The Giants are in town this weekend at Soldier Field, so we’re taking a trip back in time to another early January contest between the two teams at Soldier Field. Nearly 36 years to the day, we revisit the 1985 NFC Divisional Round playoff between the Bears and Giants.
It was what we like to call “Bears Weather” at Soldier Field on that day, a blistering 12 degrees and -13 degrees with the fierce wind chill coming off Lake Michigan. The late legendary broadcasting duo of Pat Summerall and John Madden was on the call of a matchup that featured Mike Ditka and Bill Parcells on opposing sidelines. Phil Simms and the Giants were tasked with taking on the league’s top defense in Chicago, while the Bears offense had no easy task ahead of them with Lawrence Taylor and the second-ranked New York Giants defense to deal with.
Frigid temps, Hall of Fame coaches, two legendary defenses, Soldier Field’s frozen turf, Pat Summerall, and John Madden on the call? Could you have set a better stage for an NFC playoff game? It would be hard to match, that’s for sure.
Of course, the first touchdown of this contest would come on a defensive/special teams touchdown when Sean Landeta whiffed on a punt attempt from the Giants end zone, and Shaun Gale picked it up and stumbled into the end zone to give the Bears a 7-0 lead in the second quarter.
January 5, 1986: Giants punter Sean Landeta went to punt and completely missed the ball, leading to an easy playoff TD for the Bears pic.twitter.com/01jZ3oyUdN
— Someone's An Idiot (@SomeonesAnIdiot) January 5, 2020
Jim McMahon would throw a pair of touchdown passes to Dennis McKinnon in the third quarter to stretch the Bears’ lead to 21, where they would eventually win by a score of 21-0. McMahon threw for 216 yards and those two third-quarter touchdowns, and Walter Payton rushed for 93 yards on 27 carries, but the story of the game was, you guessed it, the Bears vaunted defense.
The Bears held the Giants to just 32 rushing yards and limited Phil Simms to 209 yards on 14 completions and no touchdowns while sacking the Giants quarterback six times. Richard Dent (3.5), Mike Singletary (1.0), Gary Fencik (1.0), and Otis Wilson (0.5) combined for the six quarterback takedowns of Simms in the victory that would send the Bears to a date with the Rams in the NFC Championship Game.
You can check out the highlights here!