30th Most Memorable Chicago Bears Game

30th Most Memorable Chicago Bears Game since 1979

Broncos 31, Bears 29: November 16, 1987

Perennial powerhouse teams Chicago and Denver.  Legendary 1980′s quarterbacks John Elway and (rejuvenated) Jim McMahon.  Monday Night Football.  This game had it all.

The NFL was still recovering from the 1987 player’s strike, this being the fourth week after the union players had returned to the field.  The Bears had won three in a row following the work resumption-all in stunning fashion.  Comeback wins against Tampa and Kansas City were followed by a last-second win at Green Bay on a Kevin Butler field goal.

The Bears-Broncos matchup would not disappoint, even on the heels of those contests.  McMahon may have benefitted more than anyone in the NFL from the player’s strike, as it allowed his shoulder, still smarting from the 1986 hit from Packer Charles Martin, further time to heal.  In this game, he would throw for a rare 300+ yard game and three touchdowns.  Walter Payton and Neal Anderson, playing as backfield mates for much of the season, split the load, rushing for 107 yards and catching 10 passes between them.

The game was a see-saw affair that saw the Bears lead 14-0 in the second quarter, but trail 21-14 at halftime.  Chicago would score the next two touchdowns after that, but extra point attempt failed both times.  A Butler field goal gave the Bears a 29-21 lead in the final period, but Denver would score twice in the fourth, winning the game by virtue of the two missed extra point conversions.  The Bears would lead one final drive but it would ultimately fail, and the Bears lost in their fourth barn-burning game in a row.

3 Responses to “30th Most Memorable Chicago Bears Game”

  1. Aside from the outcome, this was a terrific game, a MNF classic. First, it was unusual for the Bears have such an all-around good offensive game. Second, I remember one particular 3rd and long play – the last play of the 3rd Qtr – that captured the brilliance of Elway:

    Elway went back to pass, escaped a sack and rolled right, escaped another sack and ran back to his left, giving ground as he avoided more diving Bear D linemen. By now he was at least 15-20 yards behind the line of scrimmage! As he neared the sideline he escaped one last defender, ran forward and just before crossing the line of scrimmage delievered a bullet to a receiver right at the first down marker.

    Da Coach expressed his dissatisfaction w/ his defense in the following postgame gem: “Their guy makes a play, and our guys flop around like jellyfish.”

  2. Really enjoying your add-on comments Tim, they give even more color to what I’ve written. Thanks!

  3. The only thing you left out is that the Bears tried their goal line dive play with Refrigerator Perry, but Dennis Smith hit him at the half yard line, causing a fumble which he returned to the 20. One of the all-time best Bronco games also, I was in the stands.

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