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1985 Bears Coverage: Bears obsessed with perfection

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 obsessed with perfection

Brian Hewitt

Originally published Nov. 21, 1985

The Bear defense won’t rest until it plays the perfect game. And its spokesmen are perfectly happy to talk about why.

“The perfect game will be when everybody grades out at 100 percent or at least 95 percent,” middle linebacker Mike Singletary said yesterday. “I think we’re close.” The players get their weekly grades after the coaches have watched game film.

Last week the Bear defense pitched its first shutout of the year. It was the first shutout against Dallas in 15 years.

But Bear defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan said his unit played better in the team’s 20-7 victory over New England Sept. 15 and in its 26-10 victory in San Francisco four weeks later.

The Bears allowed 206 yards against the Patriots and collected six quarterback sacks. The 49ers gained only 183 yards and suffered seven sacks. Dallas managed 171 yards while Cowboy quarterbacks threw four interceptions.

“It’s getting easier,” said linebacker Otis Wilson. “Easier, because everybody knows we’re for real.”

Free safety Gary Fencik’s perfect defensive game calls for “less than 100 yards of total offense allowed, one touchdown scored, six or more interceptions, eight sacks, a couple of fumbles thrown in for good measure and a shutout.”

“I think it’s possible,” he said. “I don’t think that’s out of touch with reality.”

The Bears are talking about the perfect game because of the meteoric improvement of their defense in the last month. They have

improved from 11th to ninth to third to second in the weekly league rankings. Leader Pittsburgh has allowed 37 fewer yards.

The Bear defense has ranked No. 1 against the rush since early in the season. It has allowed a total of only 10 points in the second half of the last eight games.

Meanwhile, the Bears lead the NFL in the important turnover/takeaway ratio with plus 18. The next closest team is the Jets at plus 13. Nobody else in the NFC is better than plus 9. The Bears also lead in interceptions with 28.

“We were right at 100 percent against Dallas,” said defensive end Richard Dent, who leads the Bears with nine sacks. “But we can get better.”

Dent’s perfect game shopping list includes 11 items. Among them are five sacks, two fumble recoveries, four interceptions and less than 150 yards of total offense. “But you’ve got to do it,” Dent said. “You can’t talk about it.”

Two weeks ago the Bears limited the Lions to 106 yards of total offense. It was the least amount of yards they had allowed all year. But they only got four sacks, only two interceptions and only two fumble recoveries.

The closest thing to a perfect defensive game in NFL history occurred Nov. 4, 1979 when the Rams limited the Seahawks to minus seven yards and only one first down in a 24-0 rout.

The Seahawks’ time of possession that day was 14:28.

“One of these days we may just play that perfect defensive game,” said Bear coach Mike Ditka. Asked what that would be, Ditka said, “no yards gained.”

Reminded of what the Rams did to Seattle, Ditka said, “Yeah, that’s a perfect one. But did Seattle get any first downs?”

One.

“Then,” he said, “it’s not perfect.”