Memorable Performance in Bears History

If one game could be viewed as "THE" game that catapulted the Bears into their glory days of the 1980s, it likely was their 27-0 whitewashing of the Denver Broncos September 9, 1984, at Soldier Field. The day also saw Walter Payton etch his name in the record book by moving past Jim Brown.

Buddy Ryan's "46" defense, with future Hall-of-Famers Mike Singletary and Dan Hampton leading the charge, put the rest of the league on notice. They held the Broncos -- an AFC playoff team the year before -- to 130 yards in total offense and six first downs.

And those who would carry the football in the future against the Bears would do so at their own risk.

The Bears literally knocked two Broncos out of this match-up. Bronco running back Sammy Winder was the first to go down for the count as Singletary hit Winder with such force "you could hear that one 30 yards downfield," according to safety Gary Fencik.

Tyrone Keys wasn't generating the press clippings Singletary, Hampton, Steve McMichael and Richard Dent were back then, but he certainly got his share of ink after he knocked Denver starting quarterback Gary Kubiak into next week from the blind side on a blitz.

Kubiak, starting in place of John Elway, was carried off on a stretcher after suffering a concussion. That forced the Broncos to play Elway, who himself was nursing a separated left shoulder.

However, Bronco Coach Dan Reeves yanked Elway after he had thrown just three passes in favor of third-string QB Scott Stankavage. At that point, Reeves reasoned the game was out of reach, and the Bears were chasing Elway all over the field so Reeves didn't want to risk further injury to his budding young star.

While the Bears' defense was its usual dominating self, two Bears on the offensive side of the ball would reserve a place in the record books by day's end.

Kicker Bob Thomas nailed two field goals and three extra points, which enabled him to pass legendary quarterback-kicker George Blanda and become the Bears' all-time leading scorer (Kevin Butler is currently the team's scoring leader).

And the great Walter Payton used this game to begin his assault on Jim Brown's NFL records. Payton racked up 179 yards rushing and seven receiving yards (186 total) against the Broncos, and surpassed Brown for No.1 on the all-time combined yardage list (rushing, receiving and kick returns) with 15,517 yards (Brown accumulated 15,459 yards).

Payton, of course, eventually become the NFL's all-time leading rusher (a record broken by Emmitt Smith in 2002) and amassed over 20,000 all-purpose yards during his 13-year career.


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