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|1984 Chicago Bears season|
|Head Coach||Mike Ditka|
|Home Field||Soldier Field|
|Place||1st NFC Central|
|Playoff Finish|| Won NFC Divisional Playoff|
Lost NFC Championship
|Previous season||Next season|
The 1984 Chicago Bears season was their 65th regular season and 15th post-season completed in the National Football League. The club posted a 10-6 record, earning them a spot in the NFL playoffs. The Bears went on to lose in the NFC Championship Game 23-0 to the eventual Super Bowl Champion San Francisco 49ers.
Great expectations Edit
The Bears opened 1984 in a new place- Platteville, Wisconsin. Coach Mike Ditka needed his team to get away from any distractions they might face at home, and they spent August 1984 in the cornfields getting ready for the campaign ahead. The team was on the verge of discovering a group of young leaders for the first time, began to show the most dominating defense the league would ever see, and pushed much farther than anyone expected them to go.
The first 5 games of 1984 Edit
There would be no opening day letdown in 1984. Chicago started the season by throttling the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 34-14. Then they blanked the Denver Broncos 27-0 behind a huge day from Walter Payton. This game featured a famous image from Payton's career - a 50+ yard run down the sideline, led by 2nd-year guard Mark Bortz, an 8th round pickup that was converted from defensive tackle. The next week, with Jim McMahon out as the Bears visited Green Bay, reserve quarterback Bob Avellini took the reins. Chicago's offense performed poorly, but managed a 9-7 victory. This contest marked the first meeting of Mike Ditka and Forrest Gregg - a rivalry that would go down in history as arguably the dirtiest era in Chicago-Green Bay football. The next week, the Bears' lack of offensive power was evident as they lost to the Seattle Seahawks 38-9. After this loss, Ditka cut Avellini. The move didn't seem to matter because the following week the Bears lost to the Dallas Cowboys 23-14. A season that started at 3-0 was becoming dimmer, as the team was suddenly 3-2.
Record breaker and quarterback problems Edit
Walter Payton reached a major milestone as he surpassed Jim Brown as the game's all-time leading rusher in yards, he did it in the third quarter of an October 7 game at home against the New Orleans Saints. The Bears beat the Saints 20-7. Then they lost 38-21 to the St. Louis Cardinals in St. Louis. Following this loss, they beat Tampa Bay 44-9, and the Minnesota Vikings at home, 16-7. Following the Minnesota win came the biggest challenge for the Bears - a showdown with the world champion Los Angeles Raiders.The Bears beat the Raiders 17-6, a game that showcased the NFL's leading sacker, Richard Dent, who collected three against Raiders QB Marc Wilson. The Bears victory was marred by a kidney laceration received by their QB Jim McMahon, sending him to the sidelines for the remainder of the season.
Who's really playing quarterback Edit
Six-year veteran QB Steve Fuller had been acquired from the Los Angeles Rams prior to the '84 season for insurance in case McMahon was injured. The investment paid off. Fuller guided the Bears to a 2-1 record over the next 3 games. In the third game at Minnesota's new Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on November 25, the team clinched its first NFC Central Division title. After the Minnesota game, Fuller was injured, and Chicago was faced with another quarterback problem. Ineffective Rusty Lisch replaced the injured Fuller and lost the December 3 game at San Diego, then started the following week against Green Bay at home. Lisch was again ineffective, so Ditka inserted none other than Walter Payton behind center in the shotgun formation. Payton was unsurprisingly ineffective as well, and the Bears lost to the Packers 20-14.
"Plan Z" to the playoffs Edit
Fuller was expected to return by the playoffs, but Ditka didn't want to enter the postseason with another loss. Ditka went to "Plan Z", and signed 14-year journeyman Greg Landry to start his last NFL game against the Detroit Lions (his old team), which he helped the Bears win 30-13. Chicago was poised to enter the postseason for the first time since 1979.
The postseason Edit
The first-round matchup sent the 10-6 Bears to Washington, a team that had lost to the Los Angeles Radiers in Super Bowl XVIII. Washington was heavily favored, but Chicago came away with a 23-19 victory that featured TD passes from Fuller as well as Payton on a halfback option pass. The momentum was clearly in the Bears' favor as they travelled to San Francisco for their first appearance in a championship game of any sort since their championship year in 1963. The line for the game came down steadily as the week wore on, but the Bears were shut out 23-0. Fuller had performed poorly in games against tough opponents, and the offense sputtered as the 49ers were able to stop Walter Payton all day long. The team had gone farther than many had expected them to go in 1984, and the season set the stage for their Super Bowl winning 1985 season.
|1||September 2, 1984||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||W 34-14||Soldier Field||1-0||58,789|
|2||September 9, 1984||Denver Broncos||W 27–0||Soldier Field||2-0||54,335|
|3||September 16, 1984||at Green Bay Packers||W 9-7||Lambeau Field||3-0||55,942|
|4||September 23, 1984||at Seattle Seahawks||L 38-9||Kingdome||3-1||61,520|
|5||September 30, 1984||Dallas Cowboys||L 23-14||Soldier Field||3-2||63,623|
|6||October 7, 1984||New Orleans Saints||W 20-7||Soldier Field||4-2||53,752|
|7||October 14, 1984||at St. Louis Cardinals||L 38-21||Busch Stadium||4-3||49,554|
|8||October 21, 1984||at Tampa Bay Buccaneers||W 44-9||Tampa Stadium||5-3||60,003|
|9||October 28, 1984||Minnesota Vikings||W 16-7||Soldier Field||6-3||57,517|
|10||November 4, 1984||Los Angeles Raiders||W 17-6||Soldier Field||7-3||59,858|
|11||November 11, 1984||at Los Angeles Rams||L 29-13||Anaheim Stadium||7-4||62,021|
|12||November 18, 1984||Detroit Lions||W 16-14||Soldier Field||8-4||54,911|
|13||November 25, 1984||at Minnesota Vikings||W 34-3||Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome||9-4||56,881|
|14||December 3, 1984||at San Diego Chargers||L 20-7||Jack Murphy Stadium||9-5||45,470|
|15||December 9, 1984||Green Bay Packers||L 20-14||Soldier Field||9-6||59,374|
|16||December 16, 1984||at Detroit Lions||W 30-13||Pontiac Silverdome||10-6||53,252|
|Green Bay Packers||8||8||0||.500||390||309||W3|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||6||10||0||.375||335||380||W2|
|Divisional Round||December 30, 1984||at Washington Redskins||W 23-19||R.F.K. Stadium||CBS||55,431|
|NFC Championship||January 6, 1985||at San Francisco 49ers||L 23-0||Candlestick Park||CBS||61,040|
- ↑ (PDF) 2010 NFL Record and Fact Book. National Football League. p. 383. http://www.nfl.info/download/2010%20NFL%20Record%20and%20Fact%20Book.pdf. Retrieved February 18, 2011.
|Indianapolis||Cleveland||Kansas City||NY Giants||Detroit||LA Rams|
|Miami||Houston||LA Raiders||Philadelphia||Green Bay||New Orleans|
|New England||Pittsburgh||San Diego||St. Louis||Minnesota||San Francisco|
|NY Jets||Seattle||Washington||Tampa Bay|
|1984 NFL Draft • NFL Playoffs • Pro Bowl • Super Bowl XIX|