A muffed punt by Tunnell led to the only Bears touchdown, but the Giants answered with a five-play, 71-yard drive that was highlighted by a 50-yard pass to Webster and capped by a one-yard Webster touchdown. To conclude the first half, Ray Beck blocked a Chicago punt and little-used rookie Henry Moore recovered the ball in the end zone for a 34-7 halftime lead.
The second half was a formality. George Blanda took over at quarterback for Chicago but engineered no points, while Charley Conerly threw touchdown passes to Kyle Rote in the third quarter and Frank Gifford in the fourth to make the final score 47-7. With the victory secure, Conerly gave way to third-stringer Bobby Clatterbuck. Chuckin’ Charley threw just 10 passes on the day, but completed seven of them for an astounding 195 yards. Oddly, the touchdown caught by Rote was the only pass caught by a Giants end all day, but halfbacks Gifford and Webster were free throughout the game. In their first season in Yankee Stadium, the Giants had won their first NFL title in 18 years.
The Giants trailed the Browns by a game in the East for most of the 1958 season. When the teams met in the season finale, New York had won three straight and were 8-3 on the year; Cleveland had won four straight and were 9-2. A tie or Cleveland victory would clinch the crown for the Browns. On a cold, windy, snowy day at Yankee Stadium, the Giants had to win.
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On the Browns’ first play from scrimmage, the Giants’ vaunted defensive line and linebackers were completely wiped out, and the great Jim Brown burst up the middle for a 65-yard touchdown run. Brown was not touched until corner Dick Lynch tapped him with one hand at the 30-yard line. The Giants defense solidified after that initial lapse, though, and held Brown to 83 yards on 25 carries during the rest of the game.
The Giants got on the scoreboard themselves in the second quarter with a 46-yard field goal by Pat Summerall, following a fumble by Cleveland quarterback Milt Plum. The Browns’ Lou Groza answered with a
22-yard field goal later in the quarter. Cleveland had the fewest fumbles in the NFL in 1958, but fumbles were what did in the Browns this day. Early in the fourth quarter, Milt Plum lost the ball a second time, and Andy Robustelli recovered it at the Browns’ 45. Frank Gifford followed with a halfback option pass diagonally across the field to Kyle Rote at the 10, and Don Paul tackled Rote at the 6. After a failed run by Gifford, the Giants went back to the halfback option play, and Gifford hit Bob Schnelker for the tying touchdown with 10:10 to play.
The Browns would make only one more first down in the game, and they punted back to New York at the 30. The Giants drove inside the Browns’ 30, where Summerall lined up for a 36-yard field goal with just under five minutes to play. Summerall missed the kick and felt like the goat. Again, however, the Browns could not move the ball, and Dick Deschaine shanked a 22-yard punt to the Cleveland 42.
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