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On This Date in Sports September 15, 1963: Bears Actually Beat the Packers

The Chicago Bears open the season with a 10-3 win over the Green Bay Packers at New City Stadium. The Packers were two-time defending NFL Champions and had defeated the Bears 49-0 in the previous game in Green Bay. The Packers were without Paul Hornung, who was serving a one-year suspension for betting on football. Joe Marconi scores on a one-yard run in the third quarter for the game's lone touchdown. Chicago limited the Packers to 150 yards total offense, forcing five turnovers.

Heading into the 1963 season, the Green Bay Packers had become a dynasty, winning back-to-back NFL Championships and three straight West Division titles. The team coached by Vince Lombardi was without one of their top players as Paul Hornung, the 1961 NFL MVP, was suspended for wagering on NFL games. The Bears, meanwhile, had not won an NFL Championship since 1946 and had appeared in the title game just once over the last 17 years. 

With the memory of a 49-0 loss in Chicago's 49-0 loss on their last trip to Green Bay, the Bears, led by George Halas, went into the game looking to make a statement. Chicago caught an early break when Larry Morris stripped the ball away from reigning MVP Jim Taylor. Richie Pettibone recovered the fumble, setting the Bears up on Green Bay's 33-yard line. The Bears would settle for a 32-yard field goal by Bob Jencks as the Packers' defense held firm. Herb Adderly nearly returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown before Joe Marconi ran him down. The Packers would also settle for a field goal by Jerry Kramer from 41 yards out. 

Neither team scored in the second quarter, as the game remained tied 3-3 at the half. Both teams exchanged interceptions, as defense won the day in Green Bay. As the second half began, the Packers drove into Bears' territory before Roosevelt Taylor picked off Bart Starr. The Bears proceeded to go on a 68-yard drive, with Billy Wade completing a 22-yard pass to Ronnie Bull to get the ball deep into Green Bay's side of the field. Get it down to the goal line. Joe Marconi scored on a run off tackle for the game's only touchdown. 

The Bears' defense would preserve the lad, as Bart Starr was picked off two more times. Starr had one of the worst games of his career, completing 11 of 22 passes for 83 yards with four interceptions. The Bears would defeat the Packers again in Chicago on November 17th. It was the only two losses they would suffer. The Bears would finish the season 11-1-2, as the Packers posted a record of 11-2-1. The Bears would win the NFL Championship, defeating the New York Giants 14-10.