The Bears were coming off a nine-win season under head coach George Halas. The 1937 season was the last for Bears great Bronko Nagurski (other than a brief, one-year return to the Bears in 1943).
Baugh stated that the field conditions were, in his words "the worst field I ever saw. The field had been torn up the previous week, and it froze solid with jagged clods sticking up. I've never seen so many people get cut up in a football game"
The Redskins scored first when Baugh led the team down to the Chicago 7-yard line, where he slipped the ball to Battles on a reverse for the game's first touchdown.
The Bears came back, however, as halfback Jack Manders scored the next fourteen points for the Bears: a touchdown run, a touchdown pass reception, and two extra points. Chicago led 14–7 at halftime.
Baugh took over in the second half, mixing short and long passes, shredding the Bears defense. (Baugh would finish the game 18-for-33 passing, for 335 yards; he had led the league in 1937 with an average of 102.5 yards passing per game.) Even using five defensive linemen (most teams used six at the time) and a sixth defensive back, the Bears could not stop the Redskins passing attack.
In the fourth quarter, the score was tied 21–21, before Baugh threw a 35-yard touchdown strike to Redskins wingbackEd Justice to take the lead for good, 28–21.
The First Fifty Years, a 1969 book that chronicles the first half-century of the NFL, listed the game as the second of "Ten [Games] That Mattered." "In his rookie year," the book concludes, "Sammy Baugh had beaten pro football's best with a style of play 15 years before its time. And in his first year in prestigious Washington, George Preston Marshall ran up a championship flag. Pro football was getting its base."
1 – From 1966 to 1969, the first four Super Bowls were "World Championship" games played between two independent professional football leagues, AFL and NFL, and when the league merged in 1970 the Super Bowl became the NFL Championship Game.
2 – Dates in the list denote the season, not the calendar year in which the championship game was played. For instance, Super Bowl XLI was played in 2007, but was the championship for the 2006 season.