Great games in Bears history

It was another heated battle between Mike Ditka's Bears and Forrest Gregg's Packers, a blood-filled rivalry in the 1980s that stemmed from the two head coaches, Hall of Famers both who were weaned on the Bears-Packers feud.

From a distance, high up in the Soldier Field stands, it appeared that the white towel hanging from Green Bay Packer nose tackle Charles Martin's waist was smeared with eye black. Eye black? On a dank, damp day? Upon closer inspection, an observer could see a series of numbers written on the towel -- numbers of Bear offensive players who Martin planned on paying particular attention to.

Bears' quarterback Jim McMahon's No. 9 was at the top of Martin's list. In the second quarter, McMahon saw his pass get intercepted by Mark Lee. As he was lamenting the failure of the play, Martin approached McMahon from behind, picked him up and slammed him on his sore throwing shoulder to the unforgiving Soldier Field turf.

As the Bears' faithful in Soldier Field erupted in protest, and shortly after Bears' offensive tackle Jimbo Covert shoved Martin to the ground, referee Jerry Markbreit kicked Martin out of the game and escorted him toward the Packer locker room. As Martin walked northward to the locker room underneath the stands, he was met with a hailstorm of half-eaten hot dogs, half-full beer cups and other debris.

Another legend in the storied rivalry was born on Nov. 23, 1986, the 133rd game between the two teams.

"I guess he ain't in no position to win the Nobel Peace Prize for intelligence," said Bears' defensive tackle Steve "Mongo" McMichael in describing Martin.

Said Bears' linebacker Otis Wilson: "I thought, 'If you want to play like that, you got a quarterback, too. We can easily hit your quarterback, too.' But that isn't our kind of football. We weren't going to lower ourselves to their level."

The Bears got revenge shortly after when Shaun Gayle blocked a punt and Dennis Gentry recovered it in the end zone for the Bears' only touchdown of the day. The only other Bears' points came on a Dan Hampton safety and a Kevin Butler field goal.

The outcome of the 12-10 Bears' win was in doubt when the Packers were driving in the fourth quarter. That was when Hall of Fame middle linebacker Mike Singletary stepped into a hole at the line of scrimmage and laid a bone-crunching hit on Packer halfback Gary Ellerson. Singletary's forced fumble was recovered by Dave Duerson on the Packer 34. Six plays later, Butler kicked a 32-yard field goal with 2:37 left to put the Bears ahead for good 12-10.

The only highlight for the Bears' offense was watching Walter Payton reach the 1,000-yard mark for the 10th time. "Sweetness" finished with 85 yards rushing on 17 carries.

Said Coach Ditka: "I'm very thankful we have our defense."


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