41st Most Memorable Chicago Bears Game since 1979
Bears 20, Chargers 17: October 25, 1981
The 1981 Bears finished a putrid 6-10 on the 1981 season, but they surprisingly beat all four strong teams they met from the AFC West that season: the Chargers, Broncos, Raiders and Chiefs.
For the Chargers game, Bear defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan pulled out all the stops shematically. He was facing a high-powered Chargers attack led by quarterback Dan Fouts. Fouts threw to unquestionably the most dynamic set of backs, receivers and tight ends in the NFL. San Diego’s specialists included the likes of running back Chuck Muncie, receivers Charlie Joiner and Wes Chandler, and tight end Kellen Winslow, Sr. Entering the game, the Chargers were 5-2, while the Bears were 1-6.
Throughout the first three quarters the Bears stifled the Charger attack. Ryan not only employed rookie linebacker Mike Singletary for one of the first times all season, but had divised a 5-1-5 defensive alignment to mix in with his blitzing 46 attack. The Chargers couldn’t find an answer until the fourth quarter, when they rallied to tie the game twice, first at 10, then at 17. The Bears finally won the game 20-17 in overtime on a John Roveto field goal.
Bear quarterback Vince Evans was surprisingly efficient, throwing for 219 yards on 17 of 39 passing with no interceptions. But the key to the Bears offense was the running attack. Walter Payton finished with 107 yards and a touchdown, while backfield mate Matt Suhey, in his second season, added 64 and a score.