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1985 Bears Coverage: Dorsett, Payton are keys

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.

Dorsett, Payton are keys

Sun-Times Staff

Originally published Nov. 17, 1985

Mike Ditka returns today to the city where he learned to coach pro football when the Chicago Bears invade Dallas for what might be one of the top attractions of the regular season.

Ditka’s goal, of course, will be to beat his mentor, Tom Landry.

Perhaps Ditka and the Bears (10-0) will show the Cowboys a trick or two.

The Cowboys (7-3) are trying to recapture the NFC East title and the Bears represent a giant obstacle.

But the Bears haven’t beaten Dallas in 14 years and have defeated the Cowboys only once in their home stadium. Ditka was embarrassed last year when he called only five running plays in the second half for Walter Payton and Dallas won 23-14.

The Bears can clinch the NFC Central title with a win over Dallas. Chicago is the first team since Minnesota in 1975 to win its first 10 games.

But Dallas may have regained some of its old magic with a 13-7 defeat of Washington last Sunday at RFK Stadium.

BEARS ON OFFENSE: Steve Fuller probably will start again at quarterback in place of Jim McMahon, who still hasn’t recovered from a shoulder injury. Last week behind Fuller the Bears turned to their running game with success. Both Walter Payton and fullback Matt Suhey gained more than 100 yards. It will be interesting to see if Ditka uses his latest offensive weapon, William “The Refrigerator” Perry, against Dallas.

Dallas defensive coordinator Ernie Stautner has been working on a scheme for two weeks to stop Perry.

COWBOYS ON OFFENSE: Tony Dorsett needs 102 yards to surpass 1,000 yards for the eighth time in his NFL career. Not only does Dorsett lead the offense with his running, he has become a major receiving threat. A 48-yard touchdown reception provided the winning points against Washington. The Dallas offense does not click if Dorsett is not gaining yardage. Danny White has been hot and cold. Tony Hill has impressive numbers and leads the NFC with 60 receptions. But he has often failed to make the crucial catch and is still being criticized for his blocking. For the first time in two years, no one is complaining about the blocking of the offensive line.

BEARS ON DEFENSE: Buddy Ryan’s “46″ defense added Perry as a starter two weeks ago at right tackle. Last Sunday, he had two sacks against Detroit. The best way to beat Chicago’s pressure defense is with long plays. But like most NFL teams, Dallas has relied on a patient and steady pass-control offense. No doubt, Chicago has the NFL’s best defense. Dan Hampton has moved to left end where he should become more effective as a pass rusher.

COWBOYS ON DEFENSE: Thanks to a club record five sacks last Sunday by defensive end Jim Jeffcoat, Dallas is now tied with the Giants for the NFL lead with 43 sacks. The Cowboys have managed to put pressure on every quarterback they’ve played this season. But they’ve also had trouble with big plays.