25th Most Memorable Chicago Bears Game

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.

8 Responses to “25th Most Memorable Chicago Bears Game”

  1. is there a list of the most memorable bear games that you can give me? tim smith

  2. As a 9 year old fan spoiled by a memory consisting of only the last 4games of ’84, then 1985 and 1986, this loss affected my tender mind so much I cried! It was simply UNTHINKABLE to me at the time that they’d lose this game. Of course, hindsight clearly shows that the Bears were due to be ambushed by a capable defense that could exploit a team that was getting by on bailing wire & spit at QB all year, so to speak.

    This loss hurt, but not as much as the next year’s loss in my opinion. In 1986 the Giants would have been hard to beat, but in 1987 the Vikings were beatable.

  3. Mostly unrelated sidebar…I was in 4th grade at the time of this game and I was studying my state’s (Indiana) History in my Social Studies classes. One of the people we studied was Revolutionary war hero George Rogers Clark. I remember thinking ill of the guy at first only because I had linked (mistaken) him with Redskins RB George Rogers, who had 28 carries in this game. Ah kids – we can be silly!

  4. How in the world Jay Shroeder was able to carve up the Bears is still a mystery. He had somebody in his face all night and blindly threw up passes that came down straigt to Art Monk.

  5. Very memorable and sad yes. Top 25 …. maybe, but don’t forget MaCasky would not pay Wilber Marshall and he was on the other side of the line that day.Wonder if that had anything to do with carving up the BEARS that day? Dont forget FRIDGE broke his arm and didnt factor much.

  6. Hey Donman, actually Wilber Marshall was still a Bear, not only for this game, but for the next season. He became a Redskin for the 1988 season. I also believe it was ’88 that Fridge had the broken arm.

  7. Roy Taylor, thanks for the clarification on that.Sometimes in my faltering memory I get a bit mixed up. Kudos for the help there.

  8. Totally understood Donman, the memory I had 10 years ago isn’t what it used to be either…

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