“I was thinking touchdown, I’m a little embarrassed I didn’t get it,” said middle linebacker Mike Singletary after leading the Chicago Bears to a 20-7 victory over the New England Patriots Sunday.
That was about the only thing Singletary didn’t get when he intercepted a pass and returned it 23 yards to the New England 19-yard line to set up one of two field goals by Kevin Butler.
He had three of the six sacks by a Bear defense that completely bottled up the Patriots until Tony Eason completed a 90-yard touchdown pass play to Craig James in the fourth quarter.
It marked only the second time in the game that the Patriots were able to get into Bear territory.
Despite his outstanding game, Singletary--a holdout through most of the training camp--said: “I’m still not in top form. I’m still behind both mentally and physically. It will take a while before I get it all back.”
The Bear defense limited New England to 27 net yards rushing and 179 passing.
“Our defense played tremendous football all day long but on offense we got whipped,” said New England Coach Raymond Berry. “We knew the Bears would make some plays. Our plan was to match them, we didn’t match them.”
Bear Coach Mike Ditka called the Patriots “a good football team. They stuffed us after that first drive.”
Quarterback Jim McMahon threw a 32-yard pass to Dennis McKinnon for a touchdown on the Bears’ first possession and set up another with a 43-yard pass to Willie Gault before leaving the game with a stiff neck.
McMahon completed 13 of 21 passes for 232 yards.
Walter Payton also left the game in the third quarter with bruised ribs after gaining 39 yards in 11 attempts.
Butler kicked field goals of 21 and 28 yards.
The Bears totally dominated in the first half but were able to score only on their first and last possessions. The half ended when Eason’s desperation pass was intercepted by Richard Dent. In all, Eason was intercepted three times.
The Bears made it 17-0 on a one-yard plunge by Matt Suhey with 4:16 left in the third quarter. Three plays later, Singletary intercepted and Butler followed with his 28-yard field goal.
The Bears’ six sacks accounted for 55 yards in losses. But Eason put the Patriots on the board with 9:03 left with his pass to James, the longest touchdown pass in Patriot history.