With only two games left in the '62 campaign, winning the NFL's Western Division was out of the question for the Bears. The division-leading Green Bay Packers (11-1) were coming into their own and, of course, would go on to become the dominant team of the 1960s.
But the Bears still had a formidable squad, and the Rams -- winners of just one game -- were about to discover that when they visited Wrigley Field, which had turned into a tundra with game-time temperatures in the 20s.
Many Bears fans that day were getting their first looks at a handful of Rams players who would go on to become household names in the NFL -- defensive linemen Merlin Olsen and David "Deacon" Jones, who made up two-fourths of the famed "Fearsome Foursome;" linebacker Jack Pardee (who would become the Bears' head coach during the mid-1970s); and quarterback Roman Gabriel.
Pardee did come up big for the Rams on one play as he ran 32 yards for a touchdown after recovering a fumble. But it was the Bears who benefited from big plays all afternoon en route to defeating the Rams 30-14.
Tight end Mike Ditka provided the Bears with the go-ahead TD, grabbing a 20-yard pass from quarterback Billy Wade in the first quarter (Ditka finished with 16 catches for 155 yards). Placekicker Roger Leclerc, who booted a 41-yard field goal that put the Bears on top 16-7, later blocked a punt. Roosevelt Taylor scooped up the loose ball and ran it in for an 11-yard score.
Yet it was Richie Petitbon who brought the Wrigley Field faithful out of their seats in the fourth quarter.
With the Bears leading 23-7, Petitbon stepped in front of a pass one yard deep in the end zone and saw nothing but frosty turf in front of him. As teammates cheered him on, Petitbon raced down the left sideline for a 101-yard touchdown.
That interception return remains the longest in team history. Petitbon, who played nine seasons with the Bears, also set a club record in 1962 for single-season interception return yardage (212), and holds the career mark for interception return yardage (643). He is No. 2 on the Bears' all-time list for career interceptions with 37, one behind Gary Fencik.