Redskins Upset Chi-Bears, 14-6, to Capture League Championship
By Merrell W. Whittlesey
Before a frozen but deliriously happy crowd of 36,006 Griffith Stadium fans who uprooted the goal posts in the frenzy of victory, the Redskins smothered the winning and national championship streaks of the Bears by a 14-6 count, and those final scoreboard figures were a compliment to the Bears.
By radio and telegraph word was sent to a sports-loving nation that the feared Bears had met their masters in convincing fashion, and to servicemen the world over word was flashed that the 17 Redskins soon to enter the services, represent the class of the gridiron.
Even to the eyes of the occasional football fan who consider the linemen just seven big guys who are a necessary part of this game, that Redskins forward wall must have stood out. Three 60-minute men, Ed Cifers and Bob Masterson at ends and Kay Aldrich at center; those crushing tackles, Willie Wilkin and Bill Young, and Dick Farman, a Redskin guard, spent much of the afternoon in the Bear backfield, reached their peak as one, and in the battle of two titanic lines came out the masters.
The linemen gave their idol, Slingin' Sammy Baugh, ample time on his passes and one of those aerials, a 38-yard heave to Wilbur Moore, produced the touchdown which tied the score in the first half, and Bob Masterson's trusty toe put the Redskins ahead 7 to 6. Baugh also played 60 minutes.
The line opened holes for Andy Farkas, who in the spirit of the day, tore gaps in the Bear line in a 42-yard touchdown drive he dominated from start to finish in the third period.
Line Hits Hard
Bill Osmanski, Ray Nolting, Gary Famiglietti, Ray McLean, Frank Macnicki, Hugh Gallarneau, Sid Luckman and Charley O'Rourke, the Bear backs who had rolled up yardage, victories and championships in bully fashion for three years, were whammed to the ground in unceremonious fashion by clean, decisive tackles.
The Bears' six meager points represent one of their lowest scores of the last decade and that single touchdown was practically a gift. It was the result of a Dick Todd fumble and as the pigskin bounced around Dick's ankles, out of reach of his anxious hands, Big Lee Artoe picked it up and simply ran 52 yards for a touchdown. He was ahead of the field all the way.
Artoe's attempt for the extra point hooked wide of the uprights and at that point, less than two minutes after the start of the second period, the Bears had completed their scoring for the day.
Redskins Calmly Go About Winning
They kept the Bears in the hole aided by Sammy Baugh's record-breaking punting, most of it the quick kick variety, and for his six boots Sammy turned up with a new championship playoff record, an average of 52 yards per punt.
The Bears took a 7-6 deficit into the halftime intermission and when they dropped back 14 to 6 many thought they would smash through at any time in the style expected of them. Just a big team knocking at a door which would eventually open.
But the Redskins never opened that door. Twice in the last 16 minutes the Bears clicked for drives deep into Redskin territory, but from the 11-yard line they were denied when Sammy Baugh turned up with a Maznicki pass as though it was intended for him.
The Bears pounded back in the last five minutes and with time for one touchdown and possibly another, they bogged down on the 1-yard line, an almost unbelievable letdown for the mighty Bears. Bill Osmanski tried for those 2 yards but Farman and Young proved to be an immovable force and finally a penalty and grounded pass cost them possession of the ball.
The Bears have long insisted that their penalties were the result of hard football, not dirty playing, and their cries were borne out yesterday. As they were outplayed and outfought from every angle, they lost only 47 yards in setbacks.
Andy Farkas and Steve Slivinski were carried from the field, but Farkas had done his job. Taking over on the Bears' 42 the first time the Redskins had the ball in the second half, Andy hung up yard after yard and finally 6 points.
With Ray Hare running wide as a man-in-motion decoy, Farkas was bullying his way through the center, swerving, cutting, hurdling as he rolled up first downs. On two successive plays he tried opposite ends and found both vulnerable for his quick stride. From the 4-yard line he literally hurled himself to the 1, and from that point he hurdled the line for the score, dropping the ball but not until after the whistle had sounded.
The turn of events following the Bears' early touchdown centered around Moore and Baugh. Moore, one of the most underrated players in the National League, took the kickoff and slipped by all but Nolting in a return dash of 31 yards down the field. Big Ray smacked him for keeps on the Redskin 21 and from here Baugh once again stepped into that familiar quick-kick formation and booted one for 61 yards.
Chibears Rushed Back
Luckman went back into kick formation on fourth down but Oskamski tried for the inches instead and just made them. Osmanski was almost away, picking up 13 more yards and Ray Nolting added a first down but here the Bears took to passing and that was Moore's cue.
Willing Wilbur snatched a pass from the startled John Siegel and returned 14 yards to the Bear 42 before Artoe stopped him. Hare tried his hand at rushing and made good for 3 yards.
Baugh Passes to Score
Twenty minutes of playing time remained after the Redskins' second touchdown but they soon put any comeback notions farthest from the Bear thoughts. On the very first play the Bears' Ray Nolting was escorted off the field after Bob Masterson hit him so hard the reprecussion was heard above the wind.
Maznicki and Gallarneau hit the Redskin line but bounced back like a rubber ball. Luckman shot a flank pass to Siegel but the second the Bear took the ball he was hurled to the ground. They were forced to kick on fourth down without gaining an inch.
With Farkas and Todd out, Bob Seymour was lugging the ball on every Redskin line plunge as they kept to the ground and possession of the ball. When Seymour was stopped short of a first down, Baugh would punt and set the Bears deep in their own territory, where they spent much of the afternoon.
Just as the Bears' first productive drive of any length stopped when they changed from a running to a passing attack, a third-quarter outburst was put down at a point when they were enjoying success in the air but changed passers.
Charley O'Rourke cleared the heads of onrushing Redskins by inches with a 39-yard pass to Maznicki and from the 24 Charley made good for 9 yards on a bullet pass to Siegel. Here Maznicki tried a pass on the dead run and his best was a direct heave to Baugh who caught the ball in the end zone for an interception.
O'Rourke Adds Pep
The Bears will never meet a stiffer test than they met in those two yards, however, and wound up by losing the ball on the six.
The Redskins needed only to run out the clock and as the big hands joined on the yellow timepiece atop the bleachers, the Redskins pounded each other freely in a joyous moment of revenge.
Only 19 of the 31 eligible Redskins played but all will receive the winning player's share of more than $900 per man compared to $636 each for the Bears. The only substitutions Flaherty made proved to be wise ones and three of them were to relieve injured players.