Great Performance Bears History

In today's NFL, a mobile quarterback is a sought-after commodity. <P> A short list of signal-callers who can hurt opposing defenses on the ground as well as through the air includes Michael Vick, Daunte Culpepper, Donovan McNabb, Steve McNair and the Bears' own Kordell Stewart. <P> Had he suited up in this millennium, rather than in the early 1970s, Bobby Douglass may have found a spot in the aforementioned group.

Although he owned one of the league's strongest arms at the time, that never quite translated into big numbers either passing-wise or in the "W" column for the Bears. The left-handed Douglass led the team in passing from 1971-1973, yet he threw for just over 1,000 yards his final year as a starter (1973) and chalked up more interceptions (34) than TD passes (21) over that three-year span.

But there's no disputing Douglass' running prowess. Built like a fullback at around 6-4 and 225 pounds, Douglass was nearly unstoppable when he decided to take off with the ball. He remains in the top 10 on the Bears' all-time rushing list (2,470 yards) and averaged 6.6 yards per carry during his seven-year stint with the club.

In 1972, Douglass enjoyed a season that most running backs (or fantasy football league owners) would consider very productive: 968 yards (a single-season NFL rushing record for quarterbacks) and eight TDs.

Douglass, however, saved his career day for an early November, 1973 grudge match pitting the Bears against their archrivals, the Green Bay Packers.

Going into the match-up, both the Bears and the Packers were out of the Central Division race, sporting marks of 2-3-2 and 2-5 respectively. Still, this is Chicago vs. Green Bay, and what better for Bears pride than to go into Lambeau Field and beat the Packers on their home turf?

And that's exactly what Bears accomplished after Douglass turned it up a notch.

Douglass did score a first-half touchdown, but gained just 14 yards on the ground as the Bears found themselves trailing the Pack 17-10 at intermission. By the end of the day, however, the Kansas product would find himself in the Bears' record books next to Rick Casares and fellow KU alum Gale Sayers as the only Bears to ever score four rushing touchdowns in a game.

Douglass scored twice in the third quarter, then added a 1-yard sneak in the final quarter to lead the Bears to a 31-17 victory. All told, Douglass rushed for an even 100 yards on 19 carries, and registered a credible day passing, as well, completing 10 of 15 for 118 yards.

"We gave him the game ball," running back Carl Garrett told the Chicago Tribune after the game. "Today he was the best football player on the field."


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