The 1985 Chicago Bears team was one of the most enjoyable teams to watch for any NFL fan…..for this was a group of distinct individuals……to include such players like LB Mike Singletary, DE Richard Dent, DT Steve McMicheal (University of Texas fame), DT “Refrigerator” Perry, QB Jim McMahon, RB Walter “Sweetness” Payton, et al….who came together under the “heavy-handed” guidance of Coach “”Iron” Mike Ditka…..who molded this team into a Super Bowl Champion by the end of the 1985 season….and a 15 – 1 record. One of the key games along the way was the Bears match-up with the New York Giants in the NFC Divisional Championship game.
The Bears defense dominated the game by allowing only 32 rushing yards….181 total yards….after sacking the Giants quarterbacks for 60 yards…..when Giants quarterback Phil Simms was sacked 6 times during the game….with 3½ of them coming from Chicago defensive end Richard Dent. New York’s offense passed for just 48 yards in the first half, and had -11 total yards in the third quarter.
Da Bears first touchdown resulted on a New York punt attempt from their own 12….by forcing Sean Landeta to make the kick three yards into his goal line….when Landeta dropped the ball to kick it….then having the wind alter the ball’s descent….causing it to go off the side of his foot…..resulting in the ball going right into the ground and bouncing a short distance before reserve safety Shaun Gayle picked it up….returning the -7 yard punt 5 yards for a touchdown….as Gayle’s run was the shortest punt return touchdown in NFL history.
New York had their best chance to score late in the second quarter when Simms completed passes to George Adams and Bobby Johnson for gains of 31 and 17 yards….giving the team a first down on the Chicago 2-yard line….but Simms’ next three passes were incomplete….wo, with just 11 seconds left in the half….Giants placekicker Eric Schubert hit the left upright on his 19-yard field goal attempt.
Bears quarterback Jim McMahon increased the Bears lead to 14-0 with a 23-yard touchdown pass to receiver Dennis McKinnon in the 3rd quarter….then later in the quarter….with Chicago facing 2nd and 12 on their own 34….the Giants made another key error….as the Giants defense came out of the huddle planning for a massive blitz….but decided to switch to a zone defense after reading the Bears formation….which resulted in half the Giants defenders being unable to hear the new play call over the roaring crowd at Soldier field….and ended up blitzing….leaving receiver Tim Wrightman completely uncovered….when QB McMahon threw the ball to Wrightman for a 46-yard gain,…and then finished the drive with a 20-yard touchdown pass to McKinnon on the next play….which made the final score of the game 21-0….in a win that could have been much larger….had the normally reliable rookie kicker Kevin Butler not missed three field goal attempts from distances of 26, 49 and 38 yards.
McMahon finished the game with 216 passing yards….while running back Walter Payton rushed for 94 yards and caught a 4-yard pass….as all of this is evidenced by this video below.