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.
Bear `D’ set to ramrod 2 Rams
Originally published Jan. 8, 1986
“When you think of the Rams,” Bear safety Dave Duerson was saying, “you think of two things: Eric Dickerson and Dieter
Brock. Or is it Brock Dieter? Whatever.”
He was half right.
When you think of the Rams, you think of Dickerson and a bunch of other guys whose names you don’t hear very often – except in the playoffs, which the Rams have missed only in 1981 and 1982 in the last 13 years.
Despite all the hoopla about what underdogs the Rams are, Mike Ditka and the Bears know they will face a very good team Sunday in Soldier Field.
“A lot of ex-players don’t know what they’re talking about,” Ditka said of predictions that the Bears would waltz. “The two best teams in the National Football Conference are playing this week.
“They’re a lot like us. They rely on Dickerson. We rely on Walter Payton. Defensively, they play awfully well. And our defense plays awfully well.”
Even a repeat of the Bears’ defensive domination of the Giants won’t be enough, middle linebacker Mike Singletary said.
“We’re going to have to play better,” he said. “It’s not an if-and-or-but thing. We’re going to have to get after them with
everything we have.”
The reason, of course, is Dickerson, who doesn’t seem to mind whether he outruns defenders or runs over them.
With all due tips of the cap to the Giants’ gnatty 195-pound Joe Morris, Dickerson will use his extra 20 or 25 pounds to zap right through tacklers who don’t wrap him up, as the Cowboys learned in a 20-0 lesson in L.A. last weekend.
“He’s the best running back – well, I’m not going to say he’s the best, because we have the best, Walter Payton. But he’s one of the two or three best,” said William Perry, who doesn’t figure to flatten Dickerson the way he did Morris.
“He has a mixture of size, speed and power that you don’t often come across,” Singletary said. “That’s a mixture that makes it really tough.”
And then there is Brock, he of the Germanic name and the Alabama birth certificate. Brock played at Auburn and Jacksonville State before fleeing to Canada, where his cannon arm lit up Winnipeg and, briefly, Hamilton in an 11-year CFL career.
The Rams brought in Brock this season for his strong arm, which the Dickerson-oriented offense has kept pretty much under wraps.
That may be part of the Rams’ image problem, which one late-season opponent summed up by saying, “The Rams have seven plays, and they used them all against us.”
A 34-year-old NFL rookie doesn’t deserve this kind of abuse. And neither, Ditka figures, does Rams coach John Robinson, who won three Rose Bowls in seven years at USC before taking the Rams to three straight playoff appearances since 1983.
“I never played for John and I never watched him coach, but I know he’s been a success everywhere he goes,” Ditka said. “People criticize the Rams’ offense and the way they do things. I think they do things the way they have to do them to win. That’s the bottom line, whether you win or lose.
“It’s not how good you look, or how many guys are in motion. It’s not whether you’re called a genius or not. It’s whether you use the personnel you have to get the job done. And I think he does that very, very well.”
Last year’s genius – San Francisco coach Bill Walsh – may be another reason the Rams don’t get much respect. Everybody was waiting for the 49ers to start striking gold again, but with all their injuries, they bore more historical resemblance to ’06ers, as in San Francisco earthquake victims.
Ditka doesn’t think the Rams’ maligned passing game, last in the league statistically, is so horrible.
“The kid has a great arm,” Ditka said. “He has a lot of talent. What they do in the passing game is good.”
Said defensive back Shaun Gayle: “Usually, when you find a team that has a bad rating in passing, that’s because they have a pretty good running attack, and the Rams have that.”
Winning is winning. These Bears respect that – and the Rams. It’s losing that the NFC finalists find boring.