The Chicago Bears' spectacular football story of 1941 came to a smashing and record breaking end yesterday afternoon in Wrigley Field.
They broke thru first with a kicking finesse their opponents had used in other years, then graduated to their devastating running and passing attack to turn the National Football league championship game with the New York Giants into a 37 to 9 rout.
Thus they concluded a 19 game schedule which started in mid-August in winning their 18th victory of the season, six in exhibition games. There were only 13,341 watching the Bears make their final kill of the year. The imminence of Christmas season and the fans' correct belief of the eastern champions' would be no match for the Bears were reasons enough for the disappointing turnout even tho the 47 degree temperature was inviting to the sports minded.
They'll Meet All-Stars in 1942
Not since the Bears won titles in 1932 and 1933 had a National league team succeeded in repeating. By winning, the Bears qualified to meet the College All-Stars next August in Solders' field. They also won their way into the Pro bowl game which will be played on Jan. 4 in the Polo Grounds against players of the circuit's nine other teams.
The Bears went to their dressing room at half time with a 9 to 6 advantage gained by the field goal kicking wizardry of Bob Snyder, the baldish fellow from Toledo, O. He kicked one in the first quarter and two in the second to tie the league record for a championship game. Jack Manders, now a Bear line coach, set the record against New York in 1933.
There was a time, later in the game, when a fourth opportunity was near for Snyder, but an interference play on a pass put the Bears in position for the third of their four second half touchdowns which were equally divided in the two periods. Snyder kicked two goals last week in the western division playoff against Green Bay. Earlier in the season, against the Packers, he kicked two for two, giving him seven in that many tries for the season in three of the Bears' most important assignments.
It's McAfee and Standlee
The bold, knock 'em down running of George McAfee and Norm Standlee was the story of the second half. Their wild thrusts often as not ended with them rolling for additional yardage while shackled by Giant tacklers. Once, as he bolted along after being hit and half driven to the ground, Standlee lost the back of h his jersey. These three--Snyder, Standlee, and McAfee--got most of the cheers, but there also were other items, such as hard charging Bear line that most of the afternoon kept the Giants off balanace.
The Giants made one sudden thrust in the first quarter for their only touchdown and the main fellow was George [Sonny] Franck of Minnesota, who made a long punt return, then caught a pass in the flat which ended in a twenty-seven yard scoring run. The Giants' other successful penetration was a field goal early in the third quarter by Ward Cuff which gave them a 9 to 9 deadlock. It was here that the Bears turned to the touchdown method to score. They were ahead, 23 to 9, at the end of third period.
The Numerals Are Reversed
The Bears made 73 points on Dec. 8 last year in setting up their championship dynasty against the Redskins in Washington. Yesterday, the numerals were just the reverse. This game the Chicagoans 110 points against 9 in their last two title battles. Each of the 33 had a part in victory. The Giants used 29 of their men.
After taking Cuff's opening kickoff, the Bears held the ball for 10 minutes and 34 seconds, finally getting in the point column on Snyder's field goal from the 14 yard line. After almost nine minutes of play, the Bears had only a twenty-seven yard advance from their 45 yard line to show for their efforts, because of penalties and other troubles.
Standlee and his old running mate from Stanford, Hugh Gallarneau, accounted for the Bears' first down in three rushes which put the ball on New York's 43 yard line. The Giants were using a 5-3-3 defense which they adhered to almost all the time. Standlee hit for four yards, then three.
Lateral Loses Thirteen Yards
On the next play after the original first down, Gallarneau, on a surprise maneuver without the customary man-in-motion, raced around left end for ten yareds to the Giants' 27. Then a lateral from Sid Luckman to Gallarneau lost thirteen. After Standlee picked up five, Dick Plasman made a leaping catch of Luckman's pass on the Giants' 26 and ran six yards before being cracked out of bounds.
Standlee bored to the 15 yard line, but the Bears were set back to the Giants' 35 for holding. While the Bears were thinking up a field goal attempt, they were assessed five yards for too much time. Then Lee Artoe's attempted goal from the Giants' 47 was blocked by Ken Lunday. In the ensuing scramble a Giant lost possession and Artoe recovered on New York's 49.
Standlee and Gallarneau made it a first down on the 38, and these two same fellows, with some help by Ran Nolting, worked it ten yards nearer. After a short gain by Luckman, the Bears were penalized for being offside and this put them back on the 26. Standlee took a lateral from Luckman, raced down the west side lines, spun away from Kayo Lunday, and ran thirteen yards. He hit inside left tackle for six yards to the 7, but here the attack bogged and Snyder kicked for three points.
Cuff Takes Long Pass
Franck took the kickoff on the bounce on the Giants' nine-yard line and ran wide where he was chased out on his 43. John Siegal rushed thru and spilled Cuff for two yards on a reverse. Tho almost surrounded by Bears, Tuffly Leemans managed to get off a long pass which was taken by Cuff on the Bears' 36 for a twenty-three yard gain. After Leemans hit the Bears' left side for five, he passed to Franck, who caught the ball on the 27 and raced over. Cuff's kick for the extra point was blocked by Siegal.
Siegal brought back the kickoff from Chicago's 22 to the 41. McAfee picked up seven on a lateral from Luckman. Bill Osmanski smacked the line hard for seven more to the Giant's 45. McAfee turned another lateral into a thirteen yard profit and skimmed four yards to the 28 as the quarter ended. In this period the Bears had 30 plays to their opponents' 4. The second quarter was only 45 seconds old when Snyder stepped back to the Giants' 39, his kick just clearing the bar for the tying points. After the kickoff, a quick punt by Kay Eakin went seventy yards over the Bears' goal.
Passing Attack Fails
From the 20, the Bears started going, but a passing attack failed and McAfee pointed to Howie Yeager on the 10. He wound up on the 5 after being hit hard and on second down kicked to McAfree on the Giants' 46. McAfee fumbled, but recovered and was downed on the New York 47. McAfee and Osmanski cooperated for a first down on the 35, but Snyder had to settle for three points, his fourth down placement going over from the 37 yards line after 9:58 of the quarter had been played. The Giants had to punt after the kickoff and just as the half ended, McAfee caught Luckman's forty-two yard pass in a sitting posture on the Giants' 19.
The Giants took the second half kickoff from their 20 yard line to the 9 yard line, where they settled for Cuff's field goal from the 17 yard line, which tied the score. Cuff and Leemans led the ground assault in this seventy-one yard march and there was a twenty yard pass from Leemans to Franck.
In little more than three minutes, the Bears' power had started them on their way. Ray McLean scotted up the field eighteen yards with the kickoff to the Bears' 29 yard line. Standlee ripped off the Giants' left tackle for ten yards. He barged in for three more. Luckman switched tactics and his pass was caught by Plasman on the Giants' 38 and he went four more for a twenty-five yard gain. Then Siegal shot from his end position in a semicircle toward the middle and, running low, caught another pitch by Luckman. But for stumbling he'd have scored. He was dropped on the 7. Standlee hit for three off right tackle, Gallarneau added a yard, then big Norm twisted over for the score. The time was 7:48. Snyder kicked the extra point, his 10th personal one. The ball went over the bleacher wall.
Fortmann Intercepts Pass
After the kickoff, Danny Fortmann intercepted Leeman's pass on the Bears' 32 and came up two more yards. This set touchdown No. 2 in motion. McAfee bucked for nine yards and Standlee broke thru the Giant's left side for thirteen. Then the 230 pound full back hurtled into the right side and carried a few assorted Giants with him to the 30, a fourteen yard gain.
McAfee slammed for five yards and McLean dashed around the Giants' left flank for eleven to the 14 yard marker. McAfee started around right end, cut in, and flopped on the 7 yard line. Standlee then drove thru New York's left side for his second touchdown of the quarter. Joe Maniaci kicked the ball out of the park for the 23d point. As the period ended, Len Eshmont's punt was grounded on the Giants' 44.
The Bears, with many of their lesser athletes in the cast, had to wait until 10:55 of the fourth quarter before getting more points. Bulldog Turner set them in motion by intercepting Leemans' pass and running to Chicago's 46 yard line. It was Standlee again for seven yards around end. McAfee made eight, aided by neat interference. After a five yard offside penalty and short gains, Luckman passed to Standlee, who picked up twenty-one yards to New York's 23.
Another Interception Brings Score
After a fifteen yard penalty had slowed then down, the champions roared back. McAfee carried a pass from Luckman to the Giants' 33. Bob Nowaskey fumbled after catching a short aerial, but recovered on the Giants' 28. When a pass by Luckman was incomplete, Snyder started warming up for his fourth try, but on the next play pass interference was ruled on the Giants' 5. McAfee took it two yards, then shot thru the middle standing up. Artoe kicked the point.
A third interception led to the last score. This one was the work of Standlee, who caught it on his own 40 and made an eleven yard return. The Bears took a five yard penalty and lost the ball on downs on New York's 47.
A long pass by Hank Soar was incomplete. Then the Giants tried a pass which had netted a touchdown against Washington this season. Soar lateraled to Andy Marefos, but he fumbled when hit by Pool. Ken Kavanaugh picked the ball up on the bounce and no one was between him and the goal forty-two yards away. Just to be different, McLean drop-kicked for the point.