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.
Test time for losers, McMahon
Inside Football Report
Originally published Dec. 8, 1985
The Bears – losers at Miami Monday night – are likely to be angrier than usual today when they meet the Indianapolis Colts at Soldier Field.
The Colts will be hoping for “any given Sunday” and an upset. They have lost five in a row and were denied the opportunity to sneak up on the Bears after the Dolphins ruined Chicago’s perfect season.
“Nobody’s perfect and we proved that,” said Bear coach Mike Ditka. “The question now is, what you do with it? Do you bounce back? We’ll be back.”
Walter Payton has a NFL record eight straight 100-yard games and will be going for nine. “When his name goes down, it will go down alone, ahead of other guys in the record book,” said Ditka.
The Bears are expected to start Jim McMahon at quarterback after a four-week layoff with a shoulder injury. He replaced last week’s starter, Steve Fuller, in the fourth quarter when Fuller sprained an ankle.
The 3-10 Colts are led by punter Rohn Stark, the team’s most consistent and productive offensive and defensive weapon. Stark added enough punts last week to become the all-time career punting leader with an average of 45.17 yards.
Mike Pagel has reclaimed the Colts’ starting quarterback job and had two interceptions last week bounce off or through the hands of receivers.
BEARS ON OFFENSE: The Bears have stayed out of predictable passing situations all year with the best ball control offense in the league. McMahon also will get to test his sore shoulder against a young and porous Colt secondary. The Colts use six defensive backs in passing situations, but the way Payton has been running, the Bears might avoid passing situations. Until last week, the Bears had avoided costly turnovers and poor field position.
COLTS ON OFFENSE: The Colts run well with Randy McMillan and George Wonsley but the Bears have the best defense in the league against the run. The quick passes on slanting and crossing patterns that worked for Miami require quick receivers and the arm of a Dan Marino. The Colts have neither. How cold weather will help or hurt the
Bear defense in the playoffs may be the most interesting thing to emerge from this game. The Colts started Matt Kofler at quarterback in place of Pagel two weeks ago. The Bears love to confuse and abuse young quarterbacks. The Colts got a boost last week with the return of wide receiver Matt Bouza from the injury list.
BEARS ON DEFENSE: The Colts chose offensive coach Rod Dowhower instead of Bears’ defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan when they were looking for a head coach last year. Ryan might recall that when planning his blitzes and stunts. The Bears were embarrassed by 31 first-half points against them at Miami and will go after Pagel hard.
COLTS ON DEFENSE: The Colts play a 3-4 defense that is ranked in the lower third of the league against both the run and the pass. Inside linebacker Cliff Odom has been in double digits in tackles for five weeks in a row, but the defense has given up 32 points a game during that losing streak.