#TBT: Sloppy Chicago Bears Top Sloppier Packers, 23-7


Greetings, Bears fans. With this being the 30th anniversary of the Super Bowl-winning Chicago Bears of 1985, here at Bear Goggles On we’ll be revisiting the regular season and playoff games — including re-watching them when possible — and posting information about a game each Throwback Thursday as we move closer to the 2015 regular season.

If it wasn’t for the coming out party of the Fridge, no one would want to remember this game.

In what was the Chicago Bears’ first Monday night game of the 1985 season, the 6-0 Bears stumbled and fumbled their way to a 23-7 victory over the hated – and just a little more hapless – Green Bay Packers.

The Bears were riding high coming into the game, fresh off a 26-10 triumph over San Francisco, while Green Bay was holding steady at 3-3 after its Week 6 victory over Minnesota. Neither team, though, played playoff-caliber football, except for the Bears defense. The bitter rivals put on a hideous display, with the teams combining for five first quarter turnovers and a whopping eight in the first half.

McMahon started the comedy by fumbling the Bears’ first snap in the first quarter; Green Bay quarterback Lynn Dickey retorted by throwing an interception to Bears free safety Gary Fencik inside Chicago’s five just four plays later.

Matt Suhey then got in on the action by fumbling after catching McMahon’s first completion, with Green Bay snagging the ball at Chicago’s 40. Dickey and wide receiver James Lofton broke the streak, connecting on a 27-yard touchdown pass for a 7-0 Green Bay lead.

Next it was Dennis McKinnon’s turn. The usually sure-handed receiver caught a McMahon pass at the Green Bay 20 but fumbled a few yards later, with the Packers recovering; Dickey threw his second interception three plays later, this time to cornerback Mike Richardson.

By the end of the first quarter, it was still 7-0 Green Bay, with the Packers also winning the turnover battle 3-2.

Fortunately, the Bears righted the ship in the second quarter, scoring 21 points.

First, Payton capped off the drive after Dickey’s second interception with a 2-yard plunge, following William Perry, who had his introduction to the offensive backfield the prior week with two carries. This time, the 325-pound rookie defensive lineman flattened linebacker George Cumby, with Payton following behind him for the score.

“I only have one obligation and that’s to block the linebacker,” Perry told the Chicago Tribune’s Don Pierson. “Whoever else got in the way I took him out, too. Cumby didn’t say anything. I think I rung his bell.”

“It isn’t enough that we have to worry about Walter Payton,” Cumby told Ed Sherman of the Chicago Tribune. “We didn’t expect (Perry) in there. When he came in, we were surprised.”

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The Packers then bobbled the kickoff return, starting the ensuing drive at their 4-yard-line. Three plays later the Packers punted, with return man Ken Taylor reversing to reserve running back Dennis Gentry, who toted the rock to the Green Bay 10, only to see Payton fumbled several plays later for the Bears’ fourth turnover.

Not to be outdone, Dickey threw his third interception of the first half on the next play. This time, it was Wilber Marshall who stepped in front of an out pattern, returning the ball three yards to the Green Bay 17.

A pass to and a run by Payton moved the ball to the Green Bay 1, and in came Perry. This time, Coach Mike Ditka called for McMahon to handoff to Perry, and the bowling ball rolled over Cumby into the endzone for the Bears’ second touchdown of the quarter and a 14-7 lead.

Perry, for his part, seemed to be enjoying himself, telling the Chicago Tribune’s Bernie Lincicome that “I’m just a straight ahead runner at the goal line.”

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Following a Packers punt, the Bears mixed passes to McKinnon, Suhey and Emery Moorehead and runs by McMahon and Payton to reach the Green Bay one yard line. Once again, Perry came in, and once again, Cumby fell over, allowing Payton to waltz in for the 21-7 lead.

“I felt like I was stealing,” Payton told Lincicome. “He just cleared everything out, and I walked in behind him. He’s so wide I can just hide behind him. No one expects him to have so much speed and agility. I hope they don’t move more linemen in there. They’ll move out all the running backs.”

The second half was largely quiet, as the only points came in the fourth quarter when Bears linebacker Otis Wilson sacked third-string Packers quarterback Jim Zorn in the endzone for a safety. The Bears offense, meanwhile, was still passing the ball with less than 2 minutes left, which may have been Ditka trying to run up the score on rival Packers coach Forrest Gregg.

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Lost in all the turnovers was the play of the Bears defense, which terrorized all three Packers quarterbacks and held Green Bay to less than 100 rushing yards for the game. Richard Dent, Dan Hampton, Steve McMichael and Wilson all notched sacks, with Dent in particular spending time blindsiding Packer quarterbacks all night. The defense forced five turnovers and harried Packer quarterbacks into a sub-.500 completion percentage for the game.

Offensively, the Bears struggled outside of the second quarter. Payton, except for the fumble, had another solid game, clocking in at 112 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries, while the whole offense finished with 175 rushing yards.

McMahon, though, struggled, finishing 12 of 26 for 144 yards and a fumble before backup Steve Fuller – who would go 2 for 5 – replaced him. McMahon was battling a sprained ankle late in the game, and was particularly poor in the second half, completing three of eight passes and being sacked twice.

View image | gettyimages.com

The real star of the win, of course, was Perry, who became a media sensation that only grew over the course of the season, as the big man showed up in commercials and late night talk shows. While he would eventually start to play more on defense, Perry proved an effective weapon for the Bears either blocking or carrying the ball, and he would become a calling card whenever the Bears found themselves near the goal line.

At 7-0, the Bears were reaching a soft spot in the schedule, as games against struggling teams like the Vikings, the Packers again and Detroit were next on the menu before a trip to Dallas.

Next: Walter Payton Unanimous Choice As Top RB of Super Bowl Era

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