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|1986 Chicago Bears season|
|Head Coach||Mike Ditka|
|Home Field||Soldier Field|
|Place||1st NFC Central|
|Playoff Finish||Lost NFC Divisional Playoff|
|Previous season||Next season|
The 1986 Chicago Bears season was their 67th regular season and 17th post-season completed in the National Football League. The club posted a 14-2 record and won the NFC Central for the third consecutive season.
After winning the championship in 1985, the team seemed like a dynasty in the making. However, quarterback Jim McMahon showed up to training camp 25 pounds overweight - the product of the post-Super Bowl partying he'd partaken in. Nonetheless, he was once again named as the starter. But injuries derailed his season. McMahon played in only six of the team's first 12 games. In week 12, he was on the receiving end of one of the most vicious hits in NFL history. In a game against the Green Bay Packers, McMahon was blindsided by Packers defensive lineman Charles Martin. Martin had gone into the game with a hit list of Bears players. McMahon was his first victim. After throwing an interception, Martin hoisted McMahon into the air and slammed him into the ground, a few seconds after the play had ended. McMahon writhed on the ground in pain, having suffered a separated shoulder. He was out for the remainder of the year. Still, the Bears won that game, and went undefeated for the rest of the regular season as well. McMahon's loss may have been a blessing in disguise, as by any standard, he was having a horrible season.
Aided by a strong offensive line, the Bears were once again lead on offense by Walter Payton. Payton remained his usual stellar self, posting his 10th and final 1000-yard season. With McMahon's poor play, as well as the equally poor play of backups Mike Tomczak, Steve Fuller and Doug Flutie, Payton was the sole spark on offense, which ranked 13th in the NFL.
As had been the case the year before, the Bears were once again led by their explosive defense. Any shortcomings on the offensive side of the ball were more than made up for on the defensive side. They once again were ranked #1 in the NFL. The Bears' defense became the third defense in the history of the NFL to lead the league in fewest points allowed and fewest total yards allowed for two consecutive seasons.
The Bears were heavy favorites in the post season. They earned a first round bye. But in the first game at Soldier Field, they were upset by the Washington Redskins. A holding penalty and a missed field goal by Kevin Butler frustrated the Bears in the first quarter. However, they still managed to take a 13-7 lead into halftime. But their usual stellar defense fell apart in the second half, allowing the Redskins to score 20 unanswered points.
"Maybe my dreams didn't come true," said Chicago Coach Mike Ditka. "The defense has to play outstanding and today they were just not up to the way the Redskins were playing."
Despite injuries to offensive linemen Joe Jacoby and Russ Grimm, they and the rest of the blockers were able to pick up the Bears patented blitzes. Quarterback Jay Schroeder was sacked only twice. He was also able to use the blitzes to his advantage, completing passes while being chased out of the pocket.
Trailing 14-13 in the 4th quarter, the Bears good fortune ran out, when the usually dependable Payton lost a fumble, which led to an 83-yard touchdown drive by the Redskins. The long drive perpetrated against the NFL's best defense seemed to take the wind out of the Bears' sails. A few minutes later, the Bears muffed a punt return which set up an easy field goal for the Redskins.
When it was all said and done, the Bears lost 27-13. Still, they had a fantastic season overall, despite their weaknesses on offense and the poor play of their quarterbacks.
|1||September 7, 1986||Cleveland Browns||W 41-31|
|2||September 14, 1986||Philadelphia Eagles||W 13-10|
|3||September 22, 1986||at Green Bay Packers||W 25-12|
|4||September 28, 1986||at Cincinnati Bengals||W 44-7|
|5||October 5, 1986||Minnesota Vikings||W 23-0|
|6||October 12, 1986||at Houston Oilers||W 20-7|
|7||October 19, 1986||at Minnesota Vikings||L 23-7|
|8||October 26, 1986||Detroit Lions||W 13-7|
|9||November 3, 1986||Los Angeles Rams||L 20-17|
|10||November 9, 1986||at Tampa Bay Buccaneers||W 23-3|
|11||November 16, 1986||at Atlanta Falcons||W 13-10|
|12||November 23, 1986||Green Bay Packers||W 12-10|
|13||November 30, 1986||Pittsburgh Steelers||W 13-10|
|14||December 7, 1986||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||W 48-14|
|15||December 15, 1986||at Detroit Lions||W 16-13|
|16||December 21, 1986||at Dallas Cowboys||W 24-10|
|Division||January 3, 1987||Washington Redskins||L 27-13|
|Green Bay Packers||4||12||0||.250||254||418||L1|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||2||14||0||.125||239||473||L7|
- ↑ The Best Show in Football:The 1946-1955 Cleveland Browns, p.294, Andy Piascik, Taylor Trade Publishing, 2007, ISBN 978-1-58979-360-6
- ↑ (PDF) 2010 NFL Record and Fact Book. National Football League. p. 382. http://www.nfl.info/download/2010%20NFL%20Record%20and%20Fact%20Book.pdf. Retrieved February 22, 2011.
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|NY Jets||Seattle||Washington||Tampa Bay|
|1986 NFL Draft • NFL Playoffs • Pro Bowl • Super Bowl XXI|