The Bears won the first half of the National Football League season Sunday and decided to look at it as half empty rather than half full.
They did admit they aren't half bad after their 27-9 victory over the
Vikings in Soldier Field. But on a day when the Los Angeles Rams' loss to the San Francisco 49ers made the Bears the only 8-0 team, they preferred to dwell on their imperfections.
They complained of poor execution on a day when they half killed the team that used to dominate the NFC Central Division the way they are doing.
They refused to claim they have the title wrapped up on a day when the
0-8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers were mathematically eliminated.
"Not when Detroit beats Miami and goes to 5-3. We have to play them
twice," said coach Mike Ditka. "Plus, Green Bay next week will come after
"We should have scored 40 points," said tackle Keith Van Horne.
"What today showed is we have a lot of ways to win. If we put it all on
the right track, we can be pretty darn good," said Ditka.
Quarterback Jim McMahon needed only seven plays to put the Vikings down
7-0 on a 32-yard touchdown pass to flanker Dennis McKinnon on an audible. Then the defense treated the Vikings like a cigarette butt under their heels.
Kevin Butler kicked field goals before and after the Vikings scored their only touchdown with help from a 27-yard pass interference penalty against Shaun Gayle.
In the third quarter, linebacker Otis Wilson returned an interception
caused by end Richard Dent 23 yards for a touchdown to make it 20-7.
Linebacker Wilber Marshall ended a Viking threat with an interception at
the 3-yard line later in the third period.
When Walter Payton caught a 20-yard screen pass from McMahon for a
touchdown with 9:36 to play, the Vikings pulled starting quarterback Tommy
Kramer and packed their bags.
"I think they let us score from way out because they didn't want William Perry to get in the backfield," said Payton.
Perry played no offense, but the Refrigerator did get into the Viking
backfield to stop Kramer cold. He got the first sack of his career and the
first of the game against Kramer.
"It was better than scoring a TD," said Perry. "It was much better."
Before it was over, the Bears had five interceptions, matching their
total of 21 for all last season. Otis Wilson sacked Kramer twice and Mike
Hartenstine sacked Wade Wilson once. Dent was penalized for unsportsmanlike
conduct and then complained that Kramer was shoving him.
"The Bears are certainly deserving winners," said Minnesota coach Bud
Grant, who should know one when he sees one. But Grant stopped short in his
praise of the Bears, a team that seems more interested in winning games than
Grant has played the Rams and the 49ers, but wouldn't comment on how the
Bears stack up. "That`s for you people to decide," he said.
Kramer was limited to 176 yards passing and Wade Wilson to 60. The
Vikings ran only 14 times for 30 yards.
from the archives