1985 Bears Coverage: McMahon sore, but he’ll play

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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.

McMahon sore, but he’ll play

Brian Hewitt

Originally published Nov. 7, 1985

Quarterback Jim McMahon’s latest injury is a sore throwing shoulder.

The Bears withheld McMahon from practice yesterday. But, said coach Mike Ditka, “it’s just tender. It’s nothing that’s going to be a detriment Sunday.”

Ditka was more concerned with defensive tackle Steve McMichael’s eye. McMichael wound up in the hospital after getting poked by offensive lineman Stefan Humphries.

Ditka said he expected McMichael to play against the Lions Sunday at Soldier Field. “But it will be sore, no question. He’ll probably have to wear a plastic shield over the eye.”

DECISION: Ditka also said he will make a decision today on what wide receiver to add to the roster. The Bears are hurting at that position because starters Dennis McKinnon (knee) and Willie Gault (ribs) and reserve James Maness (groin/ tonsilitis) are all nursing injuries.

The replacement candidates: “Just say there are a couple of candidates,” said Ditka. Unless the Bears get outside help, those would be either veteran Brian Baschnagel or rookie Keith Ortego. Gault is listed as questionable on the injury report though Ditka said he would start against the Lions.

IN A WORD: “Scary,” was first-year Detroit coach Darryl Rogers’ one-word assessment of the Bears in a conference call hook-up with Chicago writers.

Rogers then took special pains to compliment the often-overlooked Bears personnel department.

“You’ve got two No. 1 draft choices playing offensive tackle. You’ve got a No. 1 draft choice at outside receiver. You’ve got the best player from 1975 Walter Payton. So you’ve got one, two, three, four, five No. 1 draft choices starting for your offensive football team. And they’re all producing.

“And then when you the Bears don’t move the football, you turn it over and turn loose some more No. 1 draft choices.

“I think if you look back at the Chicago Bears over the last 10 years, they’ve developed in their growth a very strong franchise because of excellent drafts.”

NO ACTION: An NFL source said the league has not yet decided to take any action against Packer defensive back Ken Stills.

Stills decked Bear running back Matt Suhey several seconds after a first-half play Sunday in the Bears’ 16-10 victory over the Packers in Green Bay.

Officials penalized Stills for the infraction but allowed him to stay in the game. According to Bear safety Gary Fencik, Stills later told Suhey he had been ordered by the Packer coaching staff to deliver what the Bears unanimously agreed was a cheap shot.

“Maybe there are coaches who condone 15-yard penalties,” said Ditka. “I don’t because it hurts the football team. It hurts too many other people to get them.

“You say, you put a hit on somebody and you impress them and this and that. That’s a bunch of crap. You don’t scare anybody in the game of football. You could hit Matt Suhey with a sledgehammer and not scare him. So that’s a bunch of crap.”

The Bears formally protested Stills’ play earlier this week.

The NFL doesn’t announce fines. But if it decides to suspend Stills, it will probably happen before this Sunday.

“It’s a closed issue as far as I’m concerned,” said Ditka. “The league can’t give me any solace. But they ought to pick up the phone and call Matt.

“What I’d like to know is why the penalty on No. 29 Stills is the same penalty as it is for Mike Singletary pounding on the ground. There’s a heckuva lot of difference.”

UPDATE: Bear rookie William Perry’s teams have compiled an astonishing .825 winning percentage since high school.

Aiken (S.C.) High School was 33-10 when Perry attended school there. Clemson was 37-6-2 in the Perry years. And the Bears are 9-0 with Perry.

Meanwhile, the Portland Trail Blazers have requested Perry’s presence at halftime of a home game when the Bear season ends. And Perry agent Jim Steiner said a shoe company is pushing for a dual endorsement for Perry and 5-7 Atlanta guard Spud Webb. Steiner said the company wants to feature Perry and Webb doing 360-degree slam dunks.

HONORS: No surprise.

Payton was named NFC offensive Player of the Week. Payton rushed for 192 yards and the winning touchdown on 28 carries in Sunday’s victory.

Payton also caught three passes for 14 yards.

The NFC defensive Player of the Week was Cardinal defensive back Leonard Smith, who had one sack and one interception in St. Louis’ 21-10 upset over Dallas Monday night.

The AFC players of the week were San Diego quarterback Dan Fouts and Seattle cornerback Terry Taylor.

NUMBERS: The Bears lead the league in turnover differential with a plus-12. The Rams are second with a plus-11. Buffalo is last with minus-10.

The Bears (255 points) no longer lead the league in scoring. Cincinnati has scored 260 points.

The Bears still lead the league in scoring defense (124 points). The Rams are second with 127.

Bear quarterback McMahon has dropped from first to second in NFC passing ratings. San Francisco’s Joe Montana (who didn’t play last week) is first with 90.9. McMahon’s latest rating is 89.7.

The Bears rank third in the NFL in total offense and ninth in total defense. Only the Giants (fourth in offense, first in defense) and the Jets (ninth in offense and second in defense) have a better combined offense-defense ranking total.

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