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Bears Win Narrow Contest Over Rams at Wrigley, Maintain First Place Tie with Packers

Nov. 12, 1963 - Roger Leclerc booted field goals in the first and third quarters and the Chicago Bears’ defense was unbeatable Sunday as the Bears scored a 6-0 victory over the Los Angeles Rams at Wrigley Field. The victory kept the Bears tied with Green Bay for the NFL’s Western Conference lead. Both have 8-1 records. The Packers, whose only loss was to the Bears, meet Chicago at Wrigley next Sunday. The Bears’ offense sputtered, but the defense hounded Roman Gabriel so viciously that the Rams’ passer seldom was on balance. The Rams never passed the Bear 36-yard line, and in the first half they gained only 36 yards. The Bears drove 65 yards to the Ram 9 in the opening 5 minutes, but a series of penalties set them back, and Leclerc booted a 30-yard field goal. With 3 minutes 20 seconds remaining in the third period, Bill Wade’s 15-yard pass to Mike Ditka and Willie Galimore’s 44-yard sprint with a flat pass set up another field goal, which Leclerc kicked from the 16. In the last minute of the game, the Bears drove to the 5, but Leclerc’s field-goal attempt from the 12 was blocked by Jack Pardee. Playing what coach Harland Svare later called “our best defense of the year,” the Rams gave Wade his “most difficult day of the season” and were in the game until the last play. On that last play, Gabriel’s arm was hit, and his desperation pass fell incomplete on the Bears’ 40. The young quarterback, harassed and battered all day by pro football’s most effective defense, was buried under a pile of Bears, his nose broken and bleeding. Even though George Halas’ Bears, which had beaten the Rams 52-14 only a month earlier, was held to a 6-0 victory, the Chicago boss declined to accept a newsman’s thought that his offense was slipping. “No, sir. Credit that Rams’ defense,” Halas said. “The fans might not realize it, but NFL coaches actually think the Rams have a strong defense.” Halas had particular praise for four Rams, defensive linemen Merlin Olsen and Lamar Lundy and linebackers Jack Pardee and Mike Henry. Gabriel drew unsolicited compliments from Halas too. “He’s going to be a heck of a quarterback. He’s got a strong arm, and in another year he’s going to be terrific.” Then, with obvious reference to the Rams-Packers waivers deal which sent Zeke Bratkowski to Green Bay, Halas said: “I’m sorry the Rams didn’t put Gabriel on waivers. I would have picked him up in a hurry.”


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