Great Games in Bears History

Bears win one for Walter

When the Bears traveled to Green Bay on Nov. 7, 1999, they were heading into perhaps the most gut-wrenchingly emotional game they ever played. The team had spent the previous afternoon at Soldier Field, attending a memorial service for their fallen warrior, the great Walter Payton.

Now here they were in Lambeau on a beautiful autumn day, lining up against the Green and Gold and Brett Favre. The mixed emotions of terrible sadness combined with a celebration of Payton's life ruled the day. But despite the tough psychological conditions, the Bears still had a game to play.

Unfortunately, things looked bleak for the valiant Bears when the Packers' Ryan Longwell lined up for a chip-shot 28-yard field goal attempt on what would be the last play of the 157th meeting between the two long-time rivals.

The Bears had taken the Packers down to the wire and nursed a 14-13 lead with only seven seconds remaining. The respectful Packers crowd almost seemed sympathetic to the Bears' emotional plight -- but not that sympathetic. The Packers' faithful still wanted to go home with a win.

Time to kick the field goal and go home. Then something crazy happened. The snap was good, the hold was fine and Longwell's foot met the pigskin straight and true. But somehow, some way, the Bears' Bryan Robinson got enough airtime to get a paw in the air and miraculously block the kick. Bears win, 14-13.

"I think Walter Payton picked me up because I can't jump that high," said an emotional Robinson after the game, who swatted away Longwell's kick and gave the Bears their first win at Lambeau Field since 1992. "I just got my hand on that leather, and it felt so good. It's for you, Walter."

The Bears were playing their first game since Payton had died of liver cancer only six days earlier. The team wore blue-and-orange football-shaped patches inscribed with Payton's No. 34 on their left shoulders. Bears owners Ed and Virginia McCaskey joined NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue at midfield before kickoff, and the Lambeau crowd observed a moment of silence. A banner behind the Bears bench proclaimed: "Win one for Walter."

"It was an honor for us to wear the patch today," said rookie Bears head coach Dick Jauron, who earlier in his career coached defensive backs in Green Bay for nine seasons. "You've got to believe Walter had a hand in the final play."

Favre drove the Packers 73 yards in the game's last 3:19 to set up Longwell's game-winning attempt. Favre started his 117th consecutive game, breaking Ron Jaworski's record for consecutive starts by a quarterback.

Quarterback Jim Miller, who hadn't played a down in the previous two years, led the Bears to the win after rookie starter Cade McNown sprained his right knee in the first quarter. Miller was 16-of-29 for 142 yards. Chicago's 160 rushing yards kept the ball moving, thanks to Curtis Enis (88 yards) and Glyn Milburn (54 yards).

Milburn ran untouched 49 yards for the game's first score in the first quarter. Chicago's other TD came late in the third quarter, when Bobby Engram caught a 6-yard scoring pass from Miller. Defensively, Barry Minter led the Bears with 14 tackles.

In the end, it all came down to Longwell, Robinson and a mysterious force from beyond. Said Longwell: "Sometimes things just happen that you can't explain."

BearReport.com Recommended Stories


Up Next


Tweets