The ball is dead immediately when the ball carrier touches the ground with any part of his body except his hands or feet while in the grasp of an opponent.
A new exception is made in regard to scoring a safety: When a defender intercepts a pass, his intercepting momentum carries him into his own end zone, and he is stopped before returning the ball back into the field of play, then the ball will be next put in play at the spot of the interception.
The defending champion Browns dropped their opener, at home, to the Redskins 27–17, but a six game win streak put them back in front to win the Eastern race. The Western race was crowded a few times, as the Rams had to share the lead. In Week Eight, the Bears beat Los Angeles 24–3, to give both teams 5–3 records, The next week (November 20), the Bears took the lead with a 24–14 at Detroit while the Rams got a 17–17 tie at Baltimore. As had happened many times before in the annual battle of Chicago, the Bears were upset by the Cardinals in Week Ten (November 27), 53-14; the Rams eked out a 23-21 in Philadelphia on Pat Richter's field goal with 0:07 left in the game. In Week Eleven (December 4), the Rams won 20–14 over Baltimore, and the Bears kept their hopes alive with a difficult 21–20 win over Detroit. In the latter game, the Lions' Doak Walker missed an extra point, lost a fumble late in the game on the Detroit 28, and was wide on a 35-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds. The Bears won their last game (December 11), 17-10 over Philadelphia, to finish 8–4, and hoped for the 7–3–1 Rams would lose their game in Los Angeles against Green Bay. The Rams didn't lose, clinching a spot in the title game, with a 31-17 win.