the dressing room under his own power following a 17-10 defeat that did not begin to tell what a whipping the three-man defensive line of the Cardinals inflicted.
The irony was that Jones recently had credited his offensive line with turning the Colt season around. Jones had been trapped only nine times in seven previous games. The Cardinals had sacked opposing passers only seven times in seven weeks.
Jones also had three passes batted down at the line of scrimmage, was intercepted twice, and connected on only 19 of 43 throws while accounting for Baltimore's only touchdown on his final pass. That nine-yarder to wide receiver Roger Carr came on the next-to-last play of the game, before Steve Mike-Mayer's conversion.
Owner Bob Irsay of the Colts, who had been agitating for reserve quarterback Greg Landry to replace Jones before today, left his VIP box three minutes before the end of the game, right after Jones suffered his second interception.
When someone suggested to Irsay that neither Jones nor the Colts had given an all-pro performance up to that incident, Irsay forced a smile and said, "Well, you have some good days and you have some bad days."
It was mentioned that he was not suitably dressed for the 46-degree temperature and winds gusting up to 25 miles an hour and he responded, "I'm cold outside, but I'm hot inside."
By the time the Colts managed a touchdown there were only about 3,500 fans left, many of the booing, from an attendance that started out as 33,506.
Coach Mike McCormack said of this poor showing that left the Colts with a 4-4 record: "There is not much to say. The Cardinals took us on man to man and blitzed more often than usual. Our (blocking) backs were run over. On the sidelines we were scratching to think of something to slow the rush, but the Cardinals shut off our running well (holding the Colts 48 yards rushing)."
He was asked if he thought of inserting Landry at quarterback. "No," he said, "because what was happening was not Bert's fault. He was delivering the ball on time, but some players did not hold on to it. The Cardinals dominated the line of scrimmage."
Jones, who came into the game with a 58 percent pass completion average, said, "The Cardinals today basically were a different defensive team from everything we saw on their game films. We had protection set up for our passes; we just didn't pick them up (block the pass rushers). The blitzes killed us."
He seemed to resent being asked whether he ever had three passes batted down at the line of scrimmage in one game.
"The Cardinals rushed two inside linebackers," he said, "and one man (defensive end Bob Pollard) stayed at the line of scrimmage and jumped up and down trying to block passes."
Jones mentioned that blocking back Don McCauley was recovering from a pinched neck nerve and probably was not fit to pick blitzers. Pollard deflected three of Jones' passes.
The Cardinals picked on rookie cornerback Derrick Hatchett of Texas to build a 14-0 lead by the third quarter, and the Colts did not score until the fourth quarter, after 46 minutes 40 seconds, on a 35-yard field goal by Steve Mike-Mayer.
Cardinal quarterback Jim Hart Completed 18 of 32 passes for 190 yards, including a 10-yard scoring throw to wide receiver Pat Tilley.
At one phase of the second quarter, Jones missed six straight passes, completing three of 14 in that stretch.
Hart took the Cardinals 61 yards in the first quarter for their first score, victimizing Hatchett on two straight passes to wide receiver Mel Gray before running back Ottis Anderson darted four yards for a touchdown.
In the third quarter, Hart passed 36 yards to Gray (over Hatchett) to the Baltimore 24 yard line, and then Tilley made a splendid one-handed catch of Hart's pass for a touchdown that just about decided the contest and enabled the Cards to tie the Redskins at 3-5 in the NFC East.