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1985 Chicago Bears season
Head Coach Mike Ditka
Home Field Soldier Field
Results
Record 15–1
Place 1st NFC Central
Playoff Finish Won NFC Divisional Playoff
Won NFC Championship
Won Super Bowl XX
Timeline
Previous season Next season
1984 1986

The 1985 Chicago Bears season was their 66th regular season and 16th post-season completed in the National Football League. The club posted a 15-1 record, earning them the top seed in the NFC for the playoffs. The Bears defeated their three post season opponents by a combined score of 91-10 en route to a victory in Super Bowl XX, their ninth NFL Championship. The team's starting middle linebacker, linebacker Mike Singletary was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year and the UPI Defensive NFC Player of the Year. Running back Walter Payton won the NFC Offensive Player of the Year, head coach Mike Ditka was named NFL Coach of the Year and defensive end Richard Dent was named Super Bowl MVP.

The 1985 Chicago Bears are one of the few teams to consistently challenge the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins for the unofficial title of the greatest NFL team of all time.[1][2] In 2007, the 1985 Bears were ranked as the second greatest Super Bowl championship team on the NFL Network's documentary series America's Game: The Super Bowl Champions, ranking behind the 1972 Dolphins. Many sources, however, such as ESPN, rate the 1985 Chicago Bears as the greatest NFL team ever.[3]

OffseasonEdit

1985 NFL DraftEdit

Round Name Position College
1 William Perry Defensive Tackle Clemson
2 Reggie Phillips Cornerback SMU
3 James Manness Wide Receiver TCU
4 Kevin Butler Kicker Georgia
7 Charles Bennett Defensive End SW La.
8 Steve Buxton Tackle Indiana State
9 Thomas Sanders Running back Texas A&M
10 Pat Coryatt Defensive tackle Baylor
11 Jim Morrissey Linebacker Michigan State

PreseasonEdit

Week Date Opponent Result Game site Record
1 August 9, 1985 St. Louis Cardinals L 3-10 Busch Memorial Stadium 0-1
2 August 17, 1985 Indianapolis Colts L 13-24 Soldier Field 0-2
3 August 26, 1985 Dallas Cowboys L 13-15 Texas Stadium 0-3
4 August 31, 1985 Buffalo Bills W 45-14 Soldier Field 1-3

Regular seasonEdit

ScheduleEdit

Week Date Opponent Result Game site Record
1 September 8, 1985 Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 38-28 Soldier Field 1-0
2 September 15, 1985 New England Patriots W 20–7 Soldier Field 2-0
3 September 19, 1985 at Minnesota Vikings W 33-24 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 3-0
4 September 29, 1985 Washington Redskins W 45-10 Soldier Field 4-0
5 October 6, 1985 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 27-19 Tampa Stadium 5-0
6 October 13, 1985 at San Francisco 49ers W 26-10 Candlestick Park 6-0
7 October 21, 1985 Green Bay Packers W 23-7 Soldier Field 7-0
8 October 27, 1985 Minnesota Vikings W 27-9 Soldier Field 8-0
9 November 3, 1985 at Green Bay Packers W 16-10 Lambeau Field 9-0
10 November 10, 1985 Detroit Lions W 24-3 Soldier Field 10-0
11 November 17, 1985 at Dallas Cowboys W 44-0 Texas Stadium 11-0
12 November 24, 1985 Atlanta Falcons W 36-0 Soldier Field 12-0
13 December 2, 1985 at Miami Dolphins L 24-38 Orange Bowl 12-1
14 December 8, 1985 Indianapolis Colts W 17-10 Soldier Field 13-1
15 December 14, 1985 at New York Jets W 19-6 Giants Stadium 14-1
16 December 22, 1985 at Detroit Lions W 37-17 Pontiac Silverdome 15-1

StandingsEdit

NFC Central
view · talk · edit W L T PCT PF PA STK
Chicago Bears 15 1 0 .938 456 198 W3
Green Bay Packers 8 8 0 .500 337 355 W2
Minnesota Vikings 7 9 0 .438 346 359 L2
Detroit Lions 7 9 0 .438 307 366 L3
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2 14 0 .125 294 448 L4
[4]

1985 rosterEdit

Complete Roster of 1985 season (1/26/1986)

Quarterbacks

Offensive backs

Receivers

Tight ends

 

Kickers

Offensive line

Defensive line

 

Linebackers

Cornerbacks

Defensive backs


Safeties


Depth chartEdit

Defensive Starters
[5]


FS
Gary Fencik


WLB MLB SLB
Wilber Marshall Mike Singletary Otis Wilson
SS
Dave Duerson
CB
Mike Richardson


DE DT DT DE
Richard Dent William "Refrigerator" Perry Steve McMichael Dan Hampton
Mike Hartenstine
CB
Leslie Frazier
Offensive Starters
[6]
WR
Willie Gault
LT LG C RG RT
Jimbo Covert Mark Bortz Jay Hilgenberg Tom Thayer Keith Van Horne
TE
Emery Moorehead
WR
Dennis McKinnon
QB
Jim McMahon
Steve Fuller
RB
Walter Payton
FB
Matt Suhey
Special Teams
PK Kevin Butler
P Maury Buford
KR Willie Gault
PR Ken Taylor



Season reviewEdit

The Bears were one of the most dominating teams of their era. Led by Mike Ditka and Buddy Ryan, the Bears’ revolutionized defensive play calling their 46 defense. The irony of the success of the 46 defense was that two of the Bears top defensive players, linebacker Al Harris and strong safety Todd Bell missed the entire season due to contract disputes.[7] Additionally, the team possessed several talented offensive players to back up their defense.

The Bears started their season by trailing their (then) divisional rivals in the first game, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Bears rallied back to claim a ten point margin of victory. The Bears then played the New England Patriots, where the Bears’ defense smothered the Patriots’ offense. The following week, backup quarterback Steve Fuller was called up to take the place of Jim McMahon, who was sidelined with a pinched nerve. With the Bears trailing the Minnesota Vikings, eventually allowed an anxious McMahon to return to the game. Without any delay, McMahon spearheaded a Bears comeback and victory.

The Bears dominated many teams during the season, including Tom Landry’s famed Dallas Cowboys, whom the Bears defeated 44-0. The Bears’ hopes for a perfect season were thwarted when Dan Marino and the Miami Dolphins defeated the Bears on Monday Night Football during week thirteen, 38-24. Nevertheless, the Bears won the remainder of the games, and earned the NFC’s top playoff seed with a 15-1 record. The Bears defense only allowed 12.4 points/game.

After the loss to the Dolphins, most of the team recorded the song "The Super Bowl Shuffle."

PlayoffsEdit

Round Date Opponent Result Game site TV
Divisional Round January 5, 1986 New York Giants W 21-0 Soldier Field CBS
NFC Championship January 12, 1986 Los Angeles Rams W 24-0 Soldier Field CBS
Super Bowl XX January 26, 1986 New England Patriots W 46-10 Louisiana Superdome NBC

NFC Divisional Playoff: Chicago Bears 21, New York Giants 0Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Giants 0 0 0 0

0

Bears 7 0 14 0

21

at Soldier Field, Chicago

The Bears defense dominated the game by allowing only 32 rushing yards and sacked Giants quarterback Phil Simms for 60 yards. Chicago's first touchdown resulted on a New York punt attempt from their own 12-yard line. The wind caught the ball just enough for punter Sean Landeta to completely miss it, and Shaun Gayle picked it up and ran 5 yards for a touchdown. Bears quarterback Jim McMahon later threw two touchdown passes in the third quarter, both to Dennis McKinnon. McMahon finished the game with 216 passing yards, while running back Walter Payton rushed for 94 yards.

NFC Championship: Chicago Bears 24, Los Angeles Rams 0Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Rams 0 0 0 0

0

Bears 10 0 7 7

24

at Soldier Field, Chicago

The Bears defense dominated the game by limiting Rams running back Eric Dickerson to 46 yards, and holding quarterback Dieter Brock to 10 out of 31 completions for 66 passing yards. Los Angeles only gained 130 yards of total offense. Chicago quarterback Jim McMahon scored on a 16-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and later threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Willie Gault in the third quarter. Kicker Kevin Butler kicked a 34-yard field goal in the first period. In the fourth quarter, defensive lineman Richard Dent forced Brock to fumble, and linebacker Wilber Marshall picked up the loose ball and returned it 52 yards for a touchdown.

Super Bowl XX: Chicago Bears 46, New England Patriots 10Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Bears 13 10 21 2

46

Patriots 3 0 0 7

10

at Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

The Patriots took a quick lead after linebacker Larry McGrew recovered a fumble from Walter Payton at the Chicago 19-yard line on the second play of the game, setting up Tony Franklin's 36-yard field goal 1:19 into the first quarter. The Bears struck back with a 7 play, 59-yard drive, featuring a 43-yard pass completion from Jim McMahon to wide receiver Willie Gault, to set up a field goal from Kevin Butler, tying the score 3-3.

After both teams traded punts, Richard Dent and linebacker Wilber Marshall shared a sack on Eason, forcing a fumble that lineman Dan Hampton recovered on the Patriots 13-yard line. Chicago then drove to the 3-yard line, but had to settle for another field goal from Butler after rookie defensive lineman William "Refrigerator" Perry was tackled for a 1-yard loss while trying to throw his first NFL pass on a halfback option play. On the Patriots' ensuing drive, Dent forced running back Craig James to fumble, which was recovered by linebacker Mike Singletary at the 13-yard line. Two plays later, Bears fullback Matt Suhey scored on an 11-yard touchdown run to increase the lead 13-3.

New England took the ensuing kickoff and ran one play before the first quarter ended, which resulted in positive yardage for the first time in the game (a 3-yard run by James). But after an incomplete pass and a 4-yard loss, they had to send in punter Rich Camarillo again, and receiver Keith Ortego returned the ball 12 yards to the 41-yard line. The Bears subsequently drove 59 yards in 10 plays, featuring a 24-yard reception by Suhey, to score on McMahon's 2-yard touchdown run to increase their lead, 20-3. After the ensuing kickoff, New England lost 13 yards in 3 plays and had to punt again, but got the ball back with great field position when defensive back Raymond Clayborn recovered a fumble from Suhey at their own 46-yard line. Patriots coach Raymond Berry then replaced Eason with Steve Grogan to see if he could spark the Patriots offense. But Grogan could only lead them to the 37-yard line and they decided to punt rather than risk a 55-yard field goal attempt. The Bears then marched 72 yards in 11 plays, moving the ball inside the Patriots 10-yard line. New England kept them out of the end zone, but Butler kicked his third field goal on the last play of the half to give Chicago a 23-3 halftime lead.

The Bears had absolutely dominated New England in the first half, holding them to 21 offensive plays (only 4 of which resulted in positive yardage), -19 total offensive yards, 2 pass completions, 1 first down, and 3 points. Meanwhile, Chicago gained 236 yards and scored 23 points themselves.

After the Patriots received the second half opening kickoff, they managed to get one first down, but then had to punt after Grogan was sacked twice. Camarillo, who punted 4 times in the first half, managed to pin the Bears back at their own 4-yard line with a Super Bowl record 62-yard punt. But the Patriots defense still had no ability to stop Chicago's offense. On their very first play, McMahon faked a handoff to Payton, then threw a 60-yard completion to Gault. Eight plays later, McMahon finished the Super Bowl record 96-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to make the Bears lead 30-3. On New England's second drive of the period, Chicago cornerback Reggie Phillips intercepted a pass from Grogan and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown to increase the lead 37-3.

On the second play of their ensuing possession, the Patriots turned the ball over again, when receiver Cedric Jones lost a fumble after catching a 19-yard pass from Grogan. A few plays later, McMahon's 27-yard completion to receiver Dennis Gentry moved the ball to the 1-yard line, setting up perhaps the most memorable moment of the game. William "the Refrigerator" Perry was brought on to score on offense, as he had done twice in the regular season. His touchdown made the score 44-3.

The Patriots finally scored a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, advancing the ball 76 yards in 12 plays and scoring on an 8-yard pass from Grogan to receiver Irving Fryar. But the Bears defense dominated New England for the rest of the game, forcing another fumble, another interception, and defensive lineman Henry Waechter's sack on Grogan in the end zone for a safety to make the final score 46-10.

One irony in the Bears victory was that Payton had a relatively poor performance statistically running the ball and never scored a touchdown in Super Bowl XX, his first and only Super Bowl appearance during his Hall of Fame career. However, if one views the game and watches the Patriot's defense, it is clear that their primary goal was stopping Payton and he frequently had three and four defenders keyed on him on nearly every play. This allowed the rest of the Bear's offense far more opportunities to score than had the Patriots employed a more balanced defense. Ultimately Payton was the Bears' leading rusher during the game, the Patriots defense held him to only 61 yards on 22 carries, with his longest run being only 7 yards. He was given several opportunities to score near the goal line, but New England stopped him every time before he reached the end zone (such as his 2-yard loss from the New England 3-yard line a few plays before Butler's second field goal, and his 2-yard run from the 4-yard line right before McMahon's first rushing touchdown). Thus, Chicago head coach Mike Ditka opted to go for other plays to counter the Patriots defense. Perry's touchdown and McMahon's rushing touchdowns are widely considered as scoring opportunities that were denied to Payton. Ditka has since gone on record stating that his biggest regret of his career was not creating a scoring opportunity for Payton during the game.

McMahon, who completed 12 out of 20 passes for 256 yards, became the first quarterback in a Super Bowl to score 2 rushing touchdowns. Bears receiver Willie Gault finished the game with 129 receiving yards on just 4 receptions, an average of over 32.2 yards per catch. He also returned 4 kickoffs for 49 yards. Suhey had 11 carries for 52 yards and a touchdown, and caught a pass for 24 yards. Singletary tied a Super Bowl record with 2 fumble recoveries.

Eason became the first Super Bowl starting quarterback to fail to complete a pass, going 0 for 6 attempts. The Bears also dominated Patriots starting running back James, holding him to 1 yard on 5 carries, with 1 fumble. Grogan completed 17 out of 30 passes for 177 yards and 1 touchdown, with 2 interceptions. Although Fullback Tony Collins was the Patriots leading rusher, he was limited to just 4 yards on 3 carries, and caught 2 passes for 19 yards. New England receiver Stephen Starring returned 7 kickoffs for 153 yards and caught 2 passes for 39 yards.

  • Scoring
    • NE - Tony Franklin 36 yd FG (NE 3-0)
    • CHI - Kevin Butler 28 yd FG (3-3)
    • CHI - Kevin Butler 24 yd FG (CHI 6-3)
    • CHI - Matt Suhey 11 yd TD run (Butler kick) (CHI 13-3)
    • CHI - Jim McMahon 2 yd TD run (Butler kick) (CHI 20-3)
    • CHI - Kevin Butler 24 yd FG (CHI 23-3)
    • CHI - Jim McMahon 1 yd TD run (Butler kick) (CHI 30-3)
    • CHI - Reggie Phillips 28 yd interception return TD (Butler kick) (CHI 37-3)
    • CHI - William Perry 1 yd TD run (Butler kick) (CHI 44-3)
    • NE - 8 yd TD pass from Steve Grogan to Irving Fryar (Franklin kick) (CHI 44-10)
    • CHI - Safety, Steve Grogan sacked in end zone by Henry Waechter (CHI 46-10)

AwardsEdit

Hall of FamersEdit

  • 1988 Enshrinement Mike Ditka: 1961-1966 (player)
  • 1993 Enshrinement Walter Payton: 1975-1987
  • 1998 Enshrinement Mike Singletary: 1981-1992
  • 2002 Enshrinement Dan Hampton: 1979-1990
  • 2011 Enshrinement Richard Dent: 1983-1993, 1995

Players that became coachesEdit

ReferencesEdit

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

Preceded by
San Francisco 49ers
1984
Super Bowl champion
1985
Succeeded by
New York Giants
1986
AFC East Central West East Central West NFC
Buffalo Cincinnati Denver Dallas Chicago Atlanta
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
1985 NFL DraftNFL PlayoffsPro BowlSuper Bowl XX

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