The Chicago Bears are playing host to the Dallas Cowboys in what should be a blustery affair as temperatures are sure to be nice and cold at Soldier Field. These two teams have met 23 times prior to their next meeting which is on Monday night at 7:30 PM. Dallas leads the all-time series 13-10 with 2 playoff wins and a winning record at Soldier Field.
These two teams met in the Cowboy’s first season as they Bears were playing at Wrigley Field in 1960. Playing in late November in Chicago you would think it would be extremely cold about that time of the year but instead it was a nice 54 degrees that day. The scoring that day went pretty methodical, each quarter had 1 score. In the first quarter, Chicago’s Rick Casares rushed in from 5 yards out. The second quarter saw Ed Brown catch a 20 yard pass from Johnny Brown to give the Bears a 14-0 advantage going into halftime. The Cowboys’ third-string quarterback Don McIihenny threw a 64-yard pass to Don Heinrich in the third quarter and Bears’ kicker John Aveni kicked a 20-yard field goal to wrap the game up. One interesting note, one of the broadcast announcers for the day was former NFL great Red Grange. He did the play-by-play for Chicago as they moved to 5-3-1 on the season while Dallas had dropped its tenth game of the season.
Two years later, the Cowboys and Bears played in Dallas at the historic Cotton Bowl. What made this game interesting were the quarterbacks as Don Meredith was originally drafted by the Bears in 1960. He was traded prior to the 1962 season and started for the Cowboys that November 18th day. This game would be a shoot-out as the Bears barely won the contest, 34-33. The difference was a blocked extra point by Chicago’s Joe Fortunato blocked Allen Green’s attempt in the first quarter. This game had the makings of a modern day game as the Bears’ Billy Wade threw for 466 yards with 201 of it going to receiver Johnny Morris with 133 more going to future Dallas Cowboy Mike Ditka. Wade threw 46 times with 28 completions with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Throwing that much back then was rarely heard of, as Meredith was dealt the more traditional way to play as he threw for poultry 11 of 27 for 162 yards with 3 touchdown passes and had Amos Bullocks run for 93 yards from 9 carries. Dallas led at halftime of the contest 13-10 but the Bears fought themselves back into it. With 31 seconds left in the game, Roger LeClerc kicked the game-winning 15-yard field goal to give the Bears their second straight win.
Dallas won the next two contests in 1964 and 1968 then lost to the Bears in 1971. From there, Dallas won the next 6 contest over the course of 14 years including 37-7 drumming in 1977. The Bears wanted revenge for all those years of losing and got it in 1985.
In 1985, it was the year Buddy Ryan had the 46 defense in full force as Richard Dent, William “the Refrigerator” Perry, and Mike Singeltary were staples of a defense that was simply lethal that year and dominated the game. It was also the year that Dallas experienced quarterback’s Danny White and Gary Hogeboom throwing 24 interceptions. Dallas’ defense struggled as they ranked 23rd that year including a 248-yard performance from Los Angeles Rams running back Eric Dickerson in their playoff loss.
The Bears dominated the Cowboys that day as they picked off the quarterbacks of White and Hogeboom 4 times scoring off of 2 interceptions. Steve Fuller, Dennis Gentry, and Calvin Thomas all scored for the Bears that day but the bulk of the running came from Walter Payton who churned out 132 yards rushing but no touchdown that day.
The beating of a game saw the Cowboys start their spiral towards mediocrity over the next few seasons. Even though they finished 10-6 in 1985, they slowly started to deteriorate leading up to the team’s sale in 1989 and the proverbial “Black Monday” firing of beloved head coach Tom Landry. That game against the Bears gave Cowboy fans a view of what was to become for the next few seasons. That game was the worst defeat in Cowboys history as the Bears won that day 44-0.
Fast forward to our current version of the Cowboys, Dallas fans have been struggling over the last few years with mediocrity and inconsistency. As of late, the Cowboys have pulled together a 2-game winning streak. The Bears are currently 6-6 and have lost 2 of their last 3 games. Head coach Marc Trestman has been under fire for how he handled the overtime loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Meanwhile, Dallas coach Jason Garrett has seemed to re-fuel the Cowboys with a more aggressive offensive approach towards the end of the games. Despite having injuries, Dallas has managed to stay atop the NFC East with a 4-0 division record.
We shall see how this game plays out as Tony Romo and company get their cold gear together for a big game. Perhaps the Cowboys can return the favor from 1985 and redeem the Cowboys of old.