The final score of Saturday night's meaningless preseason game will soon be forgotten.
But the image of Jim McMahon in a San Diego Chargers uniform, completing his first pass against his former Bears teammates, will be frozen forever in the minds of 60,167 Soldier Field fans.
Making a surprise appearance in the second half, McMahon completed one of three passes to upstage the unproductive efforts of the home team.
McMahon, who was traded from the Bears Friday for a 1990 draft pick, simply added insult to humiliation as the Chargers routed the Bears 24-7.
The Chargers (1-1 in the preseason) were psyched; the Bears (1-1) were flat.
"It was emotional for the guys in our locker room," McMahon said. "They didn't know what to expect from me, and I think they came out and played well. I don't know if the Bears had an emotional letdown, but we were psyched up to play and we did a good job."
Bungled snaps, poor execution, inept offensive line blocking, shoddy tackling and inefficient play by the special teams marked the Bears' performance.
"Sometimes you go forward, sometimes you go backwards," said Bears coach Mike Ditka, whose club hosts Kansas City next Sunday night.
"Today, we didn't play very well. It was an exhibition game and it probably doesn't prove any more than last week (a 28-20 win over Miami) proved.
"Still, you hate to go out there and do the things we did, especially when you make stupid penalties and some of the mistakes we made. That was uncalled for, regardless of whether you get your butt beat or not. That has nothing to do with it."
Ditka was pleased with the play of cornerback Donnell Woolford, who started the second half. He participated in only two practice sessions after a three-week contract holdout. Defensive end Trace Armstrong, the other first-round draft pick who signed Friday, also played.
The Bears' quarterback trio of Jim Harbaugh, Mike Tomczak and Brent Snyder combined to complete 13 of 24 passes for 143 yards and one interception. They were sacked five times.
"The main thing that happened was that we killed ourselves," said Harbaugh, who started the game. "We just took ourselves out of every drive." The Chargers took a 3-0 lead with 5:18 left in the first quarter. Steve DeLine booted a 38-yard field goal to cap a six-play, 27-yard drive.
David Archer (5 of 10 for 74 yards) completed a 22-yard pass to Anthony Miller in front of cornerback Vestee Jackson to key the drive.
"The game was almost secondary to what was happening off the field," Archer said. "He (McMahon) did a hell of a job. He got a completion and almost a touchdown. He laid it up there real well and it was almost caught (by Miller).
"He brings excitement to the game."
The Chargers' defense befuddled the Bears' offense. Linebacker Leslie O'Neil sacked Harbaugh twice in the first half.
"I don't thing I've seen better defense played by 40 guys," said San Diego coach Dan Henning. "When you play defense like that, you deserve to win."
The Bears appeared to be in position to at least tie the game late in the second quarter. But on a first down from the Chargers' 38, Harbaugh took off on a run and fumbled when the ball hit his knee.
chargers 24, bears 7