Washington's Redskins, skimming over the frozen turf of Wrigley Field on the wings of Sammy Baugh's unerring passes, won the professional football championship of the world yesterday by defeating the Chicago Bears, 28 to 21, in the fifth annual National league playoff before 15,878.
Three touchdown passes by Baugh in the third period climaxed one of the finest demonstrations of individual play in the history of the game and qualified the Redskins as professional football's representative in The Tribune's All-Star contest against the college All-American's next summer.
Baugh Completes 18 Passes
Baugh, former Texas Christian half back and captain of The Tribune's 1937 All-Star team, reached new heights yesterday as he led Washington to its first league championship with the cooperation of those expert pass receivers, Wayne Millner, Cliff Battles, Ed Justice and Charles Malone.
Baugh threw thitry-three passes, assuming the brunt of Washington's offensive burden when precarious footing, even in the basketball shoes in which both teams played, curtailed the effectiveness of Battles' running ability. He completed eighteen of these passes for a total gain of 335 yards.
The 15,878 spectators, lured out into the numbing cold by the prospect of seeing Baugh, the game's greatest passer, stood and acclaimed the elongated Texan with thunderous applause as he left the field late in the fourth quarter, cheering the man for his performance and the performance for its matchless brilliance. It was recognition richly deserved and sincerely given.
Score Tied Three Times
As a contest, the game rivaled the first National league playoff held at Wrigley Field in 1933 when the Bears, eleven of whom participated in yesterday's spectacle, defeated the New York Giants, 23 to 21. The score yesterday was tied three times and the lead changed hands three times in a rapid succession of sensational plays.
After passing forth-three yards to Battles on Washington's first play from scrimmage, Baugh completed three consecutive passes to set up the touchdown on which the Redskins took a 7 to 0 early lead in the first period. Battles went over from the 7 yard line for the score and Riley Smith, a former Tribune All-Star from Alabama, added the extra point.
Manders Goes Over
The Bears tied the score four plays later on a ten yard smash by Jack Manders, the league's leading point maker, and his point after touchdown.
Late in the period they forged to the front on Bernie Master's thirty-seven yard pass to Manders. The extra point was again added by Manders and the Bears, seeking to regain the title they lost to the Giants in the famed rubber shoe playoff game onf 1934, led at the half, 14 to 7.
Shivering spectators had hardly returned from under the stands after the intermission when Baugh unleashed a fifty-five yard touchdown pass to Millner, former Notre Dame end and also a Tribune All-Star in 1936. This occurred on the fifth play of the third quarter. Riley Smith kicked the extra point to tie the score. Thirteen plays later, the Bears regained the lead, winding up an unbroken march of seventy-two yards from the kickoff with Masterson's three yard pass to Eggs Manske for a touchdown.
Redskins Tie It Again
Echoes of the resounding cheer sent up by the Bear partisans were still reverberating off nearby apartment buildings when Baugh and Millner wiped out the advantage with the most spectacular play of the contest. Baugh passed twenty-nine yards to Millner and the fleet end beat Bronko Nagurski and Manders in a race for the goal. The play covered seventy-seven yards and with R. Smith's tenth consecutive point after touchdown, tied the score for the third time.
Several minutes later Baugh capped his superb performance by producing the touchdown that eventually was to decide the game and the championship. He calmly faked a pass to Malone. Then, fading back eight yards, he fired a long pass to Half Back Justice, who completed a thrity-five yard gain with an eleven yard run to the goal.
Baugh's passing was made all the more effective by the flawless generalship of R. Smith and an offense designed to exploit the Texan's talent. While the Bears strove desperately to score on a series of long high passes by Ray Buivid and Masterson, R. Smith broke receivers into clear repeatedly by strategically switching from long to short tosses, thus keeping the Bear secondary in a continual state of bewilderment.
Bear Passes Fall
The turning point in the game came early in the fourth quarter when the Bears, trailing 28 to 21, reached Washington's 24 yard line on a 32 yard pass, Buivid to Pug Rentner, who was a member of the Redskins last year when, representing Boston, they were defeated by the Green Bay Packers in the playoff at New York.
redskins 28, bears 21