The 1952 NFL Championship Game — Lions and Browns


By Ron Griffitts

Contributing columnist

On December 28, 1952 at Municipal Stadium on the lake front in Cleveland the Detroit Lions, who had defeated the Los Angeles Rams in a playoff game after both teams finished 9-3 in the regular season, met the Cleveland Browns appearing in their third consecutive NFL championship game.

The Lions were coached by Buddy Parker who had as an assistant Buster Ramsey, and were led on offense by quarterback Bobby Layne who threw for 1,999 yards and 19 touchdowns and ran for 457 yards and 1 touchdown, running back Bob Hoernschemeyer (457 yards, 4 TD’s), and receivers Cloyce Box (924 yards, 15 TD’s) and Leon Hart (376 yards, 4 TD’s).

They were led on defense by Bob Smith with 9 interceptions, Jim David with 7 and LaVern Torgeson with 5. Their place kicker was Pat Harder who made 11 of 23 field goal attempts.

The Browns were coached by Paul Brown with assistants Weeb Ewbank and Blanton Collier and were led on offense by quarterback Otto Graham who passed for 2,816 yards and 20 TD’s, running backs Marion Motley (444 yards, 1 TD) and Ken Carpenter (408 yards, 3 TD’s), and receivers Dub Jones (651 yards, 4 TD’s), Max Speedie (911 yards, 5 TD’s) and Dante Lavelli (336 yards, 4 TD’s).

They were led on defense by Bert Rechichar with 6 interceptions, Warren Lahr with 5 and Walt Michaels and Tommy James with 4 each. The field goal kicker was Lou Groza who converted on 19 of 33 field goal attempts.

The first quarter was scoreless as the Lions got on the scoreboard first in the second quarter on a two-yard touchdown run by Bobby Lane. Pat Harder converted the extra point and the Lions led at the half 7-0.

In the third quarter, Doak Walker scored on a 67-yard touchdown run and with the Pat Harder conversion of the extra point the score was 14-0 in favor of the Lions. The Browns responded with their first score in the game on a seven-yard Chick Jagade touchdown run and with the Lou Groza extra point conversion the score was 14-7 in favor of the Lions after three quarters of play.

Pat Harder added a 36-yard field goal in the fourth quarter and the Lions and Bobby Layne went on to win 17-10.

Both the Lions and Browns were back the following year in the NFL championship game.

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