Bear-foot Ram Gives Chicago the Boot, 20-17 : It's a Night to Remember for Steve Dils

Times Staff Writer

As Marc Wilson will be glad to testify, a quarterback's statistics are not always a good measure of his success.

Steve Dils, the man who starts at quarterback for the Rams while Steve Bartkowski's old knees keep him out and rookie Jim Everett's youth holds him back, proved that point again on a chilly Monday night at Soldier Field.

Dils completed just 6 of 25 passes and threw 1 interception against the Bears, but one was a 65-yard touchdown play to Ron Brown--the Rams' longest offensive play of the season--that tied the game, 17-17. And three others came in the final 45 seconds leading to Mike Lansford's game-winning 50-yard field goal.

"Boy, that was fun . . . that was really so much fun," Dils said, a wide grin splitting his face. "That's what it's all about."

Dils probably didn't feel that way at halftime. He completed his first attempt of the night, a swing pass to Eric Dickerson that amounted to 26 yards of Dils' 137-yard total. But the next 10 passes he threw fell incomplete, although a few were certainly catchable.

"Steve Dils played an outstanding game," Coach John Robinson said later. "If we had caught the ball a little better, he might have had a great game."

Dils, a veteran with plenty of experience in the back-up role, wasn't moping around the locker room at halftime, though. In fact, he thought he was playing pretty well.

"I thought I threw the ball well all night," he said. "We felt like we had to throw the ball to win, and we weren't as predictable as we have been. In the second half, we started to control the line of scrimmage and I got the protection I needed."

Dils was not sacked all night, but in the final analysis, and on the final drive, for that matter, it might have been Dils' play-calling more than his passing that made the difference.

"John (Robinson) let me call the plays in the two-minute drill and that was really fun," Dils said. "He gave me the freedom to do what I wanted."

So Dils decided to make up some new plays.

"I threw that one over the middle to Mike (Guman) when I saw how slow (Bears' linebacker Mike) Singletary got up after tackling Eric on the series before.

"And we hadn't worked on screens all week, but I called two to Eric when I saw what they were doing (defensively)."

The pass to Guman was good for 13 yards and took the Rams to their 48-yard line. The first screen to Dickerson moved the ball to the Chicago 40. Then Dils went for broke, and Henry Ellard just missed catching his bomb near the end zone. After another incomplete pass, Dils went to Dickerson again, who got down to the Bears' 32 with nine seconds remaining.

That brought in Lansford and holder Dils.

"I've seen him kick 60-yarders in practice," Dils said. "And when he took his time and hit this one, I knew it was going to be good. He had about 10 extra yards on it."

And Dils had a night to remember.

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