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1984 Chicago Bears season

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Title: 1984 Chicago Bears season  
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Subject: 1983 Chicago Bears season, List of Chicago Bears seasons, 1940 Chicago Bears season, 1946 Chicago Bears season, List of Chicago Bears starting quarterbacks
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1984 Chicago Bears season

1984 Chicago Bears season
Head coach Mike Ditka
Home field Soldier Field
Record 10–6
Division place 1st NFC Central
Playoff finish Won Divisional Playoffs (Redskins) 23–19
Lost NFC Championship Playoffs (49ers) 23–0
Previous season Next season
< 1983 1985 >

The 1984 Chicago Bears season was their 65th regular season and 15th post-season completed in the National Football League. The club posted a 10–6 record, earning them a spot in the NFL playoffs. The Bears went on to lose in the NFC Championship Game 23–0 to the eventual Super Bowl Champion San Francisco 49ers.

The Bears opened their 1984 training camp in a new location, Platteville, Wisconsin as head coach Mike Ditka needed his team to get away from any distractions they might face at home. The team was on the verge of discovering a group of young leaders for the first time, and began to show the dominating defense that would emerge in full the following season, and pushed much farther than anyone expected them to go.

Chicago opened the season by routing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 34–14. In Week Two, they shut out the Denver Broncos 27–0 behind a huge day from star running back Walter Payton. This game featured a famous image from Payton's career: a 50+ yard run down the sideline, led by 2nd-year guard Mark Bortz, an 8th round draft pick that was converted from defensive tackle.

In Week Three, they were without the services of starting quarterback Jim McMahon at Green Bay, reserve quarterback Bob Avellini took the reins. Chicago's offense performed poorly, but still managed a 9–7 victory. This contest marked the first meeting between Mike Ditka and Packers head coach Forrest Gregg. It would be a rivalry that would go down in history as arguably the dirtiest era in Chicago-Green Bay football.

In Week Four, the Bears' lack of offensive power was evident as they lost to the Seattle Seahawks 38–9. After this loss, Ditka cut Avellini. The following week, the Bears lost to the Dallas Cowboys 23–14, bringing their record to 3–2.

On October 7, 1984, Walter Payton reached a major milestone as he surpassed Jim Brown as the game's all-time leading rusher in yards, he did it in the third quarter of a Week Six home game against the New Orleans Saints. The Bears beat the Saints 20–7. Incidentally, the 1984 Bears ran for the second-most rushing attempts in a season, with 674.[1]

In Week Seven, the Bears lost 38–21 to the Cardinals in St. Louis the following week. Sitting at 4–3, the Bears proceeded to win three in a row. They beat Tampa Bay 44–9, then Minnesota Vikings at home, 16–7. Following the Minnesota win came the biggest challenge for the Bears: a showdown with the defending world champion Los Angeles Raiders. The Bears beat the Raiders 17–6, a game that showcased Richard Dent, who collected three against Raiders QB Marc Wilson. (Dent would finish with 17.5 sacks, third-most for the season behind Mark Gastineau and Andre Tippett.[2] The Bears would then record 72 sacks, a team record.[3] The Bears' victory was marred by a kidney laceration suffered by Jim McMahon, ending his season.

Six-year veteran QB Steve Fuller had been acquired from the Los Angeles Rams prior to the 1984 season for insurance in case McMahon was injured. The investment paid off, as Fuller guided the Bears to a 2–1 record over the next 3 games. In the third game at Minnesota's new Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Week Thirteen, the team clinched its first NFC Central Division title.

After the Minnesota game, Fuller was injured, and Chicago was faced with another quarterback problem. Ineffective Rusty Lisch replaced the injured Fuller and lost the Week Fourteen game at San Diego, then started the following week against Green Bay at home. Lisch was again ineffective, so Ditka inserted none other than Walter Payton behind center in the shotgun formation. Payton, unsurprisingly, was ineffective as well, and the Bears lost to the Packers 20–14.

Fuller was expected to return by the playoffs, but Ditka didn't want to enter the postseason with another loss. The Bears signed 14-year journeyman Greg Landry to start his last NFL game against his previous team, the Detroit Lions, in the season finale. The Bears won 30–13, and were headed to the playoffs for the first time since 1979.


See full article, 1984–85 NFL Playoffs

The first-round matchup sent the 10–6 Bears to Washington, a team that had lost to the Los Angeles Raiders in Super Bowl XVIII. Washington was heavily favored, but Chicago came away with a 23–19 victory that featured touchdown passes from Fuller, as well as Payton on a halfback option pass.

With the momentum of defeating the defending NFC champions, the Bears then travelled to San Francisco for their first appearance in a championship game of any sort since their championship year in 1963. The line for the game came down steadily as the week wore on, but the Bears were shut out 23–0. Fuller had performed poorly in games against tough opponents, and the offense sputtered as the 49ers were able to render Walter Payton ineffective. The team had gone farther than many had expected them to go in 1984, and the season set the stage for their Super Bowl winning 1985 season.

Regular season


Week Date Opponent Result Game site Record Attendance
1 September 2, 1984 Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 34–14 Soldier Field 1–0 58,789
2 September 9, 1984 Denver Broncos W 27–0 Soldier Field 2–0 54,335
3 September 16, 1984 at Green Bay Packers W 9–7 Lambeau Field 3–0 55,942
4 September 23, 1984 at Seattle Seahawks L 38–9 Kingdome 3–1 61,520
5 September 30, 1984 Dallas Cowboys L 23–14 Soldier Field 3–2 63,623
6 October 7, 1984 New Orleans Saints W 20–7 Soldier Field 4–2 53,752
7 October 14, 1984 at St. Louis Cardinals L 38–21 Busch Stadium 4–3 49,554
8 October 21, 1984 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 44–9 Tampa Stadium 5–3 60,003
9 October 28, 1984 Minnesota Vikings W 16–7 Soldier Field 6–3 57,517
10 November 4, 1984 Los Angeles Raiders W 17–6 Soldier Field 7–3 59,858
11 November 11, 1984 at Los Angeles Rams L 29–13 Anaheim Stadium 7–4 62,021
12 November 18, 1984 Detroit Lions W 16–14 Soldier Field 8–4 54,911
13 November 25, 1984 at Minnesota Vikings W 34–3 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 9–4 56,881
14 December 3, 1984 at San Diego Chargers L 20–7 Jack Murphy Stadium 9–5 45,470
15 December 9, 1984 Green Bay Packers L 20–14 Soldier Field 9–6 59,374
16 December 16, 1984 at Detroit Lions W 30–13 Pontiac Silverdome 10–6 53,252


NFC Central
Chicago Bears(3) 10 6 0 .625 7–1 8–4 325 248 W1
Green Bay Packers 8 8 0 .500 5–3 8–4 390 309 W3
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6 10 0 .375 3–5 5–9 335 380 W2
Detroit Lions 4 11 1 .281 3–5 4–7–1 283 408 L3
Minnesota Vikings 3 13 0 .188 2–6 3–9 276 484 L6

Game summaries

Week 2: vs. Denver Broncos

The Bears limited the Broncos to 130 total yards as three different Denver quarterbacks (John Elway, Gary Kubiak, and Scott Stankavage) completed just nine passes with two interceptions. Seven different Bears players led by Walter Payton rushed for 302 yards

Week 3: at Green Bay Packers

Week 4: at Seattle Seahawks

Six Bears turnovers and 21 third quarter Seahawks points were the key as Chicago's season-opening win streak was blunted, 38-9. The two teams combined for just 504 yards of offense with 22 penalties eating up 181 yards.

Week 5: vs. Dallas Cowboys

Mike Ditka for the first time as Bears head coach faced Tom Landry, who'd coached Ditka in Super Bowl VI. Landry's Cowboys were outgained in yardage 313 to 400 but forced two Bears turnovers to win 23-14. The Bears rushing attack still managed 283 yards.

Week 10: vs. Los Angeles Raiders

Week 15: vs. Green Bay Packers


Round Date Opponent Result Game site TV Attendance
Divisional Round December 30, 1984 at Washington Redskins W 23–19 R.F.K. Stadium CBS 55,431
NFC Championship January 6, 1985 at San Francisco 49ers L 23–0 Candlestick Park CBS 61,040


  1. ^ " In a single season, from 1978 to 2011, in the regular season, sorted by descending Rushing Att". Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  2. ^ "Pro-Football-Reference: For single seasons, in 1984, sorted by descending Sacks". Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  3. ^ "Does Cutler play better in day games?". Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  4. ^ 2010 NFL Record and Fact Book (PDF).  
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