On this date in 1987, the Redskins went to Chicago to face the Bears, just a year removed from pillaging and plundering the NFL on their way to doing the Super Bowl Shuffle, in the divisional round of the playoffs. The Chicago media didn’t give the Redskins much of a chance.
Here is the account of that game from the pages of my book The Redskins Chronicle.
Soldier Field--The headline in the Chicago paper read: “Bears Ready—If Redskins Show Up."
As the game unfolded, it became clear that the first part of that statement was problematic—and there was not any question about the second part. The Redskins clearly came to play and they knocked off the defending champions in the Bears' own house by a score of 27-13.
The Bears had been on a 32-3 run over the previous two seasons thanks in large part to their ability to snuff the opposing passing game with blitzes. Late in the first quarter, Jay Schroeder made them pay for that strategy when the offensive line gave him enough time to toss a 28-yard scoring pass to Art Monk to put the Redskins up 7-0.
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The second quarter belonged to the Bears. Receiver Willie Gault beat Darrell Green badly on a 50-yard touchdown catch from first-year quarterback Doug Flutie, who was starting in place of the injured Jim McMahon. That and two Kevin Butler field goals had the home team up 13-7 at halftime.
It would make for great dramatic reading to say that Green made a super, clutch play by getting revenge on Flutie by intercepting a pass that set up the Redskins’ go-ahead score. The truth is, though, that Green merely accepted a gift, intercepting a lollipop that Flutie tossed up somewhere in between Gault and tight end Tim Wrightman. Green's 17-yard return to the Bears' 26 woke up the Redskins' offense.
Three plays later, on third and seven, Schroeder pumped left, Monk broke right, and the quarterback found the receiver for 23 yards and a touchdown. The Redskins were ahead for good at 14-13.
It wasn't over yet, though. Gary Gentry returned the ensuing kickoff 48 yards and shortly after that, the Bears were in possession at the Washington 18. From there, though, Darryl Grant got his helmet on the ball, knocking it out of the arms of Walter Payton. Safety Alvin Walton recovered at the 17. Soon, it was over.
The Redskins drove 83 yards to the clinching TD. Monk should have had his third touchdown of the day, but cornerback Michael Richardson grabbed him in the end zone, so the score had to come via a one-yard George Rogers run.
The margin widened and the celebration on the sidelines grew more jubilant as Jess Atkinson kicked two fourth-quarter field goals.
The Redskins went on to lose the NFC championship game to the Giants the following week. But the next year they went to Chicago for the divisional round again and this time it was a stepping stone to the Super Bowl. More on that one next week.