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Bears Shock Packers in “Titletown, U.S.A.,” 10-3

Sept. 15, 1963 - George Halas’ Chicago Bears went swinging through Titletown, U.S.A. today, and the place will never be the same. With quarterback Bill Wade hitting receivers left and right and a new defense shackling the Packers’ vaunted power, the underdog Bears stripped the two-time champions of any vestige of invincibility. The final score was 10-3. Rookie Bob Jencks kicked a 32-yard field goal in the first period. It was his third field goal and second victory over the Packers since leaving the campus of Miami University (Ohio) last June. He kicked two field goals to help the College All-stars beat the Packers, 20-17, at Soldier Field six weeks ago. After Jerry Kramer tied the score with a 41-yard field goal, the Bears rushed to the 2-yard line, only to fumble. But in the third quarter, the Bears went all the way for the seven points that gave them their first victory over Green Bay in nine starts (regular season and exhibition) dating back to 1960. Afterward, Joe Fortunato, co-captain of the defensive platoon, handed the game ball to coach George Halas. “Gentlemen,” Halas said in a hoarse voice, “this was the greatest team effort in the history of the Chicago Bears.” “In 44 years?” someone asked. “In 44 long years,” Halas retorted. The Bears were the first victorious team to use the Packers’ swank new visitors’ dressing room. The walls threatened to come tumbling down as the players chanted, “We want beer! We want beer!” “Sorry, fellows,” apologized Halas. “I should have ordered champagne.” Halas explained the Bears’ game plan, which accented swing passes to the backs rather than deeper passes to the ends. “We knew they would drop their linebackers back — maybe 12 to 15 yards deep. So, we figured to try some swings. They didn’t adjust their defense, so we kept doing it.” In the Green Bay dressing room, a melancholy Vince Lombardi rehashed the defeat. “We didn’t play bad defensively,” said the Packer coach, “but we were awfully inconsistent on offense. When you give up the ball as often as we did, you get beat.” Lombardi explained why no defensive adjustments were made by the Packers at halftime. “Sure, we could see that the Bears were clicking with those swing passes,” he said. “We put it on the blackboard at halftime. But we didn’t change our defense because the Bears were only gaining 2 and 3 yards most of the time with those swings. They weren’t really hurting us.” In the locker room, the world champions milled around morosely. Perhaps most discouraged was quarterback Bart Starr. “When you give up four interceptions,” Starr said softly, “you don’t deserve to win.”


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