Doug Flutie, “America’s midget,” stood tall and cut down the mighty Chicago Bears.
The 5-foot-9 Flutie, tagged with that nickname by former Chicago teammate Jim McMahon, threw 4 touchdown passes, including an 80-yard pass play to Irving Fryar on the 1st play from scrimmage, as the New England Patriots stunned the NFL’s top defense with a 30-7 victory Sunday.
It was a situation ripe for gloating, since Flutie, who was traded by the Bears last season, didn’t get along with McMahon. But Flutie said he took no special pleasure in beating his old team.
“I’m just happy we beat the Bears and won a ballgame against a formidable opponent,” Flutie said. “I don’t need any extra motivation. I never talked about revenge.”
Chicago Coach Mike Ditka certainly took no pleasure in his team’s bumbling performance in which it had the ball just 7:40 in the 2nd half.
“There’s not much you can say about a debacle like that,” Ditka said. “It’s the worst game for the Bears since I’ve been around.”
Ditka, in his 7th season as Chicago’s coach, said: “On defense, we got annihilated. I’m a pretty good judge of talent and character and we didn’t show much.”
The Patriots, who lost their last meeting with the Bears, 46-10, in the 1986 Super Bowl, became the first team in 6 games to score more than 9 points against Chicago. The Bears (7-2) had a 5-game winning streak stopped, during which they allowed just 32 points.
Flutie said the victory “gives us the confidence we can do anything and we can beat anyone.”
It was New England’s 3rd consecutive game against a division leader, following a 27-21 victory over Cincinnati and a last-minute, 23-20 loss to Buffalo. The Patriots are 4-5.
Flutie, traded to New England last season, completed 6 of 18 passes for 165 yards with no interceptions. He threw a pair of 2nd-quarter scoring passes to Lin Dawson and one in the 4th period to Stanley Morgan.
Flutie was helped by a season-high, 185-yard ground game led by rookie John Stephens’ 124 yards in 35 carries. It was the 1st time in 31 games that a runner gained more than 100 yards against Chicago, whose top-ranked rushing defense allowed only 66.3 yards per game before Sunday.
“I was a little surprised we ran it as well as we did,” Flutie said.
Stephens, who rushed for 134 yards against Buffalo, became the first Patriot since Sam Cunningham in 1977 to have consecutive 100-yard games.
McMahon, whose 1-yard dive gave Chicago a 7-6 lead with 6:01 left in the 1st quarter, was knocked out of the game for good with a strained right knee just 2 minutes into the 2nd quarter when he was hit from behind as he threw. He completed 2 of 6 passes for 4 yards.
Mike Tomczak and Jim Harbaugh were ineffective as his replacements. Tomczak and Harbaugh combined for 5 completions in 18 attempts for 70 yards.
Dr. Clarence Fossier, the Chicago team physician, said McMahon will be sidelined at least 4 weeks and, if ligament or cartilage damage is found, he will be out longer.
“Our problem with the quarterbacks was we weren’t getting the ball to the receivers,” Ditka said.
New England relied on the run in its previous 2 games but struck through the air after a touchback on the opening kickoff.
Fryar beat Vestee Jackson down the left sideline and ran into the end zone.