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1985 Bears Coverage: Bears' foes in a foul mood

Every day of the 2015 Chicago Bears season, Chicago Sun-Times Sports will revisit its coverage 30 years ago during the 1985 Bears’ run to a Super Bowl title.

Bears’ foes in a foul mood

Kevin Lamb

Originally published Nov. 10, 1985

Buddy Ryan is afraid opponents may be on to a way to move the ball against the Bears. It’s the old personal-foul-and-automatic-first-down play.

“If you don’t get a first down on a third-down play, it’s to your advantage to start a fight,” says Ryan, the Bears’ defensive coordinator. “The defensive guy’s always the one who gets caught for retaliating.”

That happened at Green Bay last Sunday. The Packers came up short on third-and-one but got 15 yards on Otis Wilson’s personal foul.

“It could have been a lot worse,” safety Gary Fencik said of the brawling at Green Bay. “There definitely were personality conflicts one-to-one, including our coaches.

“We didn’t have the poise we should have had in the huddle. There’s only a certain amount of times you can pull the Knute Rockne speech in the huddle before it loses effectiveness. We’re a group of professionals.”

Few Bears expect another game like the Packer game, when the players seemed to be mistaking the whistle for a ringside bell. Isolated fights, yes. But at Green Bay, Ryan said, “They should have given their defense a saliva test.”

He gave his own defense a chewing-out. Four of the Packers’ 15 first downs were on penalties.

“Poise is the thing you need on defense,” Ryan says. “Not macho crap. That doesn’t do anything but get you in trouble. We pride ourselves on being tough. But when you do something stupid that gives the other team a first down, that’s the way you lose.”