At Least Harbaugh Settles One Score, 27-13 : NFC: Bear quarterback gets the best of old foe, Packers’ Tomczak, whose response is: ‘Jim who?’
Jim Harbaugh buried the hatchet twice Sunday, once into the Green Bay Packers by throwing two touchdown passes, and later with old teammate Mike Tomczak.
“We shook hands after the game and I said, ‘Let’s bury the hatchet,’ ” Harbaugh said after leading the Bears to a 27-13 victory.
Harbaugh and Tomczak, who were teammates before Tomczak went to the Packers, had their differences, dating to when Tomczak supposedly relayed signals to another former Bear quarterback, Jim McMahon, during an exhibition against San Diego. McMahon was playing for the San Diego Chargers at the time.
Harbaugh might have thought their differences were settled, but Tomczak gave no such indication.
Tomczak said he didn’t say anything to Harbaugh, and then added: “Jim who?”
Regardless, Harbaugh came out the winner in the duel as he completed 16 of 25 passes for 209 yards and touchdowns of 20 and 35 yards to Wendell Davis. Brad Muster helped open the passing game by running for two touchdowns during the first half.
Tomczak completed 22 of 39 passes for 215 yards and one touchdown, a one-yard flip to Jackie Harris in the first half. But the Bear defense blanked the Packers in the second half.
The Bears (10-4) ended a two-game losing streak and moved closer to their seventh Central Division title in eight years. The Packers (3-11) lost their fifth in six games.
Midway through the fourth quarter and down by two touchdowns, the Packers gambled on fourth and three and failed when Tomczak fumbled the snap.
On Green Bay’s next possession, Tomczak fumbled again, and Tim Ryan recovered at the Chicago 42 with 3:25 left.
“We had two series where we self-destructed,” Packer Coach Lindy Infante said. “That’s been a trademark for a lot of games this year. We had some good opportunities, but we couldn’t cash them in because we ended up getting a couple of penalties to hurt ourselves.”
Although the Bears had only three sacks, Coach Mike Ditka said, “We put a lot of pressure on Tomczak and made him get rid of the ball quickly.”
As for playing against Tomczak, Ditka said: “You don’t play people, you’ve got to play the team, and the concept of what they are doing. He’s a very capable young man.”
It was the 100th regular season coaching victory for Ditka, who said: “I’m happy. It means a lot to me because of my pride. Because when I came here, people said I wouldn’t stay here and I’ve stayed for 10 years. I’m proud of the football we’ve played for 10 years.”
Ditka also praised Muster, who sat out the loss to Detroit last week and took himself out in the second half of a loss to Miami because of hamstring problems.
Muster scored twice, on runs of eight and six yards, to cap 73-yard drives during the first half.
After Muster’s first touchdown made the score 7-0, the Packers came back with to take a 10-7 lead, both scores following turnovers.
Johnny Bailey’s fumbled punt was recovered by Blair Bush on the Chicago 14, leading to a 25-yard field goal by Chris Jacke that made it 7-3.
Vinnie Clark then intercepted a pass and returned it 20 yards to the Chicago 30. Eight plays later, Tomczak threw his one-yard touchdown pass to Harris.
Muster’s second touchdown made the score 14-10 and on the next play from scrimmage, Jim Morrissey intercepted a pass. Harbaugh then threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Davis and the score was 21-10.