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1945 NFL Championship Game
1945 NFL Championship Game.jpg
The Rams try to stay warm on the sideline at Cleveland Municipal Stadium during the 1945 NFL Championship Game.
1 2 3 4 Total
Washington Redskins 0 7 7 0 14
Cleveland Rams 2 7 6 0 15
Date December 16, 1945
Stadium Cleveland Stadium
City Cleveland, Ohio
Attendance 32,178
TV/Radio in the United States
Radio Network Blue
Radio Announcers Harry Wismer

In the 1945 National Football League Championship Game, the Cleveland Rams defeated the Washington Redskins, 15–14, at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio on December 16, 1945. This was the last game before the Rams moved to Los Angeles, California and was the 13th annual NFL championship game. One play which provided the Rams' margin of victory led to a significant rule change in professional American football. Additionally, It was the coldest NFL championship game up to that time with a temperature of -8°F.[1]

The game

In the first quarter, the Redskins had the ball at their own 5-yard line. Dropping back into the end zone, quarterback Sammy Baugh threw, but the ball hit the goal post (which at the time were on the goal line instead of at the back of the end zone) and bounced back to the ground in the end zone. Under the rules at the time, this was ruled as a safety and thus gave the Rams a 2-0 lead.

In the second quarter, Baugh suffered bruised ribs and was replaced by Frank Filchock. Filchock threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Steve Bagarus to give the Redskins a 7-2 lead. But the Rams scored just before halftime when rookie quarterback Bob Waterfield threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Jim Benton. Waterfield's ensuing extra point was partially blocked, with the ball teetering on the crossbar, but it dropped over to give Cleveland a 9-7 lead.

In the third quarter, the Rams increased their lead when Jim Gillette scored on a 44-yard touchdown reception, but this time the extra point was missed. The Redskins then came back to cut their deficit to 15-14 with Seymour's 8-yard touchdown catch from Filchock. In the fourth quarter, Washington kicker Joe Aguirre missed two field goals attempts, of 46 and 31 yards, that could have won the game.

But it was the safety that proved to be the margin of victory. Redskins owner George Preston Marshall was so mad at the outcome that he became a major force in passing the following major rule change after the season: A forward pass that strikes the goal posts is automatically ruled incomplete. This later became known as the "Baugh/Marshall Rule".

Scoring summary

  • CLE - Safety, Baugh's pass hit the goal post and became incomplete in the end zone CLE 2-0
  • WAS - Bagarus 38 pass from Filchock (Aguirre kick) 7-2 WAS
  • CLE - Benton 37 pass from Waterfield (Waterfield kick) 9-7 CLE
  • CLE - Gillette 44 pass from Waterfield (kick failed) 15-7 CLE
  • WAS - Seymour 8 pass from Filchock (Aguirre kick) 15-14 CLE

References

  1. ^ Howard Roberts (1953). "Cleveland Before Brown". The Story of Pro Football. Rand McNally & Company. pp. 95–96. LCN 53-9336.  
  • Nash, Bruce, and Allen Zullo (1986). The Football Hall of Shame, 68-69, Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-74551-4.
  • The Sporting News Complete Super Bowl Book 1995, 395-396, The Sporting News Publishing Co. ISBN 0-89204-523-X.
Preceded by
NFL Championship Game, 1944
NFL Championship Game
1945
Succeeded by
NFL Championship Game, 1946
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