Chapter 2, Page 48

Their 8-4 mark for once put them solidly in second place in the NFL's Eastern Conference, behind the mighty Cleveland Browns. The only post-sea-son game back then was between the conference winners, and the Browns beat the Los Angeles Rams, 38-14, for the NFL title.

Washington actually had defeated the Browns that season, 27-17, in the 1955 opener. Their 31-30 victory over the Eagles a week later in Philadelphia was even better. When Alan Beall selected the 50 greatest games in Redskins history for his 1988 book Braves on the Warpath, that was one of them.

LeBaron was back at quarterback for that game. The crowd of 31,891 that Saturday evening in Philadelphia included a large number of Washingtonians, each of whom had gotten tickets to the game and round-trip rail fare for a total of $10. What they saw for the first three quarters was depressing, if familiar: LeBaron fumbling the ball, later having to punt from his own end zone, and the Eagles racing to a 16-0 lead.

But Washington's defense provided the first break when middle linebacker Chuck Drazenovich belted Eagles halfback Jerry Norton and caused a fumble. Brito recovered on the Philadelphia 32. After moving the ball to the 19, LeBaron threw a short pass that Vic Janowicz turned into a touchdown. Janowicz also added the extra point, cutting the deficit to 16-7.

Norb Hecker kicked off — and the Redskins got a huge break when Norton assumed that the ball would roll out of bounds near the end zone and failed to field it. To Norton's horror, the ball took a crazy hop and stayed in bounds. The Redskins' Ralph Thomas recovered it at the Eagles' three and immediately rolled into the end zone for a touch-down. It was Philadelphia 16, Washington 14.

On the first play after the next kickoff, Norton fumbled again, and defensive lineman LaVern (Torgy) Torgeson recovered it for Washington on the Philadelphia 13. LeBaron and Janowicz combined on a pass for the first nine yards, and Janowicz soon scored from the one and kicked another extra point. In 2 minutes and 17 seconds of play, the Redskins had gone from trailing by 16 points to leading by five.

The Eagles, however, charged back. A combination of runs and passes moved the ball to the Redskins 36, and Norton redeemed himself by grabbing a Bobby Thomason pass in the end zone. Philadelphia was ahead again, 23-21. But LeBaron went to work on the next drive, combining with running back Bert Zagers on a 57-yard pass play and later sneaking the ball in from the one on the last play of the quarter. It was now Redskins 28, Eagles 23.

Page 48 | Next Page: 49

Other Pages in Chapter 2:
43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78

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Names, Numbers
Trivia Quiz

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