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1985 Bears Coverage: Big defeat for Vikes? Bud won't grant it

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.

Big defeat for Vikes? Bud won’t grant it

Herb Gould

Originally published Sept. 20, 1985

MINNEAPOLIS – It was a loss, but not a total loss, in the eyes of Minnesota coach Bud Grant.

“It’s going to be a long season,” Grant said. “This isn’t going to make or break us. Chicago is an up-and-coming team, and we played them to a point where a couple of plays made the difference.”

As for Jim McMahon, Grant said, “I am always aware of players who have small injuries.”

KRAMER TAMERS: In 1982, the last time Tommy Kramer faced the Bears here, he completed 26-of-35 passes for 342 yards and five touchdowns. This time around, Kramer was 28-of-55 for 436 yards and three touchdowns. But he also threw three interceptions.

“When you get down on your knees at night, you say a prayer that Kramer won’t be as hot as he was tonight,” defensive lineman Dan Hampton said. “We had to come off the rocks to beat him.”

Hampton helped the cause by recording his first sack of the season – “It’s been a long time coming,” he said – and Kramer barely escaped his clutches several more times.

Linebacker Wilber Marshall, who picked up a game ball for his interception and fumble recovery, said Kramer “basically was nickel-and-diming us, but we finally got the right defense in to stop him.”

On the interception – Marshall’s first in the NFL – that set the stage for McMahon’s second touchdown pass, Marshall said, “Everybody was yelling for me to lateral it. I was just glad to have the ball. I wanted to see if I could get seven points.”

MANHANDLED: “He just had a hot hand. Everything he did seemed to work. He must have been anxious to play,” said Minnesota cornerback Willie Teal, No. 37 on your highlights films of McMahon’s touchdown bombs to Willie Gault and Dennis McKinnon.

On TD No. 1, Teal said, “We had a blitz going, but Gault must have read it. He got by me. On the second touchdown, Joey Browner was all over McKinnon. He just made a great catch.”

OPINIONS: “I think Joe Namath wanted to come out of retirement to get in on this,” McKinnon said of the McMahon Show. “Basically, we had a dull first half. Then Father McMahon came out and gave us the spark we needed. I wouldn’t be surprised if we go 15-1.”

“I suppose they put McMahon in at the right time,” defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan said.

“He just came into the huddle and said, `All right, we’re just going to take it down the field and score,'” tackle Jimbo Covert said. “And then he did it on the first play.”

Of that play, Gault said, “If we run it 100 more times, the ball wouldn’t come to me again. I was just supposed to be clearing out.”

“It’s like playing for San Diego,” Hampton said. “It’s great. We knew if we stayed in there, we’d get some touchdowns.”