25th Most Memorable Chicago Bears Game since 1979
Redskins 27, Bears 13: NFC Divisional Playoff, January 3, 1987
During the month of December 1986, new Bears quarterback Doug Flutie had been auditioning for the starting role. Despite being only 5′ 8″, Flutie possessed a rocket arm and plenty of moxie. Problem was, in order to see to be able to throw, he had to be rolled out of the pocket most of the time. Flutie’s entrance via trade had caused tension among his teammates, led by incumbent quarterback Jim McMahon. It still isn’t known how many of Flutie’s 1986 teammates were fully playing for their quarterback.
While the quarterback position for the 1986 Bears was tenuous, Chicago’s ongoing defensive dominance was unquestioned. Despite fears of a defensive dropoff following the loss of coordinator Buddy Ryan, the Bears actually played statistically better ball the year after he left. During the regular season, the Bears set an NFL record by allowing just 187 total points. (The record would be surpassed by the 2000 Baltimore Ravens).
Redskins-Bears was a compelling matchup through the mid-1980′s in the NFL. Chicago had shocked Washington in the 1984 Divisional Playoffs at RFK Stadium, then in 1985 the Redskins missed the playoffs despite posting a 10-6 record. In 1986, Washington rebounded with a 12-4 record, but still had to travel to visit the 14-2 Bears, who were favored to win the game.
Washington jumped out to a 7-0 lead on a Jay Schroeder touchdown pass to Art Monk, then the Bears answered with a 50-yard strike from Flutie to Willie Gault. By halftime, the Bears led 13-7 after tacking on two Kevin Butler field goals. In the third quarter, though, any hope of a Bears victory drained away with the emotion of the Soldier Field crowd. Washington scored four times without answer from the Bears, leading to an eventual 27-13 upset victory for the Redskins.
The Bears won 14 games during the 1986 regular season by dominating time of possession via Walter Payton running plays, and playing dominant defense. Neither of those took place in this game, and after figuring in Flutie’s 11/31 performance with 134 yards and two interceptions, that tells the story of the loss.