1985 Bears Coverage: Redskins loaded for Bear?

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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.

Redskins loaded for Bear?

Kevin Lamb

Originally published Sept. 29, 1985

Rematch or mismatch? The Washington Redskins have a chance to atone for last season’s loss to the Chicago Bears in the NFC semifinal playoff. But the game is in Chicago and the Bears are flying at 3-0 while the Redskins are struggling at 1-2.

The Bears and quarterback Jim McMahon are coming off a welcome 10-day rest following their dramatic Sept. 19 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

The Redskins and quarterback Joe Theismann are coming off an embarrassing loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in which they failed to score a touchdown.

“Maybe we’re not as good as everybody says we can be,” said Theismann.

“Maybe they were looking ahead,” said Bear coach Mike Ditka. “They’ll be ready for us.”

Redskin DE Dexter Manley says he plans to knock Walter Payton out of the game. “Who would listen to Dexter Manley?” asked Ditka.

The Redskins have scored only four TDs in three games. The Bear defense is struggling, but still can rise on occasion and resemble last year’s No. 1 NFL unit.

But the Redskins started last season 1-2 and rebounded to win the NFC Central.

WHEN REDSKINS HAVE BALL: QB Joe Theismann has completed fewer than half his passes and has thrown for only two TDs. Favorite receiver Art Monk is averaging only nine yards a catch and has no TDs. Running load is being divided equally between John Riggins and George Rogers, but defenses have wised up to the intricacies of one-back attack. New receiver Calvin Muhammad went without a reception last week. Coach Joe Gibbs said the offense is “out of synch.”

WHEN BEARS HAVE BALL: McMahon, who didn’t face the Redskins last year because of a kidney injury, will dare the defense to concentrate on stopping RB Walter Payton. McMahon has showed that keying on Payton is no longer enough.

REDSKINS ON DEFENSE: The Redskins would be content just to knock the ball out of Payton’s hands. The Redskins have recovered only one fumble and intercepted only one pass. Although susceptible to big plays, the defense has played better than the offense.

BEARS ON DEFENSE: Bears got to Theismann seven times in last year’s playoff victory and will go after him again with stunts and blitzes. Bears’ unconventional alignments are designed to stuff the run, but when a back breaks through he can cause trouble.

LAST-MINUTE FACTORS: McMahon spent two days in the hospital before the Minnesota game because of back spasms and two days in the hospital after the game because of an infected leg bruise. He’s expected to be healthy today. Bear SS Dave Duerson is nursing a groin injury. He replaced holdout Todd Bell, so the Bear defense will have to substitute more. Redskins have injury problem at LLB where Mel Kaufman missed last week’s game with a pinched nerve in his neck and replacement Monte Coleman strained a hamstring muscle.

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