1985 Bears Coverage: Back-to-back Bear attack

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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.

Back-to-back Bear attack

Herb Gould

Originally published Nov. 11, 1985

“The truth is, we were somewhat defending against Walter Payton,” said Detroit nose tackle Doug English. “But we really kind of expected them to use Matt Suhey a lot, because he’s a great runner.

“That’s one of the most deadly things about Payton. If you combine him with a Matt Suhey, Suhey’s going to make some yards.”

Added Detroit linebacker Roosevelt Barnes, “Suhey’s a great complement for Payton. A lot of teams overlook him. We didn’t and he still got his yards.”

Barnes was whistled for holding Tim Wrightman, but he questioned that call, which took the Bears out of a fourth-down situation and gave them a first-down at the 1 to set up their first TD.

“You have five yards where you can keep you hands on the receiver, and that’s what I thought I did,” Barnes said.

But Barnes came away convinced the Bears’ 10-0 record is no fluke. “Right now, they’re the best team in football,” he said.

POLAR BEARS: “This is Bear weather. Whenever we get this kind of weather, it’s just points for us,” said middle linebacker Mike Singletary, who recovered two fumbles among Detroit’s four turnovers. “I don’t care if it’s raining, snowing or sleeting. It’s Bear weather.”

Asked to grade yesterday’s defense, Singletary said, “On a scale of 1 to 10, about a 7. I think we’re going to peak at the right time and that’s very important.”

If the defense still is planning to get better, even long underwear won’t help playoff opponents who have to venture into Soldier Field in January.

HOW SUHEY IT IS: If there’s an urgency to the Bears’ winning, a panic about losing, it isn’t because the Bears are greedy.

“We’re just afraid it could be like a bandwagon. Lose one, lose two,” Suhey said.

In addition, he said, the Bears don’t want to let up because, “The weird thing about football is that in the playoffs, you lose and you’re out. That’s why Dallas is really a test for us.”

THE SHADOW: Suhey, who gained 102 yards to Payton’s 107, said he doesn’t mind playing in Payton’s shadow.

“Playing in a great city, getting paid fairly, playing with perhaps the greatest player ever in the game, what more could you ask for?” he said.

How about a 100-yard game in front of your mother after she spent three months in Japan? “I haven’t seen her since then,” Suhey said.

DALLAS II: Another reason the Bears are looking forward to next Sunday’s trip to Dallas, where coach Mike Ditka was an assistant coach, is the pre-season trip they made there, which ended in a 15-13 defeat.

“We want to win the football game for Mike,” tackle Jim Covert said. “But we want to win for ourselves, too. Because the last time we went down there, I think the Cowboys said, `The Chicago Bears think they’re tough guys. We can be tough guys, too.’ It turned into a free-for-all.

“I don’t think it’s a mini-Super Bowl,” Covert said. “They’re just the next in our path. They’re trying to take something away from us. We have all the respect in the world for them. But they’re trying to take something away from us.”

And these days, the Bears prefer to do the taking.

DETROIT LEMONS: The Lions won the toss and elected to kick off so they could use the wind in the first quarter. Then they fumbled the exchange between quarterback Eric Hipple and center Steve Mott two out of their first four snaps, allowing the Bears to eat up the clock and take a 7-0 lead.

Mott has a broken ring finger on his centering hand and had difficulty gripping the ball in the frigid, wet weather, Lion coach Darryl Rogers said.

He also said the Lions used their three timeouts in the first quarter so they could take full advantage of the wind.

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