Chicago Bears (4-1-1) 10, Green Bay Packers (3-3) 7
Sunday November 3rd 1946 (at Chicago)
Green Bay Packers fullback Ted Fritsch (64) moves forward for a nine-yard gain during a game against the Chicago Bears at Wrigley Field on Nov. 4, 1946. — Chicago Tribune historical photo
Chicago Bears running back Hugh Gallarneau rushes for a gain during the first quarter of a game against the longtime rival Green Bay Packers at Wrigley Field before 46,321 fans on Nov. 4, 1946.
(CHICAGO) - The best Packer team of the season took the field against the Chicago Bears before a record breaking crowd of 46,321 under leaden skies at Wrigley field Sunday afternoon, but the best Packer team of the season was not quite enough. The best Packer team
lost, 10-7. The records will always tell of this licking, in a line
or so, but what the records won't tell will be the heartbreak
wrapped up in the score. They won't tell, for instance, how
the Packers choked off the Bears on the ground, or fought
them to a standstill or outpunted them or threatened to score
themselves. Nor will they tell how, having done all this, the
Packers still lost because of what will go down in their
history as the "big fumble" of 1946.
There are fumbles and fumbles in most football games, but
seldom any as costly as this. This was the fumble which
meant the game. This was the fumble that the Bears, after
​failing to get anywhere on their own power, scooped up and
turned into their lone touchdown of the afternoon. It
happened on the first play from scrimmage in the third
quarter with the score 0-0 and the Packers in possession of
the ball on their own 35 yard line. Ted Fritsch got the pass
from center, started to his left, and when hit near the line of
scrimmage, dropped the ball. Now such things happen 
occasionally in every game. The best of them fumble. The
ball rolls around and the fumbler falls on it or one of his 
mates falls on it, or somebody on the other side falls on it.
But none of this happened after Fritsch's fumble Sunday.
The ball, bouncing around on the 32 yard line, seemed
suddenly to stretch out arms begging to be picked up by one
of the Bears on the run - and it was. Ed Sprinkle, a tackle in
on the play, did the job. Hardly breaking his giant stride, he
scooped up the ball, and with a clear field ahead while the
rest of the boys on the field were still "in mesh", easily
crossed the goal. And that, in the final analysis, was the
game. On their best position of the afternoon a little later,
their best position through their own efforts, the Bears added
a field goal, Frank Maznicki kicking the three points from the
28. It made the score 10-0, and so it remained until the last
two minutes when the Packers finally smashed through with
a touchdown of their own. Fritsch went over from the three
after Tiny Croft a minute before had stolen the ball from 
Dante Magnani on the 15. Like most games in this series,
this was bitterly fought, although for a change, cleanly fought
except for a little hot blood between Walt Schlinkman and
Sprinkle later in the third quarter which led to the expulsion
of both. In all other ways, thought, it was hard, rocking
football of which the Packers dished out as much as they
Unlike most Packer-Bear games, however, this was largely
a defensive battle. The offensive pyrotechnics, which so often
light up the sky when these two get together, were missing.
Sprinkle, in going for his touchdown, uncorked the longest
run of the afternoon. The Bears stuck almost entirely to the
ground, which is not at all like them with a passer like Sid
Luckman in the lineup. They attempted only nine passes,
eight of them in the first half, and completed four, which is
just about par. The Packers, meanwhile, tried everything,
and once again in this rather strange season of theirs, did
their heaviest damage on the ground. Their passing attack
netted only 47 yards on four completions in 21 attempts,
although several time Cliff Aberson, who played an 
outstanding all around game, rifled the ball into a receiver's 
hands only to see it dropped. The licking just about 
eliminated the Packers from further title consideration in the
western end of the league. It hardly seems possible that any
team which has lost three games can still figure up in the
race. The Bears with the victory took over the undisputed 
The pattern of Sunday's game became clear early. The
Packers, applying constant defensive pressure, and terrific
pressure, too, kept the Bears in a hole all through the first
half. In the first quarter, Chicago never got beyond its own 44
yard line and in the second quarter never beyond its own 48.
It was savage, defensive ball in which the Packers 
smothered everything the Bears tried on the ground, 
everything they attempted in laterals to their man in motion,
and everything they tried on runback of punts. The Packers,
meanwhile, were no great offensive shakes themselves, but
they still had all the better of the game. After Luckman's
poor punt early in the first quarter, they had position on
Chicago's 35, but missed a chance to score when Fritsch's
44 yard field goal sailed wide of the posts. A little later, on
their only sustained drive of the half, a matter of 40 yards,
they reached Chicago's 21 yard line, then ran into a 15 yard
penalty and were stopped again. And early in the second
quarter, on a sally of 20 yards, they reached Chicago's 28
yard line, then on fourth down saw Fritsch miss another field
goal, this one from the 33 yard line. In 39 seconds of the
second half, however, the whole complexion of the game
changed. What happened when Fritsch dropped the ball has
already been told. Enraged at such a turn of events, the
Packers charged right back, taking the kickoff 30 yards to
their own 41 and then driving clear down the Chicago's 21
before they finally gave up the ball on downs. It was their last
real gesture of the afternoon, however, except for what they
did in the closing two minutes when they scored their
consolation touchdown.
In fact, from their starting position on their own 21 after Green Bay's drive had been stopped, the Bears in the next few minutes smashed to their next three points, and points which eventually meant victory and not a tie. They first drove to midfield, swapped punts, and then drove down to Green Bay's 20 from where on fourth down Maznicki stepped back to the 28, and with Luckman holding, booted a placement. It remained 10-0 until the closing minutes of the game when the Packers, ever battling, suddenly turned a 73 yard punt by McKay to their advantage. The kick, sailing out of bounds on Chicago's 12 yard line, put the Bears in a hole, and on the very first play, the Packers did something about it. Croft stole the ball from Dante Magnani, and Green Bay had possession on the 15. It took only four plays. Comp picked up a yard, a pass failed, Fritsch drove over right tackle to the three and Fritsch on the fourth play went over the same route into the end zone. The big fullback also added the extra point. The Packers tried desperately in the minute and 10 seconds which remained to regain the ball, after having kicked off, but in their anxiety they drew two penalties and the Bears still had the ball as the game ended.
GREEN BAY -  0  0  0  7 - 10
CHI BEARS -  0  0 10  0 -  7
3rd - CHI - Ed Sprinkle, 30-yard fumble return (Frank Maznicki kick) CHICAGO 7-0
3rd - CHI - Maznicki, 28-yard field goal CHICAGO 10-0
4th - GB - Fritsch, 3-yard run (Fritsch kick) CHICAGO 10-7
NOVEMBER 5 (Chicago Tribune) - New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco are the hot spots Sunday in the professional football whirligig. At New York: The Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants will battle for the eastern division lead in the NFL. At Chicago: The high scoring Cardinals will try to remain in the western division race and at the same time eliminate their opponents, the Green Bay Packers. At Los Angeles: The Bears will protect their slim western division edge against the Rams, defending champions. At San Francisco: The Cleveland Browns will try to stop their two game skid. If they don't, their opponents, the 49ers, will climb into a tie with them for the western section leadership of the All-America conference. Only in the eastern division of the All-America is pennant pressure lacking. The Yankees have won 6, lost 2 and tied 1. Brooklyn's Dodgers, in second place, have won 3, lost 4, and tied 1. The Chicago Rockets, having closed out their seven game home stand in Soldier's field, now start seeing America. They will play the Seahawks next Monday night in Miami. Then will follow trips to Cleveland, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The Los Angeles Rams were in Chicago briefly yesterday, coming here from Detroit, to catch an afternoon plane for the coast. The Bears will leave tomorrow on the Chief for the coast, arriving there Friday in time to work out. Thus they will lose only one day's drill, Thursday. The Bears kept Ray (Scooter) McLean on the sidelines Sunday in the Packer game to make sure the little fellow will be completely sound for the Rams. Likewise Los Angeles put the shackles on Kenny Washington against the Lions. The great Negro has been shifted to fullback and will be ready to do a job against the Bears. By winning the Rams will go into a tie with the Bears. Each would have 4 victories, 2 defeats and a tie. The Cardinals arrived in town yesterday from Boston quite proud of being the highest scoring team in the league with 180 points in seven games. They will be at full strength against the Packers in Comiskey park with the return of tackle Stan Mauldin, guard Ray Apolskis, and halfback Jimmy Johnston. Coach Jim Conzelman will have them hard at work this a.m. Anything can happen in the NFL's eastern free-for-all. The twice beaten Eagles whipped the Giants in Shibe park Sunday, 24 to 14. They will try to do it Sunday in the Polo Grounds, which would break their first place tie. In the background are Washington and Pittsburgh, with only two defeats but each saddled with a tie. There easily could be a playoff in this sector.
NOVEMBER 6 (Milwaukee Sentinel-Lloyd Larson) - Green Bay's Packers proved again last Sunday that victory, while highly desirable, isn't absolutely essential in winning new football friends and influencing old ones. Sure, they lost the ball game to their rugged old rivals, the Bears, but they put out, as they say in the trade - gave it the old college try right down to the very end. In short, they performed as fans have a right to expect mature, skilled postgraduates to perform. As a result, many of the same patrons who yawned and practically held their noses as the Packers beat Detroit at State Fair Park the week before, stayed to cheer the Lambeaumen in defeat this time. All through this unusual season, in fact, there has been every indication that the fans, while fickle at times, are more sensible and reasonable than they are generally given credit for being. They squawked and had a right to squawk when the Bays looked like a combination of wooden soldiers and junior boys in the first Bear game. The team's failure to play up to the hilt - not defeat - caused the holler guys to swing into action. A rousing comeback the following week against the Rams revived the cheering habit in a hurry despite another setback. The cheers died down a bit in the Pittsburgh victory and disappeared completely in the Detroit game. The conclusion, of course, is that folks in the stands are pretty keen judges. They're perfectly willing, even anxious, to wave the flag for a team doing its dead level best. But a sloppy exhibition? They just won't stand still for it, regardless of the outcome...CLIFF ABERSON GETS CHANCE AND CLICKS: From a Packer standpoint, there were a number of eye-catching features in the unusual defensive battle. Anytime the Bears fail to score a touchdown on their own power and the Lambeaumen are unable to do so before the last minute or two, the game must be termed unusual. Cliff Aberson's fine showing in his first opportunity to perform at length...Bob Forte's outstanding defensive play...the old fire from the line as a whole...Bruce Smith's topnotch work on defense...Roy McKay's great punting...Walter Schlinkman's continued improvement as a replacement for Ted Fritsch. And it was a pleasure to see a Packer-Bear game in which football predominated - not the kicking, piling, elbowing and general back alley brawling which have marred renewals of the old series in the past. Oh, the boys "laid the wood" on each other all right. Which they should, for it's part of this great contact sport. But they didn't stoop to methods they shouldn't even think of adopting. This Aberson boy, potentially a terrific passer and a runner gifted with plenty of desire, earned the right to stay in there. He can't acquire the necessary experience and polish sitting on the bench, or by getting into the game for a minute or two. For one who never played college ball, he has come a long way. The Green Bays better give 'er the gun again Sunday when they tangle with the Chicago Cardinals at Comiskey Park. Those Cards really are on the move.
NOVEMBER 7 (Chicago Tribune) - "This certainly is not like the old daze, and I do mean d-a-z-e." The inflection in the voice of Coach Jimmy Conzelman bore no trace of nostalgia, rather one of escape, as he watched the Chicago Cardinals run through a snappy practice session in Comiskey park yesterday in preparation for their game with the Green Bay Packers in the same park Sunday. Conzelman also expressed surprise that the Cardinals were regarded as favorites over Green Bay, a state of affairs that hasn't existed in the NFL for years. The last time the Cardinals defeated Green Bay was in 1937. The Cardinals won the first of the two game series that year, 14 to 7, but lost the second, 34 to 14. The Cardinal coaches anticipate little trouble in keeping the team up for their final four games - Green Bay, Los Angeles, a second game with the Packers, and the Bears. "My biggest trouble," said Conzelman, "is to keep the team free from overconfidence. I think we have learned our lesson, however, in that respect. We lost to the Bears and the Giants because of overconfidence, but hereafter we will wait until the final whistle before we start counting up a victory. The boys realize we still have a chance of winning the western division title and they are ready to give anybody a helluva debate on the subject." The Cardinals can win the western division title if somebody will lend them a little support. The team only asks that some other team beats the Bears and the south side entry promises to take its remaining four games, including the one with the Bears. The Packers will find the Cardinals on guard against any of the old Green Bay tricks, like stealing the ball. The Packers sidestepped a shutout by the Bears Sunday by stealing the ball and going on from that point for a touchdown. Conzelman has cause to remember the Packers' ball stealing proclivities. Back in 1942, the Cardinals were well on their way to a victory until Charley Brock, who now is captain of the Packers, stole the ball from Cardinal Bob Morrow and ran for a decisive touchdown. The Bears learned last Sunday that the Packers are still at it. Milburn (Tiny) Croft, 275 pound tackle, stole the ball from Dante Magnani to set up the Green Bay touchdown.
NOVEMBER 8 (Milwaukee Journal) - If the Bear game last Sunday was the frying pan for Curly Lambeau's Green Bay Packers, Sunday's with the Chicago Cardinals at Comiskey park, Chicago, will be the fire. The days in which a game with the Cardinals might be regarded as a breather, or even as a game to be taken in stride, are over. The Cardinals this year are the most potent ground gaining and scoring eleven in the league. Under the tutelage of Jimmy Conzelman, who returned this season after a two year absence in which he served the St. Louis Browns of the American league, they have won four games, lost three, and have taken over the lead, or almost taken it over, in just about everything important in the column of statistics. Operating off the T, which Conzelman installed this year with the help of Carl Brumbaugh, they lead or stand with the leaders in ground gained, in passing, with Paul Christman or Ray Mallouf pitching; in lateral passing, in scoring - even in yards penalized. The scoring record especially is impressive. In their seven games, with backs like Marshall Goldberg, Pat Harder and Frank Seno, and their passing, they have averaged little more than 25 points a game. No team has beaten them badly. The Steelers beat them in the rain, 14-7; the Bears won with a rousing fourth quarter rally, after trailing, 17-7, at the end of the third quarter, and the Giants beat them with a fourth quarter rally, 28-24. In turn, they have defeated Detroit twice, Boston and Los Angeles. The Los Angeles game was the high point of the season. They showed no mercy. The score was 34-10. Only factor in favor of the Packers lies in Curly Lambeau's own record in games against Conzelman coached teams. The two of them have been sending out rival football teams since 1921 and only once - in 1921 - when Conzelman captained the Rock Island Independents, has a team of his left the field with a victory over Green Bay. Conzelman subsequently coached off and on, at Detroit, Providence, and the Cardinals. Since the 1921 game he has lost. The game will be rough, but, happily, the Packers will be ready for the worst. They emerged from the Bear game last week without any new injuries, and Friday were in their peak condition of the fall. Cliff Aberson, rookie halfback, won a starting assignment with his performance against the Bears - both running and passing - and will be in the left halfback slot when the team takes the field. Sunday's game will probably be played before 35,000 fans. It will be first of a two game series. The second will be played in Green Bay November 24.
NOVEMBER 8 (Chicago Tribune) - "We've had tough going all season and all we have to do next Sunday is try to whip a team that has the best chance of winning the NFL western division title." That was the attitude taken by Curly Lambeau, coach of the Green Bay Packers, in a telephone conversation yesterday, as he sized up Sunday's game with the Chicago Cardinals in Comiskey park. "We know the Cardinals use the T formation, the same as the Bears and the Philadelphia Eagles, whom we already have met this year. However, those Cardinals don't follow the same pattern every week, so it looks like we will have to toss away our script on defense against the T next Sunday. Our big problem will be to find the Cardinal carrying the ball, if studying the work of Coach Jimmy Conzelman's team in previous games means anything. I think the Cardinals have the best personnel in the league and they have the power that might explode at any stage of the game. However, we still are the Packers and will be ready to give Chicago fans a good game." A glance at the official National league statistics confirms Lambeau's high regard for the Cardinals. They are pacing the league on the basis of yards gained as well as points scored. The south side team has gained ground at the rate of 345.2 yards per game over a span of seven contests and also holds the leadership in passing, kickoff returns, and field goal kicking. Paul Christman continues to lead the league's passers with 69 completions in 136 attempts for an average of .507, a gain of 1,079 yards and nine touchdowns. Ward Cuff, the kicking specialist, remains at the head of the scorers with 46 points. Two of the top five receivers are Cardinals, Bill Dewell maintaining his second position seven passes behind Jim Benton of Los Angeles, but remaining the circuit's most productive catcher with an average of 23.5 yards for 22 passes and six touchdowns. Mal Kutner is fifth with 15 receptions. Ted Fritsch, the 210 pound Packer back, who ranks third in the league in scoring, with 43 points, compiled on four touchdowns, seven extra points and four field goals, came in for considerable attention in yesterday's practice session, along with Larry Craig, Roy McKay and Irvin Comp, who does most of the Green Bay passing. Following the field drill and at the squad meeting last night the Cardinals spent some time with the "Grid Tutor", a magnetic football board designed by Alexis Thompson and Greasy Neale, owner and coach, respectively, of the Philadelphia Eagles.
NOVEMBER 9 (Chicago Tribune) - "These Packers are about the best tricksters in the NFL and don't let a thing like this happen to you Sunday." This warning was given to the Chicago Cardinals yesterday by Coach Jimmy Conzelman as they watched motion pictures of a game between the Cardinals and Packers back in 1942. One phase of the picture was re-run several times to emphasize the coach's point. Charley Brock of the Packers was shown stealing the ball from Bob Morrow and breaking away to score the touchdown that beat the Cardinals. Brock still is with the Packers and the Cardinals declared that if the Green Bay athlete steals the ball tomorrow in Comiskey park he will have to take an arm from one of the Cardinals with it. Prior to the motion picture session, the Cardinals engaged in one of their most extensive offensive drills of the season. They had been working on defense all week in the hope of finding a way to stop the heavy forward wall of the Packers, biggest line in the league. The Cardinals have an idea the Packers worked this week on formations designed to thwart Billy Dewell, adept pass receiver, who ranks second in the league. Dewell, accordingly, will find a new protection formation on his side against the Packers. Ward Cuff, the Cardinals' kicking expert, was in top form, booting the ball regularly between the uprights from the 45 yard line. In the event the going gets rough tomorrow, Cuff's kicking will be one of the Cardinals' chief weapons. Ted Fritsch of the Packers also rates as one of the best placement kickers in professional football.
NOVEMBER 9 (Chicago) - Jimmy Conzelman's Cardinals, still very much in the NFL pennant picture, will mix with the Green Bay Packers tomorrow afternoon at White Sox Park in a game that is expected to attract over 40,000. Gridiron hostilities get underway at 2 p.m. Ever since 1921, the Windy City Redbirds and the Wisconsin Lambeaus have been having it out on the pigskin front. During this string of combats, the Packers have won 30 against a dozen triumphs for the Cardinals and there were three tie games. The total point score gives the Packers a 749 to 682 edge over the Chicagoans. The Cardinals have been running wild this season offensively. They are blessed with a sure-shot passer in Paul Christman and he has been finding the range for a flock of touchdowns. Marshall Goldberg, the former Pittsburgh U All-American halfback, is again performing brilliantly along with Ward Cuff, a veteran pro footballer, who was an ace with the New York Giants for a half dozen seasons. In Pat Harder, Wisconsin, and Elmer Angsman, Notre Dame, the Cards have come up with a sterling pair of recruit backs while Bill Blackburn, center from Rice Institute, has proved a sensation with his touchdown activities, thanks to some lateral passes and interceptions. The Packers are set for the fray. The Green Bayians came out of the Bear game little the worst for wear, and Coach E.L. Lambeau will have his fill roster available for the fracas. The Bays will have a rugged defense as only 82 points have been scored against them and they have spent a lot of time in practice this week knocking down forward passes.
NOVEMBER 10 (Chicago Tribune) - The Chicago Cardinals and the Green Bay Packers will take the field in Comiskey park today fully impressed with the old military theme - "This is it." Today's game represents the crossroads in the western division title race of the NFL, for a defeat would automatically eliminate either the Cardinals or the Packers from all chances of further consideration. The Packers have a season record of three defeats against as many victories, while the Cardinals will be battling for their fifth victory against three losses. Today's game presents an interesting paradox - the highest scoring team in the league, as  
NOVEMBER 10 (Milwaukee Journal) - The Green Bay
Packers came back to town Saturday night with high
hopes that their visit this weekend, on which they will
meet the Chicago Cardinals at Comiskey park Sunday,
will be a little happier than last week's, on which they
played the Chicago Bears. A week ago they also came
to town with high hopes, then saw them dashed by the
unkindest of breaks when Ted Fritsch fumbled and Ed
Sprinkle recovered for the decisive touchdown in a 10-7
licking. The defeat stung. In the week since, though, 
the Packers have recovered, and Saturday night they
arrived back in town in a mood to make the Cardinals
pay. On top of this, they were in their best physical
condition of the fall, having come out of the usually hard
Bear game without new injuries. The assignment 
against the Cardinals promises to be every bit as tough,
if not together, when the one against the Bears last
week. Jimmy Conzelman, back at the helm of the red
shirted south side eleven after two years in baseball 
with the St. Louis Browns, has assembled one of the
strongest teams in the league, with a rock ribbed line
and a backfield of great potency, including such stars
as Pat Harder, late of Wisconsin; Marshall Goldberg,
Frank Seno, Paul Christman and Ray Mallouf. 
Christman and Mallouf, operating at quarterback in the
T, do most of the passing, which the Cardinals have
used with exceptionally good results. Green Bay's high
hopes rest largely on the team's defensive strength. No
team has been able to halt the Cardinals on a dry field
as yet, but the Packers have their own ideas. The
Pittsburgh Steelers held the Conzelman eleven to seven points in a rainstorm in September, but all others have yielded from 17 points up to 36. Lambeau and his right hand bowers, Walt Kiesling and Don Hutson, have the utmost confidence in Green Bay's defensive strength, however, and the records support them. The Packers, after their shaky start against the Bears at Green Bay, in which they yielded 30 points, have turned in the outstanding defensive job in the league. In their last four games they have had only 31 points scored against them. Cliff Aberson, rookie left halfback whose all-around play provided one of the bright spots of Green Bay's play last week, will probably start at left halfback Sunday, and may provide the offensive sparkplug the club has lacked so far. His passing and running both a week ago were sharp. A side light on the game is the record of the rival coaches. Jimmy Conzelman, in his years at Rock Island, Detroit, Providence and the Cardinals, has beaten a Lambeau coached team only once.
represented by the Cardinals, and the best defensive team in the western division and the second best defensive unit in the league. The Cardinals have totaled 180 points in seven games for an average of 25.7 points per contest as compared with the Packers' 12.8. Defensively the Cardinals have yielded 128 points, or 18.2 per game, while the Packers have a record of 13.6 average for six games, but only 7.7 for the last four contests. Offensively, the Packers have the lowest mark - 77 - in the western division and only Boston, with 59 total points, can take the dubious honor away from Green Bay in the whole league. In three games, the Bears twice held Green Bay to one touchdown and Detroit equaled that feat. Green Bay made two touchdowns against Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh and made added points as the result of field goals by Ted Fritsch and a safety by tackle Urban Odson. Mendota, Ill., will honor one of its favorite sons before game time when Rufus De Witz, who is now coaching at St. Charles by who was Frank Seno's football instructor at Mendota, will present the Cardinal halfback with a gift. Seno broke a league record when he ran back a kick 105 yards and a touchdown in the Polo Grounds against the Giants October 20.