Great Games in Bears History

The usually pass first Bears offense shared the spotlight with QB Mike Tomczak, who completed 17 of 25 passes for 302 yards and two touchdowns in a 47-27 Bears' victory over the Lions on September 24, 1989 at Soldier Field.

The Bears traveled to suburban Detroit for their third game of the 1989 NFL season in an unsure mode. The Lions had Barry Sanders running wild on the artificial turf in their domed stadium, and their new "Silver Stretch" offensive game plan with four wide receivers and one running back (Sanders) prepped the Bears to expect the unexpected.

One thing they did know, however, is that any accomplishments on the field would be rewarded in the form of enthusiastic cheering from the estimated 25,000 Bears fans that made the trip to Detroit.

And thanks to an exciting and opportunistic offense of their own, Bears fans traveled home regaling in a 47-27 Chicago Bears' victory. It was the 10th straight victory over Detroit for Mike Ditka's Bears.

The balanced Bears' offense ran and threw for 542 total yards (219 rushing, 323 passing).

"We talked about the offense last night, and I challenged them to the point that even though we had won two games, we hadn't even come close to scratching the surface of our potential on offense," Ditka said after the game. "I think you saw a little bit today of what we can do if we execute a little bit."

Quarterback Mike Tomczak had one of the best days of his Bear career, completing 17 of 25 passes for 302 yards and two touchdowns. And kicker Kevin Butler capped off four scoring drives with field goal on four tries.

On the ground, Neal Anderson gained 116 yards on 16 carries, including a 53-yard touchdown run. Fullback Brad Muster scored his first NFL rushing touchdown and ran for 73 yards on 10 carries

Heisman Trophy winner and future Hall of Famer Sanders countered Anderson and Muster with 126 yards of his own on 18 carries, but left the game for good in the second half after injuring his hip. Sanders ran for as many yards as Lions' QB Bob Gagliano threw for. He completed nine of 19 passes for 126 yards and three interceptions (two by Lorenzo Lynch and one by John Roper).

The game was close at the half, with Bears holding a 20-13 lead. But 27 second-half points for the Bears blew the game wide open after Sanders left.

"Barry Sanders is as fine a running back as I've seen in a long time," said Ditka. "He reminds me so much of Walter Payton. He's got balance, speed, coordination, power. He's a good football player. He gave us problems, that's needless to mention."

As for the Silver Stretch offense, coach Ditka said he was curious to see how it evolves.

"It's going to give people trouble, if Sanders stays healthy," said Ditka. "We tried everything out there. We went with a five-man line; we went with one linebacker. We went five backs, six backs. It will be fun to watch."

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