The win moved the Bears atop the old NFC Central with a 5-1 record in a season that would end in the second round of the NFC playoffs. But on this Sunday in October, in front of 59,383 fans at Soldier Field, the game could be summarized in two words: Jim Harbaugh.
Despite playing with a broken rib, the veteran from the University of Michigan had his best day as a Bear. Relying heavily on play action passes; Harbaugh completed 18 of 25 passes (five to tight end Cap Boso) for 248 yards and two touchdowns as the Bears converted nine of 13 third-down situations.
The Bears jumped out to a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter, thanks to a scoring drive that climaxed when Harbaugh hit running back Neal Anderson for a 12-yard scoring pass. The versatile Anderson, who lined up as a wide receiver on the play, also caught a 32-yard pass from Harbaugh on the 88-yard drive.
"Our coaches put in a great plan against them," said Harbaugh. "We mixed in some play-action passes and they keyed on the run. The offensive line, I can't say enough about them. That first touchdown pass to Neal, I have never had more time on a pass in my life."
After Donnell Woolford intercepted Rams' QB Jim Everett's aerial, the Bears were on the move again. Harbaugh, who ignored his broken rib by barreling into the end zone, completed the 36-yard drive with a 12-yard scamper. "I took a pretty good hit on that one," Harbaugh said. "I knew after that one that the rib wouldn't bother me the rest of the night."
Said Coach Ditka: "We get a lot of grief, and Jim has been maligned in some areas. He knows where his shortcomings are and he works hard to improve them. There is no shortcoming with his heart. He has a great competitor's heart; he's got the heart of a champion. When you've got that going for you, you can overcome a lot of things."
The Bears then drove 62 yards in the second quarter on a drive that culminated with an 18-yard TD pass from Harbaugh to wideout Ron Morris to go up 21-0. The Bears struck again at the end of the first half when fullback Brad Muster ran 13 yards to pay dirt to make the score 28-0. Kevin Butler added a field goal in the second half, and Anderson finished the scoring with a 15-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
For the Bears, it was precision on offense and execution on defense. For the Rams?
"We're going to have to go home and start to rebuild ourselves, bit by bit, piece by piece," said Rams head coach John Robinson.