Flashback: Packers spoil Lambeau's return

Editor's note: It's the off-season, but it's game day at PackerReport.com! Each Sunday until the start of the regular season, PackerReport.com will look back at a memorable Green Bay Packers game. Today we feature the Oct. 5, 1952 game between the Packers and the Washington Redskins.

On this day, Packer fans were happy to see Curly Lambeau lose.

On Oct. 5, 1952 Gene Ronzani's Packers defeated Lambeau's Washington Redskins 35-20 before a paltry crowd of 9,657 in the season's second game in Milwaukee, Wis.

The only thing stranger than seeing Lambeau on the opposing sideline was the way he got there. After forming, playing for and coaching the Packers from 1921 to 1949, Lambeau guided the Chicago Cardinals in 1950 and part of 1951 before bitterly parting company with the team. The next year, legendary Washington owner George Preston Marshall fired coach Dick Todd after two preseason losses and then turned to Lambeau.

The Redskins responded to Lambeau with a sweet victory in the 1952 opener. While the Packers were losing to the Chicago Bears 24-14 at City Stadium, the Redskins gave Lambeau a perfect welcoming gift – a 23-7 win over the Cardinals at Comiskey Park.

There would be no more revenge for Lambeau this season.

Buoyed by a dymamic passing attack, the Packers easily handled the Redskins in stopping a seven-game losing streak which stretched back to Week 6 of the 1951 campaign.

The victory was the first by the Packers in the regular season over their old boss and their fourth in four tries counting exhibitions.

Parilli was 7 of 12 for 248 yards and touchdowns in helping the Packers post their first win over the Redskins in five seasons.

Aside from only being with the team for a few weeks, Lambeau was facing another obstacle. Sammy Baugh, the greatest quarterback of his era, suffered a broken hand during the exhibition season and wouldn't return until late in the season. While Baugh was healing, Lambeau made him an assistant.

The Packers took the lead in the first three minutes of the contest when Babe Parilli hooked up with Billy Howton on a 90-yard touchdown pass. The pass was the third-longest in Packer history at the time and the longest since Arnie Herber found Don Hutson with a 92-yard TD strike on Oct. 8, 1939 at Milwaukee.

The Redskins pulled even later in the quarter on a 13-yard pass from Harry Gilmer to former Bear Jules Rykovich.

The Packers took the lead on the opening play of the second quarter thanks to a 10-yard run on a pitchout by halfback Floyd "Breezy" Reid, who was in the second of his seven-year career in Green Bay.

The Packers took a commanding 21-7 lead at halftime on a 4-yard touchdown run off a sweep by future Hall of Fame running back Tony Canadeo. A 40-yard pass from Parilli to end Bobby Mann put the Packers within arm's reach of the end zone.

Green Bay added another score in the third quarter behind a 30-yard gallop by Fred Cone. The score was part of a Packer rushing attack which amassed 178 yards. The score was also part of a productive day for Cone. The versatile Clemson product, who was in his second year, kicked five extra-points and ran for 76 yards on just eight carries.

The Packers last score came on a 28-yard pass from Parilli to Tobin Rote.

Washington's second half touchdowns came on a 70-yard pass from the diminutive LeBaron to Hugh Taylor and an 11-yard touchdown run by Neil Ferris.

Those plays were not indicative of the performance of the Packer defense, according to the press reports of the day.

"The Redskins' attack, with young Eddie LeBaron doing most of the directing, spurted most of the way as a fired-up Green Bay line burst through repeatedly to hamper their overhead game," the Associated Press reported following the game.

Notes: In addition to Canadeo, among those who played in this game and later became Packer Hall of Famers were defensive tackle Dave Hanner, Cone, Howton, Mann, defensive lineman John Martinkovic, linebacker-guard Deral Teteak and Rote. ... The 1952 Packers started 6-3 but finished the season with a three-game losing streak. That skid would hit six with an 0-3 start in 1953. ... Lambeau's Redskins finished 4-8. Lambeau finished his coaching career with 1953 Redskins and went 6-5-1. He never faced the Packers again. ... According to Larry D. Names' "The History of the Green Bay Packers: The Shameful Years," the televised World Series between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers may have kept the crowd down. ... In addition to Names' book and press reports of the day, David Zimmerman's book "Cury Lambeau: The Man Behind the Legend" and football@jt-sw.com was used in assembling this story.

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